2.1) What are the learning objectives?
Students will be able to:
- develop critical thinking skills in writing, reading and speaking through the context of multiple points of view about cultural identities
- recognize and employ a process-oriented approach to writing
- demonstrate proficiency in persuasive communication
- produce college-level, researched writing
- evaluate their own progress in written and oral communication
2.2) How does this course contribute to a liberal arts education?
Since classical times, a liberal arts education has been the set of skills that each individual needs to master in order to fully participate in a free, democratic society.
In ancient times, three of these skills were always taught first: grammar, logic and rhetoric (the ability to persuade), so that students would then be ready for more advanced study in specific subject areas (arithmetic, astronomy, music, and geometry).
In a similar way, a liberal arts education at Seton Hill University includes general courses that all students take, so that they will learn the basic skills that professors in every discipline agree students will need to develop in order to be ready for more advanced courses.
- Division/Program: Liberal Arts Core
- Major Prefix: LA
- Course Number/Level: 101
- Number of Credits: 3
- Course Description: Students will develop critical thinking skills in writing, reading, and speaking through the context of multiple points of view about cultural identities.
Whether you hope to use your writing skills every day after you graduate, or your future plans include as little writing as possible, I hope you’ll consider the effort you put into STW as investment that will not only prepare you for future courses, but also “fit you for that world in which you are destined to live” (as Elizabeth Ann Seton said).
According to Seton Hill’s catalog, when you graduate, you will have demonstrated a great number of skills. In the list that follows I have bolded those key skills that are central to the work we do in STW. I haveunderlined skills that we touch on in one or two activities, or that might apply to your work in STW, depending on choices that you make.
At the reception of a baccalaureate degree from Seton Hill University, a graduate will be able to demonstrate the following skills:
- Communication and Problem Solving
- Use the expressive arts as a mode of inquiry or expression.
- Demonstrate leadership, negotiation, relational, and consensus skills.
- Use technological skills to access information, organize knowledge, and communicate.
- Propose new solutions to current issues.
- Express arguments or main points clearly, in written and oral communication.
- Transfer knowledge and values into sound decision-making.
- Historical, Cultural, and Global Awareness
- Communicate in a second language at the intermediate level.
- Analyze the impact of history, geography, and socio-cultural dynamics on global interactions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.
- Analyze current and historical events through thelens of spirituality and faith.
- Assess privilege and oppression from the perspective of culture, race, class, and gender.
- Multiple Modes of Inquiry
- Generate and analyze numerical and scientificdata.
- Locate and analyze expressive media to gain information or comprehend the significance of an issue or an event.
- Organize and manage resources in a creative way to achieve impact.
- Find, evaluate, and apply information.
- Interpret quantitative and qualitative information to present a logical argument based on supporting data.
- Self Reflection and Assessment
- Demonstrate ethical decision-making grounded in philosophical inquiry.
- Apply Catholic social teaching to the analysis of contemporary social issues.
- Recognize the value of diverse spiritual and religious perspectives.
- Integrate the practice of charity with justice.
- Exercise responsible freedom and civic engagement based on an informed value system.
Seton Hill University Learning Objectives (page 4 of the 2010-2012 catalog)
While this course is not designed to make you an expert in every skill that a liberal arts education offers, as you can see, this course plays an important role in laying a foundation, not just for upcoming courses, but a lifetime of intellectually engaged thinking and learning.
2.3) What kinds of assignments are involved?
I will calculate your grade on a basis of 1000 points. Thus, an assignment worth 10% of your grade is worth 100 points.
of Final Grade
|Essay 1 - Unit 1||Minimum 3 pages||Draft, peer reviewed in class||* (see below)|
|Revision of Essay 1||3-4 pages||Revision||10%|
|Essay 2 - Unit 2||Minimum 3 pages||Draft, peer reviewed in class||* (see below)|
|Revision of Essay 2||3-4 pages||Revision||15%|
|Research Paper 
At least one revision.
|All components count toward grade
(see below for list). Research paper will be taught in multiple stages, with students gradually building skills in a step-by-step fashion.
|Oral presentations ||Presentation #1: Informal, 2 minutes, gives students practice for Celebration of Writing
Presentation #2: Formal, 5 minutes, presentation of final research paper, video recorded and used for reflection in self assessment
|10% (combination of two presentations)|
In this essay, students make arguments about how their writing has improved,
|*Essay drafts and informal writing, including
in-class writing exercises.
 Research Skills:
- Practicing academic integrity
- Identifying a relevant topic
- Formulating a research question
- Finding, evaluating and incorporating appropriate sources (including scholarly publications)
- Writing a research thesis
- Proposing specific research
- Creating an annotated bibliography
- Prewriting, outlining and organizing
- Citing in a specific documentation style (Instructors have agreed that all sections will teach MLA style, and instructors may choose to add APA and other styles).
Instructors address the above skills through handouts, writing workshops, in-class exercises and demonstrations, personal conferences, and peer reviews. Instructors hold formal, individual, in-person conferences with each student as a part of the research paper process.
2.4) What are the assigned texts and required materials?
- Greene, Stuart and April Lidinsky. From Inquiry to Academic Writing. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011.
- Ruszkiewicz, John, Daniel Seward, Christy Friend, and Maxine Hairston, eds. SF Writer. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson, 2010.
- Your iPad or your MacBook (whichever you prefer) for every class.
- For some classes, the assignment specifically involves using one or the other machine. (I’ll let you know about those classes in advance.)
2.5) Where is the detailed course outline?
You will find all deadlines and assignment descriptions on the course website, which includes the official course outline and syllabus. Point your web browser to:
That page has a list of current and upcoming assignments and activities.
A full course outline is available at