Choosing a Section of WRI 101
WRI 101 and HUM 103/104 are taught by faculty from across the college who invite students to write about issues related to a given professor's interests and expertise.
In one course, a student might argue for a particular interpretation of a play by Sophocles; in another, a student might analyze the public reception of claims about global warming; in still another, a student might assess the quality of media representations of poverty in America.
Focus on Rhetorical Practices
All sections of WRI 101 and HUM 103/104 provide guided instruction in the practices associated with intellectual and academic writing: how to read closely and critically; how to make effective use of the work of others; how to draft and revise arguments; and how to make smart use of the academic library. Throughout their Davidson careers, students take on challenging writing tasks across the disciplines. First-year writing courses are designed to equip students with the rhetorical strategies and writerly tools needed to meet such challenges. Many courses across the college ask students to develop positions on public and intellectual issues, and to support their claims with various kinds of evidence. Though high school writing instruction provides some guidance in this regard, college writing demands a sophisticated understanding of how knowledge claims are shaped, shared, and changed through the agency of texts, which circulate in particular communities. WRI 101 and HUM 103/104 demystify the workings of written analysis and argument regardless of which course you choose.
Fall vs. Spring Semester
The first choice you'll need to make is whether you will enroll in a WRI 101 in either the fall or the spring semester, or choose the full-year course HUM 103/104. Most sections of WRI 101 are offered in the fall, but several are available in the spring, and some students (for a variety of reasons) postpone their writing course until their second semester of study. Students who feel less confident about their writing skills will benefit from enrolling in WRI 101 in the fall or in the full-year course HUM 103/104, and multilingual students will find WRI 101 courses advantageous to their acculturation into the American academy.
The Best Section for You
The second choice you'll need to make is which section of WRI 101 you wish to enroll in. All of the first-year writing courses will ask you to respond to others' ideas and texts with generosity and critical care. All courses pay attention to you as a writer, and take seriously what you have to say. What differentiates one course from another are its special interests, readings, and intellectual occasions for inquiry and argument. Some students may choose a particular course that touches on a long-standing interest of theirs. Others may choose a certain course because it examines a topic they would like to explore, but have not yet had the chance to investigate. Still others may gravitate toward courses related to their expected majors and concentrations, while others look for courses that will broaden their horizons beyond anticipated majors or careers. Although the Humanities Program HUM 103/104 differs in many ways structurally from other WRI 101 courses, the two-course sequence covers all aspects of intellectual and academic writing. We hope you will find the array of first-year writing courses interesting in their diversity and subject matter. Feel free to contact WRI 101 professors or the Humanities Program chair for more information.