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WCWP 10A: The Writing Course A

Introduction to Academic Argumentation

The purpose of the Warren Writing sequence is to enable undergraduate students, through intensive practice, to read and write academic arguments in preparation for their work in various academic disciplines. It is required of all Warren College students.

Prerequisite: Satisfaction of the university Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) also known as Subject A. Open to Warren College students only. (Letter grade only.)

Students may not enroll in WCWP 10A until their record reflects they have satisfied this requirement. We do not authorize students to enroll in this course prior to fulfilling this requirement. We do not accept self-reported grades or test scores for authorization.

Each year, all classes focus on a single topic for the 10A course, and writing assignments are consistent across all 10A sections. The topic for 2020-2021 is "Climate Justice." 


It is highly recommended you take 10A as soon as you are able to. Our classes tend to get impacted and since 10A, 10B, 27, and 28 need to be completed in sequence, the sooner you take 10A the less likely you are to incur delays in your GE progression.


10A Principles of Writing and Communication

In the Warren Writing Program we have a handful of principles for "good writing":

  • Good writing starts with good ideas. Write as if you have something to say, instead of as if you have to say something.
  • Good writing means learning to develop your voice. Using big words or perfect commas does not make you sound smarter or more “scholarly.” Great communication is all about using the right words, the right style, and the right syntax, for the right audience in the right situation.
  • Writing is a social activity. Human beings are social animals. Good writing means considering the needs, attitudes, and knowledge of your audiences.
  • Good ideas come with practice and process. Writing is a process. There is no one-size-fits-all process for everyone. Keep working until you find processes that work for you.
  • Give credit where credit is due. Give credit to the writers or thinkers that inspire your own ideas. And they should do the same for you.

Good writing is interconnected to critical thinking and critical reading. Therefore, we also have some principles of reading and critical thinking that we hope to teach in our classes:

  • Justice matters. Our college’s namesake, former Chief Justice Earl Warren, inspires our course topics, themes, and questions. As members of a democractic society, we must learn how to decipher what is just, what is fair, and what is right. Our lives depend on it.
  • The Warren Analytical “Toolbox”: Analyzing readings, texts, and issues requires different tools for the job. We will teach you theoretical tools that you can apply to the cultural issues we will learn about.
  • Critical thinking matters. Critical thinking comes from learning to ask tough questions, listening to those whose opinions differ from our own, and practicing self-reflection.
  • History matters. We can look to the past to understand the present and shape the future.

The strategies we hope to teach in this course represent meaningful communicative tools that can help students grow and contribute to the world around them.

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply critical thinking and reading strategies to a variety of sources that explore the ethical and justice-related causes and effects of the climate crisis
  • Define climate justice and analyze ideologies, course texts, and social movements promoting and opposing climate justice
  • Communicate evidence-based climate change messages to an intended audience of their choosing
  • Demonstrate an understanding of rhetorical and communication strategies (audience, context, purpose, exigency, genre, strategies) by reflecting on and analyzing the strategies they applied to their capstone projects
  • Compose clear claims/thesis statements for different genres and purposes
  • Select evidence/supporting details from course materials in support of their own ideas
  • Demonstrate knowledge of effective writing strategies, including the use of context, reasoning, evidence, analysis of evidence, and use of alternative perspectives (counter arguments)
  • Summarize, paraphrase, quote, and cite course materials appropriately
  • Practice clear writing using strategies such as paragraphing, actor-action, and old-to-new sentence structure

2020-2021 Topic: Climate Justice

Required Texts:  Axelrod and Cooper, The Concise St. Martin’s Guide to Writing, 8th Edition - available through Redshelf

As an entryway into learning about the craft of writing and the foundations of reading and critical thinking, we will ask and answer some big, ethical and justice-related questions about the global climate crisis. In the first part of the course, we will ask questions such as: How do climate scientists write about the causes and effects of the climate crisis? How urgently do we need to implement solutions? If climate scientists are telling us that we need to act now, then why are we being so slow to implement solutions in our communities and across the country?

In the second part of the course we will turn our attention to solutions and questions of justice. Although we will all be impacted by climate change, those consequences will not be shared equally. Those least responsible for the climate crisis will bear the greatest consequences first. Younger generations are inheriting a crisis that they did not create. What climate solutions are most needed now? What solutions will benefit the least powerful and the most vulnerable? What solutions are most equitable for all? 

As with the first unit, we are most interested in the role of writing and communication. What are the most ethical and effective ways to write about climate solutions? What messages do we want to share with our audiences? What do different audiences need from us as writers in order to implement the solutions that are most needed now?


For current list/schedule of instructors, please visit the People page.