Academic Writing at CMU
As CMU faculty, we are active writers and researchers. We teach academic writing in our classrooms as well, viewing students as writers, too. When you study at CMU, you'll encounter diverse understandings of writing and you'll be engaged in the practice of writing.
In so doing, you will understand and reflect more deeply in your courses, you will contribute your own voice and arguments to CMU's intellectual community, and you will learn how to adapt your writing to reach new audiences in the academy, the workplace, and the world.
What is Academic Writing?
Writing is a knowable practice through which we engage in dialogue and relationship with particular communities of readers.
Writing in the academy entails moving between writing private texts and writing public texts.
- Private texts are written as part of our research or thought within a particular academic community.
- Public texts aim to accomplish things, to change or expand knowledge, to answer questions, or to open new questions, in a particular community.
Writing is a process, therefore, in which we encounter both our own writerly voice, and voices other than our own--encounters that can be agonistic, playful, argumentative, or generative. Writing is social, an activity we do with others who become co-authors, or critics, or engaged readers of our writing.
- Through the reflective work of writing, we develop and change our own thinking and practices.
- Through the social process of writing, we engage with and build on the work of others.
- Through the public work of writing, we contribute to the thinking and practice of others.
What can students expect to do in academic writing courses?
When CMU faculty teach academic writing, we engage students with core practices reflecting these understandings of writing:
- Students learn characteristic ways of reading and writing in particular academic disciplines and fields.
- Students write as a way of learning and making knowledge throughout the semester, and not only at its conclusion.
- Students give and receive feedback on writing, and use feedback to revise their work meaningfully.
- Students learn to polish their work so that it reads clearly and without error for a particular academic audience.
- Students make their work public to audiences inside (and where possible, outside) the classroom.
- Students reflect on the process of learning to write so that they are well-prepared to engage new audiences through writing.
Since the ability to write clearly is essential to learning, thinking, and communicating, all degree programs at CMU include an academic writing requirement.
Students will fulfil this requirement by
- Completing the course ACWR-1010 Writing for Academic Purposes OR
- Completing one course with the academic writing designation: "W" in the course ID.
- Applying for an exemption on the basis of a grade of 90% in grade 12 English and an average of 90% over three grade 12 academic subjects.
Students will normally complete this requirement within their first thirty credit hours.
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