Writing and effective communication are central to intellectual inquiry, professional success, and our ability to collaborate with others across a range of genres, media and disciplines.

Occidental’s Writing and Rhetoric (WRD) program examines the relationship between writing and rhetoric, as we consider how to understand rhetorical situations and the competing discourses that shape our thoughts and actions. Our courses help students develop more effective composing processes in academic writing, gain the ability to write in a variety of styles and forms in both scholarly and civic discourses, develop rhetorical knowledge and use rhetorical concepts, and identify, evaluate, and explain the information used in their writing. Students become more effective and convincing writers, as they learn to establish credibility, to argue ethically and logically, and to understand and contribute to a discourse community.

We offer themed courses in expository writing in WRD 201, which is the only course at the college that fulfills the First-Stage Writing Proficiency requirement. Our courses in journalism, creative nonfiction, and professional writing provide opportunities to develop skills across multiple genres—and for audiences outside of academe. Our rhetoric courses develop writing skills through examining visual texts and issues of social justice, democratic rights discourse, and political propaganda.

Although WRD does not offer a major, we work with students across the curriculum and with a wide range of academic and professional goals. The program contributes the majority of courses to the Interdisciplinary Writing minor, which many students declare to supplement their majors. Students who take courses in WRD will gain skills in writing and rhetoric that will enable them to be strategic, thoughtful, ethical, and persuasive in a variety of communications they need to create and deliver—whether at Oxy or in their intellectual and professional pursuits after college.