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ESF Writing Program Courses

Composition Courses

EWP190
Writing and the Environment

Satisfies SUNY’s General Education Requirement for “Basic Communication”

Primary Audience: First-Year Students

Three hours of lecture, discussion, and workshops per week. Introduction to academic writing, reading, and research, reflecting college-level literacy skills of analysis, argument, and critical thinking. The course includes frequent informal writing assignments and three formal writing projects requiring revision. An oral presentation is required. Fall.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 190 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Write and support an argument that demonstrates skills of analysis.
  • Enact basic research strategies and methodologies that reflect an ability to evaluate and integrate a range of sources in writing.
  • Read, analyze, and interpret challenging and complex texts.
  • Engage in a writing process (inventing, drafting, revising, editing, reflecting) that includes revision and feedback from both peers and instructors.
  • Prepare, present, and evaluate an oral presentation.

Course Projects

Formal Projects Include:

Synthesis Paper

  • Students learn to write college-level essays drawing from two or more shared readings.

Analysis Paper

  • Students learn how to engage in the analytical process. Critical thinking is emphasized. Library research and primary research are required.

Argument Paper

  • Students learn the basic skills of argument as they write a persuasive paper. Critical thinking is emphasized, library research and primary (scholarly) research is required.

EWP290
Research, Writing & Humanities

Satisfies SUNY’s General Education Requirement for "The Humanities"

Primary Audience: First-Year Students/Sophmores

Three hours of discussion and group work per week. Intended for students who have had an introductory writing course. Students will examine the views of nature and the environment as they are expressed by selected writers, poets, and essayists. Frequent informal and formal writing assignments, research and documentation, and an oral presentation are required. With an emphasis on critical writing, critical thinking, and critical reading, students will learn the literacy expectations of their disciplines. Spring.

Prerequisite(s): EWP 190 or equivalent.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 290 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Compose texts that investigate a focused topic of inquiry around the environment.
  • Write a research-based essay integrating primary and secondary research.
  • Critically analyze various works of environmental literature and/or creative non-fiction.
  • Research and write collaboratively.

Course Projects

Formal Projects Include:

  • Diagnostic Essay
  • Research Essay
  • Collaborative Project
  • Research Portfolio

Professional Writing

EWP407
Professional Writing

Primary Audience: Juniors/Seniors

Three hours of lecture, discussion, and workshops per week. Includes principles and practices of writing and communication skills relevant to environmental professionals. Emphasizes proficiency in analyzing audience and purpose; selecting, developing and organizing information in an appropriate design; and writing clearly, precisely and effectively. Fall and Spring.

Prerequisite: EWP 290 and junior or senior status, or permission of instructor.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 407 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Write in a range of professional genres appropriate for environmental disciplines.
  • Produce a sustained, multiple-product writing project.
  • Enact methods of audience analysis to produce texts that reflect considerations of audience, context, and purpose.
  • Use copyediting and document design strategies that demonstrate an understanding of the relationship of design and text, and that show competency for using appropriate technology to produce those documents.
  • Collaborate ethically and responsibly.
  • Convey information effectively in an oral presentation.

Course Projects

Formal Projects Include:

  • Proposals
  • Reports
  • Instructions
  • Business correspondence (emails, letters, memos)
  • Document Design

EWP444
Writing for Paper & Bioprocess Engineering Professionals

Primary Audience: Juniors/Seniors

Three hours of lecture, discussion, and workshops per week for 10 Weeks. Emphasizes writing practices required of paper and bioprocess engineers, including proposals and technical reports. Develop proficiency in determining the purpose of a document; analyzing audience; selecting, developing and organizing information in an appropriate design; and writing clearly, precisely and effectively.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 444 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Produce a proposal and technical report appropriate for the field of PBE.
  • Enact methods of audience analysis to produce texts that reflect considerations of audience, context, and purpose.
  • Use copyediting and document design strategies that demonstrate an understanding of the relationship of design and text, and that show competency for using appropriate technology to produce those documents.
  • Collaborate ethically and responsibly.
  • Convey information effectively in an oral presentation.

Course Projects

Formal Projects Include:

  • Proposals
  • Technical Reports
  • Instructions
  • Business correspondence (emails, letters, memos)
  • Document Design

EWP495
Environmental Journalism

Primary Audience: Juniors/Seniors

Three hours of lecture per week. This course covers a range of topics related to journalism: interviewing, writing the lead, style, writing and organizing the story, layout, editing and revising, writing features and follow-up stories, covering speeches, etc. In addition, students explore how the media covers scientific and environmental issues. Students work on writing skills--from basic editing techniques to more sophisticated areas of style. Spring.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 495 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Produce at a professional level the following newspaper/magazine story formats: features: top stories, people, ideas, trends; profiles editorials and viewpoints event-based stories.
  • Effectively evaluate-and be a better consumer of-the media.
  • Write well under pressure.
  • Gather and organize information.
  • Interview effectively.
  • Technical understanding of digital media.

Course Projects

Formal Projects Include:

  • Weekly short news stories posted on the class news site
  • Long-form feature articles
  • Long-form profile stories
  • Short journalistic pieces

Literature

EWP311
Urban Environmental Literature

Primary Audience: Juniors/Seniors

Three hours of discussion and lecture per week. Development of reading, writing, and critical thinking skills that illustrate the flora, fauna, geology, and climate that shape urban life. Evaluation and discussion of poetry and prose by contemporary authors who use urban nature as their subjects. Spring.

Prerequisite: Upper division status or permission of instructor.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 311 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Identify and discuss works of contemporary and twentieth century American nature literature in which urban nature is not merely the setting, background, or casual reference point but a central subject.
  • Discuss literature (and other texts) in relation to the geographic and cultural aspects of place and identity in an urban setting.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of different literary elements and the creative process used by regional writers who explore urban environmental issues.
  • Analyze several forms of written expression (poem, novel, autobiography, short story, memoir, creative non-fiction, essay) and the ways in which these genres explore the relationship between nature and culture.
  • Analyze the ways in which the city has been conceptualized by the dominant literature of western culture, examining the trope of an urban wilderness and the ways in which the concept of a nature is constructed in and by an urban culture.
  • Apply knowledge of the hard sciences and the social sciences to the literary analysis of texts, looking at topics such as land use management, policy, urban planning, ecology, resource distribution, and geology.
  • Use their own writing to summarize, analyze, or respond to a text.

Course Projects

Formal Projects Include:

  • Analytical Essays
  • Critical and Close Reading
  • Critical Research
  • Short critical responses
  • Creative Projects

EWP350
Eco-Cinema: Perspective & Practice

Primary Audience: Honors Students

Three hours of lecture/discussion and two-hour film screening each week. Environmental films are interpreted from cultural, historical, and political perspectives. The artistic process in filmmaking is emphasized. Students produce a short film or slide show with an environmental theme. Spring.

Prerequisites: EWP 190 and EWP 290 or Equivalent; Enrollment in Honors Program.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 350 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Describe how environmental concerns are socially constructed through viewing, discussing, and interpreting films.
  • Present major questions, concepts, histories, and topics in environmental film and literature.
  • Interpret literature and film within environmental, political, and philosophical contexts, and to understand the significance of various interpretations.

Course Projects

Formal Projects Include:

  • State of the Environment Essay
  • Media & The Environment Essay
  • Wildlife Digital Story
  • Film Documentary Project

EWP390
Literature of Nature

Primary Audience: Juniors

Three hours of discussion and lecture per week. Examination of views of nature and the environment as seen through works of 19th and 20th century writers, poets, and essayists. Readings, discussions, and written assignments explore aesthetics, socio-political climate, and prevailing attitudes toward the environment that formed the backdrop for readings. Fall and Spring.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 390 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Identify some of the representative major writers, poets and essayists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who used nature as a theme.
  • Discuss various divergent points of view of nature as held by industrialists, humanists, scientists, environmentalists, etc.
  • Recognize and discuss critically the cultural assumptions about 'nature' informing a variety of texts from a range of historical contexts.
  • Continue the development of their skills in the areas of research, textual analysis and interpretation, and communication, both oral and written.

Course Projects

Formal Projects Include:

  • Analytical Essays
  • Critical and Close Reading
  • Critical Research
  • Short critical responses
  • Creative Projects

EWP490
Contemporary Literature of Nature

Primary Audience: Juniors/Seniors

Three hours of discussion and lecture per week. This writing-intensive literature course takes an ecocritical approach to nature literature, both poetry and prose, written by contemporary authors. Coverage includes ecofeminism, science literature, and native American literature. Spring.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 490 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Identify and discuss works of contemporary and twentieth century American nature literature in which nature is not merely the setting, background, or casual reference point but a central subject.
  • Define ecocriticism and apply that method of literary analysis to a work of contemporary nature literature.
  • Recognize and appreciate the differences between new and traditional media in the production of literary texts.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of different literary elements and the creative process used by regional writers who explore environmental issues.
  • Analyze several forms of written expression (poem, novel, autobiography, short story, memoir, essay) and the ways in which these genres explore the relationship between nature and culture.
  • Examine the factors that shape our thoughts and actions towards nature, and what role text plays in that process.
  • Apply knowledge of the hard sciences and social sciences to the literary analysis of texts, looking at topics such as land use management, policy, ecology, resource distribution, and geology.
  • Use their own writing to summarize, paraphrase, analyze, critique, or respond to a text.
  • Present their ideas, including summary, interpretation, and critique of written texts, orally.

Course Projects

Formal Projects Include:

  • Analytical Essays
  • Critical and Close Reading
  • Critical Research
  • Short critical responses
  • Creative Projects

EWP494
Creative Non-Fiction in the Sciences

Primary Audience: Juniors/Seniors

Three hours of classroom instruction per week. Students in the course will read and write creative nonfiction, a genre that reflects a harmonious movement among subjective experience, factual research, and public interest in science and the environment. The course focuses on the writing processes and techniques used to write ideas, theories, and experiences to a lay audience. Spring.

Prerequisite: EWP 190. Note: Credit will not be granted for both EWP 494 and EWP 694.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 494 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Understand the multi-genre domain of creative non-fiction writing that shares the characteristics of literature, creative writing, non-fiction, and exposition.
  • Read and analyze works of creative non-fiction.
  • Discuss some of the theoretical problems posed by creative non-fiction works.
  • Define the ethical responsibility of the writer in the manner of representing people and events.
  • Write a variety of creative non-fiction pieces up to 15 pages in length.

Course Projects

Formal Projects Include:

  • Short creative nonfiction pieces
  • Sustained nonfiction project that build on earlier assignments
  • Individual presentation
  • Reading responses
  • Group presentation

Public Presentation Skills

EWP220
Public Presentation Skills

Primary Audience: Sophmores

Development of skills and fluency needed by environmental professionals in preparing,delivering and evaluating effectiveness of expository and persuasive oral presentations. Communication theory, rhetorical analysis, and visualizations of complex and technical data, self and peer evaluation, listening skills. Fall/Spring.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 220 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Students who successfully complete EWP 220 will demonstrate the ability to:
  • Demonstrate ability to prepare and deliver oral presentations to a given audience for a specific purpose.
  • Demonstrate the process for selecting, preparing, and effectively using visuals to enhance presentations.
  • Explain the relationship between communication theory and oral presentation practices.
  • Articulate the complexity of the relationship between culture and communication.
  • Describe the role of ethics in speech communication.

Course Projects

Formal Presentations Include:

  • Introducing a Speaker
  • Informative Presentation
  • Persuasive Presentation
  • Town Hall Meeting

EWP222
Presentation Skills for Managers

Primary Audience: Sustainable Construction Management & Engineering Majors

Three hours of lecture/discussion per week for 10 weeks. Development of skills needed by managers in preparing, delivering, and evaluating oral presentations for the professional workplace. Includes instruction on preparation and implementation of effective visual aids. Strategies for facilitating small group discussions and developing listening skills are emphasized. Fall.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 222 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Articulate how considerations of audience, purpose, and context are relevant to preparing and delivering effective presentations.
  • Demonstrate competency in delivering oral presentations appropriate for engineering professions.
  • Demonstrate how to facilitate small group discussions in the professional workplace.
  • Demonstrate the process for preparing and using effective visual aids.

Course Projects

Formal Presentations Include:

  • Informative Presentation
  • Persuasive Presentation
  • Facilitation of Small Group Discussion

EWP420
Advanced Public Presentation Skills

Primary Audience: Juniors/Seniors

Three hours of lecture/ discussion/student presentations per week. Emphasizes both theory and practice in effectively delivering, interpreting, and responding to public presentations. Social, cultural, and political dimensions of public address are examined. Issues of diversity and power are discussed. Small group communication is viewed as a site for creative problem-solving. Audience analysis, adaptation, strategic arrangement, and concept development are explored. Fall and Spring.

Prerequisite(s): EWP 220 or permission of instructor.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 420 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Prepare and deliver presentations that address varied purposes (e.g., to persuade, to inform, to motivate) with attention to audience and context.
  • Speak effectively in interpersonal, group, and public contexts with spontaneity and confidence.
  • Research speech topics and integrate credible research into the speech delivery.
  • Develop convincing oral arguments, supported by facts, statistics, examples, testimonies, and interviews, as appropriate.
  • Facilitate group discussions around readings and selected topics.
  • Prepare outlines and mind maps when developing presentations.
  • Apply design principles while selecting, creating, and integrating appropriate visual aids.
  • Demonstrate competency in presentation software.
  • Evaluate and respond to other presenters' speeches.

Course Projects

Formal Presentations Include:

  • Introduction of a Place
  • Persuasive Presentation
  • Poster Presentation
  • Final 30-minute Public Presentation
  • Facilitation of Discussion
  • Reading Responses

Writing Minor Courses

EWP 300
Survey of Environmental Writing

Primary Audience: EWR Minors

Three hours of classroom instruction per week. Students will explore forms of environmental writing including but not limited to journalism, poetry, memoir, field notes, historical research, natural histories and polemics. Students will analyze these writings rhetorically and create a range of texts including creative pieces, factually-based reporting, nature writing, and writing about science. Fall/Spring.

Prerequisites: EWP 190 and EWP 290.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 300 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Analyze the nuances and conventions of a range of professional and public genres of contemporary environmental writing.
  • Research and compose a variety of environmental document options including, but not limited to, field notes, journals, poetry, memoir, natural history, polemics, historical research, and collaborative projects.
  • Develop their writing, revising, and editing skills through instruction, feedback and practice.
  • Continue to develop their primary and secondary research skills.

Course Projects

Course Projects Include:

  • Nature Journals and Field Notes
  • Personal Essays
  • Poetry
  • Researched Feature Articles
  • Podcasts
  • Style and Imitation Exercises
  • Critical Reading Exercises


EWP401
Writing Minor Capstone

Primary Audience: EWR Minors

Experiential learning for the Environmental Writing & Rhetoric (EWR) minor through a writing project based on a) a community-based internship b) tutoring or completing special project in the Writing Resource Center, or c) an independent creative writing project. Fall and Spring.

Prerequisites: Student must be registered for the EWR minor.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 401 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Complete a sustained, high quality writing project associated with an internship, creative effort, or the Writing Center.

Course Projects

Options Include:

  • Internship Project
  • Creative Project
  • Writing Center Project
  • Public Speaking Center Project


Graduate Courses

EWP597
Graduate Scholarly Writing

Primary Audience: Graduate Students (Focus on International Students)

Students learn advanced writing principles to produce a proposal, thesis, dissertation, or manuscript. Topics include the writing process, use of sources, and graphics. Scholarly writing style and mechanics are discussed with emphasis on organization, clarity, and conciseness. Spring.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 597 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Use drafting and revision strategies to produce effective scholarly documents.
  • Write in a scholarly style appropriate for a scholarly audience.
  • Present information in a well-organized, clear, and concise manner.
  • Prepare and integrate graphics effectively into documents.
  • Use sources effectively and appropriately.

Course Projects

Formal Projects Include:

  • Proposals
  • Reports
  • Instructions & Procedures
  • Literature Reviews
  • Dissertation Chapters
  • Thesis Chapters


EWP620
Advanced Public Presentation Skills

Primary Audience: Graduate Students

Three hours of lecture per week. Development of skills and fluency needed by environmental professionals in preparing, delivering and evaluating effectiveness of expository and persuasive oral presentations. Communication theory, rhetorical analysis, and visualizations of complex and technical data, self and peer evaluation, listening skills. Fall/Spring.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete EWP 620 will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Prepare and deliver presentations that address varied purposes (e.g., to persuade, to inform, to motivate) with attention to audience and context.
  • Speak effectively in interpersonal, group, and public contexts with spontaneity and confidence.
  • Research speech topics and integrate credible research into the speech delivery.
  • Develop convincing oral arguments, supported by facts, statistics, examples, testimonies, and interviews, as appropriate.
  • Facilitate group discussions around readings and selected topics.
  • Prepare outlines and mind maps when developing presentations.
  • Apply design principles while selecting, creating, and integrating appropriate visual aids.
  • Demonstrate competency in presentation software.
  • Evaluate and respond to other presenters' speeches.

Course Projects

Formal Presentations Include:

  • Introduction of a Place
  • Persuasive Presentation
  • Poster Presentation
  • Final 30-minute Public Presentation
  • Facilitation of Discussion
  • Reading Responses



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