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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Writing, Rhetoric & Communications Program

  • greenhouse
  • a pair of hands
  • forest
  • forest
  • footprints
  • flower
  • a man working
  • night sky
  • sunny day

Writing, Rhetoric & Communications Program is one of only a few programs in the United States to address environmental literature and place-based professional and research writing.

Our minor in Environmental Writing and Rhetoric (EWR) offers coursework in professional communication and literature. Students learn to prepare print and online texts that meet the demands of the professional workplace in courses such as Digital Editing and Publishing, Environmental Journalism, and Writing for Environmental and Science Professionals. In our public presentation courses, students learn about visual aids and public speaking. In our unique Literature of Nature courses, students read the best of nature writing and ecophilosophy and learn to put environmental issues into cultural context. Students from any department on campus may choose our minor.

Writing, Rhetoric & Communications Program also addresses the literacy needs of the ESF campus. Through our research-based composition courses, close to 100 students each year gain writing and research skills. We teach core skills and practices of academic, professional writing through genres such as feasibility reports, slideware, social media, research essays, blogs, and websites. Writing, Rhetoric & Communications Program offers individual consultations for all stages of the academic writing process for all undergraduate students through the Writing Resource Center (WRC). Writing, Rhetoric & Communications Program Public Speaking Lab (PSL) supports undergraduate students by having trained tutors coach and critique presentations using a video recording lab.

In addition to our minor and literacy services, Writing, Rhetoric & Communications Program leads in our community effort of ESF in High School.

We recently launched Unearthed, an online literary magazine published by ESF and run by undergraduate student editors. The journal focuses on works that define the environment and are produced by undergraduate students at ESF. We honor the legacy of ESF’s original print creative journal, Ecologue and seek to publish work in the genres of non-fiction, fiction, poetry and artwork. We especially encourage works in new media and those that blend genres such as photo and video essays.


  • Improve the quality of writing and rhetoric on and off the ESF campus.
  • Create student awareness of rhetorical considerations.
  • Establish an atmosphere that values effective writing while encouraging creativity and critique, research and reflection.
  • Emphasize writing in a context as part of a community.
  • Promote critical thinking, critical reading, and critical writing skills.

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