The University of Connecticut has introduced a new minor in writing open to undergraduate students.
“[The writing minor] is an opportunity for students in all majors to take a deeper dive into writing, to learn more about writing and to practice it,” said Ellen Carillo, an English professor and chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Writing & Instruction (CUWI) at UConn.
The minor requires 15 credits for courses that are either at or higher than the 2000-level. Students enrolled in the minor are required to take either ENGL 2013W or 2049W, but all other courses can be chosen from a wide variety of options.
“Currently, there [are] more than 75 different courses that students can take that would count towards the minor,” Carillo said in an interview. “There’s only one required course that students must take, and they actually have a choice between two courses for that requirement.”
According to Carillo, members of CUWI were looking to create a minor open to students of various majors and in different schools.
“As a group, we were thinking of ways to give students across all majors the opportunity to spend more time practicing writing and thinking about writing,” Carillo said. “We imagined a minor that would be very flexible, that students across all majors could take.”
The classes under the Writing minor are offered by the College of Agriculture, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Business and School of Engineering. However, students outside these schools are also eligible for the minor.
Tom Deans, an English professor and director of the Writing Center, said the minor’s structure is flexible and includes more than literature and creative writing courses.
“When people hear writing, they may think of English or literature or creative writing courses, but this minor is much, much broader than that,” Deans said in an email. “We designed it to include how writing is studied and practiced across many fields and professions.”
“And the structure is quite flexible, with more than 50 possible electives that count toward the minor, some of which you may have even already taken,” Deans added.
Wei-Hao Huang, a graduate student teaching the required course, says the minor can be thought of as a major in regard to the skills students gain from enrolling in the minor.
“Since writing is so central to learning, to be a writing minor, in fact, means to be a writing major, majoring in learning itself [and] mastering a skill that can help you succeed in and beyond school,” Huang said in an email.
Carillo said a minor in writing will allow students to stand out at UConn and when seeking a profession.
“It’s a way for students to separate themselves from others with the same major,” said Carillo. “A minor in writing will help them stand out because they will have spent time exploring theories of writing and practicing writing.”
The list of courses available to students with a writing minor can be found in UConn’s course catalog. Students who wish to include additional courses focused on writing to the minor can reach out to Ellen Carillo (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kathleen Tonry (email@example.com).