WRIT 101: Composition and Sustainability

Here, at the University of Montana, the composition program takes sustainability as a big idea to inquire into in WRIT 101. 
Perhaps the most common definition of sustainability is simply “meeting today’s needs without jeopardizing the well-being of future generations” (Owens 1). It encompasses a range of economic, environmental, and social issues. We’ll be exploring concepts of sustainability as a means of learning how to engage in inquiry as college writers and researchers, but also with the hope that you’ll begin to consider how sustainability figures into your evolving worldview.

WRIT 101 focuses on sustainability for a couple of reasons: first, we quite simply care about the environment and human rights but recognize that the enormity of such problems as global warming or banishing racism might seem too daunting for individuals and communities to change. People don’t necessarily feel they have the power, the wherewithal, or the agency to change the world. Yet we believe that thoughtful, committed individuals can make a difference, and this belief leads us to our second point. Learning to write in college is a means of further educating you to be engaged readers and writers, continuing on your path of becoming active, agile, and reflective learners. Learning to write in college often means considering where you stand in relationship to others’ beliefs, learning to work collaboratively and productively with others, and learning to critically engage new ideas and practices. These skills and habits of mind are vital for college researchers and writers as well as citizens in our world.

We’ll explore sustainability in our writing assignments and readings as you develop your abilities to think, read, and write rhetorically to better communicate in the world. You’ll inquire into different personal, academic, and civic contexts and read, analyze, and compose in different genres. You’ll also further develop flexible reading, writing, and research processes to help you develop as an academic and civic participant. Much of your work will involve different kinds of collaboration, including small group workshops and discussions that will take place in class, in conference, and in electronic forums.


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