Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

UCWR 110 Writing Responsibly

Spring 2016

Loyola University.  John Felice Centre.  Rome

Spring Semester 2016

University Core Writing Seminar: UCWR 110 Writing Responsibly.

Instructor: Andrew Rutt

Meeting: TBA

Office Hours:   After class, or by appointment.

Email:   arutt@luc.edu


Plato is my friend, but truth is a better friend  (Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas). Aristotle

Course Description:

Human knowledge grows with an engagement in debate over what may be considered "true," "real," or "right".   UCWR 110 Writing Responsibly aims to engage the course participants in critical thinking and debate so as to further develop their capacity of crafting a written argument and which will constitute their contribution to the aforementioned debate.    The more each student is able to improve their engagement, the better will be their ability to think critically, reason effectively, make choices reasonably, and weigh the evidence in the work of others productively.  This will consequently lead to much better ability to ‘Write Responsibly’. 


Professor Statement:

In an enriching multicultural classroom environment, I am committed to working with my students’ strengths and values and see the classroom as a platform where understanding and knowledge exchange can be facilitated.  My three Rs - Reading, Reflection,Writing - prepare my students for the challenges of academic study and for the evolving world in which their voice matters. Using English for Academic Purposes teaching material complemented by TED talks, academic journals and classic literature,   I adopt a supportive approach to addressing important social, political and cultural issues in English which my students find engaging and renders their learning experience authentic and constructive.


UCWR 110 Writing Responsibly Course Content: 
-thesis development; 
-critical reading; 
-organizing and outlining;
-paraphrasing and summarizing; 
-citation and documentation standards. 
-library use and other research facilities/resources. 

In addition to regular in-and out-of-class reading and writing assignments,  course participants are required to write a fully documented research paper.


Learning Outcomes: 
Who am I?  Who am I writing for? What do I want to achieve?
During UCWR 110 Writing Responsibly we will work on four main aspects: 

1. Focus on organization.
This includes paragraph unity and development, logical progression of ideas, and the effectiveness of the introduction and conclusion. If necessary, a review of the writing process  (pre-writing, planning, writing, editing and proof reading) will be covered. 

2. Evaluation of content.    
This includes the further development of clarity and coherence of their paper's thesis.  The strength and appropriateness of supporting details, and the depth of the student’s insight into the topic. 

3. Consistent Style 
This is communicated through tone and word choice, as well as varied sentence structures and vocabulary to maintain interest. Clarity of diction and syntax is essential. The tone should be consistent and appropriate. 

4.  Attention to mechanics
Grammar, punctuation, spelling, and correct application of appropriate conventions are all fundamental.


Grades and Grading


Worksheets                                                 20%

In-Class Essays                                           20%

Topic proposal                                           10%

Annotated Bibliography                              20%

Preliminary outline                                     Mandatory (not graded) *

First Draft                                                  Mandatory (not graded) *

Final Paper                                                  30%


Worksheets: Late, unprinted, or emailed worksheets will not be accepted. Late submission of any of the above will affect your grade.



Writing Assignments: Late take-home assignments must be turned in at the earliest opportunity (first class student is in attendance) and will receive a maximum grade of C (75%). After that, they will no longer be accepted.

Email can be used as a time-stamp for submission, but a hard copy must be presented at the earliest opportunity.



Missing Assignments

Missing take-home assignment will receive a grade of “F” and will weight 0% in averages.

Missing In-Class essays will receive a grade of “F” and will weigh “55%” in averages

Failure to turn in the final paper will result in a failing grade for the class. Attendance Requirement

Students with more than three unexcused absences will fail the course.



Academic Honesty

Students are responsible for all work they submit for evaluation. This includes proper acknowledgment of all sources used or consulted in completing the assignment. Student work should be original and intellectually honest. Thus, the inclusion in your assignment of any ideas or portions of text that you “borrow” from another source without proper attribution constitute plagiarism. I will report students engaging in academic dishonesty to the Dean’s office and award an F (zero points) to the relevant assignment. As a rule, I notify the Dean before I inform the student. Possible consequences include failing the class and/or suspension from Loyola University.



‘Writing Responsibly’ (UCWR 110) Course Schedule



Weekly/Bi-Weekly Topic



What, How, Why I Write:  Beyond ‘I Have to’ to I Must’

Six step ‘Writing Process’ explained with activities.   Intro to argument.   Course requirements. (syllabus, books).

Reading G.Orwell’s essay ‘Why I write [?]’   Argument introduction p.541-549 Rhetorical Choices

For argument’s sake.  Is a clash between east and west inevitable? Examples for discussion


Sample reading activities for group discussion.   Watch: Michael Sandel: The lost art of democratic debate. (Who deserves the best flutes? and Is golf actually a sport?  The U.S Supreme court decides in the )  Video (e.g. Biennale di Venezia Icelandic Pavilion)

Read Chapter 1 ‘Writing Arguments’ in preparation for in class writing quiz.  Walk to Anglo-American bookstore to buy book. At home writing activity which describes your journey.

The critical ingredient in justice; considering the resistance to an argument, and getting to ‘YES’. 

Columbine high school massacre, reasons behind,     Watch videos documentary group discussion over causes.  Was the music of Marilyn Manson to blame?  Excerpts from Bowling for Columbine.  Preparation for ‘Rogerian Letter’

Preparing a Rogerian argument,Chapter 7 reading in preparation for in class writing activity.

Why should we care? Thinking about Ethos, Pathos, Logos, Kairos. Essential characteristics to any written work.

‘Not in my backyard’  Who cares about the environment? Who wants a wind turbine in their neighborhood?  Or are we actually asking the right question? Watch Alex Laskey’s TED talk: How behavioral science can lower your energy bill (and perhaps save the planet).

Chapter 3 writing arguments in preparation for class discussion in groups.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. (Mahatma Gandhi).  The death sentence; is there no alternative?


Looking at what happens before a murder takes place, is there a way to prevent the death of two people?  Watch David R. Dow ‘Lessons from death row’.  Also class discussion to the ethical resistance to the proposal that death row prisoners be permitted to donate their organs.

At home writing activities in response to class discussion and related activities.   Bring to class an object of particular sentimental value.

Most people instinctively avoid conflict; do you dare to disagree?

Identifying a potential topic for your ongoing research, and narrowing it to an issue for your final paper. Class group activities. Watch Margaret Heffernan:

Dare to disagree


Write a 300 word proposal which illustrates the issue you would like to explore for your final paper.  (This will reviewed by your peers before submission)

Can fear teach us anything?  ‘The three Rs: Reading, Reflection, Writing

Evaluating sources, and making the most of your library. Gathering sources in the library.   Explanation on how to access academic source material for your written work from online databases.

Initializing the preparation of an annotated bibliography. Make an appointment with the librarian who will help you in the preparation of  your annotated bibliography.

Blame your teachers! Did your teacher nurture your creativity, or undermine it?  How to avoid plagiarism by citing responsibly. 

On the advanced ‘Writing Responsibly’ course (UCWR 110), along with the craft of writing argument and exploring various types of claims, we will work on how to paraphrase summarize and cite sources for your paper correctly.    MLA explained. Practice activities and graded quiz

MLA revision. Preparation of  first draft ongoing

The family: What's the line between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance?

In class peer review of first draft before submission.  Writing an outline with practice activities.  How to prepare a 125 word abstract of your final paper.

Preparation of  first draft of final paper ongoing.

10. Think visual. What’s the point of power point?

Signposting language and use of visual material in preparation for the 10 minute presentation of your paper as final exam.

Submission of final draft.