About the Department


The Department of Rhetoric and Composition provides a solid foundation for critical thinking, reading and writing, promoting excellence in research and rhetoric in a variety of multi-modal, discipline-specific and inter-disciplinary genres. As part of this effort, we work to maintain a community where knowledge discernment, research methods, rhetorical skills and basic human values are cultivated to deepen academic learning, personal growth and community engagement, and where achievements are evaluated through an ongoing process of self-assessment for purposes of program enhancement.


The objectives of the department are as follows:

  1. Create an inquiry-based teaching and learning environment
  2. Create a teaching and learning community that promotes excellence through respectful and productive teaching and research collaborations
  3. Provide a rigorous undergraduate composition curriculum that helps students develop skills in academic literacy, including critical reading, writing, analysis, argument and research skills
  4. Promote critical and cultural literacy in students to prepare them for an increasingly complex and multi-mediated world

Guiding Principles 

  • We believe that all texts are composed within complex rhetorical situations comprised of rhetors, audience, exigencies, intentions, contexts and other contingencies. Additionally, we believe that all writing is culturally contextual, embedded in complicated networks of meaning, power and technology.
  • We believe that writing is a powerful intellectual tool and that it has the potential to be socially transformative.
  • We value the richness and interplay of differences and are committed to intellectual, social, cultural and ethnic diversity.
  • We believe in respectful critical dialogue within the community of students, faculty and staff.
  • We believe in the importance of fostering dialogue across academic and civic communities about the purpose, meaning and function of writing.

The Department of Rhetoric and Composition at AUC is responsible for teaching the writing requirements specified by the Core Curriculum and acknowledges its responsibility to serve the needs of the AUC academic community. The Department of Rhetoric and Composition considers its task not only to develop the students' writing ability but also to open our students' minds to the principles of a liberal education. Thus, the Department of Rhetoric and Composition has a two-fold function: to prepare students to write effective academic papers, which will be required in their other courses, and to equip the students with the kinds of skills required at University and in their future careers.

In the Department of Rhetoric and Composition, students take six credit hours of writing as well as three credit hours of a CORE seminar course. RHET1010 Freshman Writing and CORE1010 Freshman Seminar are taken concurrently in the same semester, relating to one theme. RHET1020 Research Writing is taken the following semester. These courses develop and reinforce the fundamentals of academic writing, critical analysis, and independent thinking. In addition, the Department of Rhetoric and Composition offers some advanced level writing courses for specialized writing in the majors and prepares students for writing in their careers. These courses may be taken as requirements for the writing minor, administered by the Department of English and Comparative Literature, or as elective and core requirements.

For detailed answers to any questions you might have about our courses, consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.