Writing, Public Speaking, & Critical Reasoning Minor

Communities need compassionate communicators. The WSCR minor prepares students to listen to the needs of communities, advocate with them, and bring about change through coherent, convincing arguments.  

Through coursework in Writing, English, Philosophy, and more, students learn to examine the relationship of language, power, and reason in arguments and sharpen their critical writing and speaking.  

A Community Literacy Pathway (ENG 413 + ENG 404) provides optional real-world experience.  

The WSCR minor is designed for any University of Oregon major who wants to develop critical communication and leadership skills. Undergraduates who want even more concentrated work in this area may enroll in the Certificate program. 

To declare the Writing, Public Speaking, and Critical Reasoning Minor online, use the Add/Drop Form

Sign up for the WSCR listserv here

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Fall 2021 Course Spotlight - LING 201:

New to the minor! Counts toward Critical Reasoning requirement. 

LING 201: Language and Power 

Instructor: Melissa Baese-Berk 

The purpose of this class is to introduce you to a new way of looking at language and the relations between people who speak different languages or the same language differently.  Everyone has some expertise because everyone speaks one or more languages, and everyone in this class has a lot of experience reading and writing (at least one) language, too. In this class, you will learn that our culture maintains many false beliefs about the nature of language, some of which we are taught in school, others of which we pick up from the media or from people around us. This class will introduce a bit of the scientific study of language, focusing on findings about language use in society.  We will then apply these findings to popular (mis)conceptions about language variation. 

In this class, students will: 

  • Explore how language interacts with the world around us and how language shapes our views of others. 

  • Examine questions like: What does it mean when society decides that a native speaker’s pronunciation, word choice, or grammar are “wrong” or that a community of speakers should not use their native language in particular situations (or at all, in some cases)?  Who has the power to make these decisions? What sorts of facts and ideas (true or not) inform such decisions? 

  • Practice a variety of skills (including flexibility in work and education) that will be transferrable to a variety of fields. 

  • Affirm our hope about the future by continuing to learn and question in fields that are now more relevant than ever. 

 

WSCR Minor:

WSCR class list.

Worksheet is available to track your progress in the minor.

Not all of the courses listed below are offered every academic year.
For current courses: view WSCR Course list above.

Requirements for the Minor:

1. The minor requires 24 credits or 2 courses from each of the following categories: 

Writing -- Learn to write for different audiences and purposes by taking two of the following: 

  • WR 123 College Composition III -- Fulfills writing requirement
  • WR 320 Scientific and Technical Writing 
  • WR 321 Business Communication 
  • WR 423 Advanced Composition 
  • ENG 413 Theories of Literacy -- Includes Community Literacy Internship (ENG 404) 
  • ENG 420 The Art of Sentence 

Public Speaking and Rhetoric -- Practice public speaking by taking one of the following (one is required): 

  • ENG 200 Public Speaking 
  • ENG 330 Oral Controversy and Advocacy -- Counts toward Arts and Letters requirement 

Then study how writers and speakers make arguments by choosing an additional course from the following: 

  • ENG 200 Public Speaking 
  • ENG 330 Oral Controversy and Advocacy -- Counts toward Arts and Letters requirement 
  • ENG 491 Rhetoric and Ethics 
  • ENG 492 History of Rhetoric and Composition 
  • ENG 493 Modern Rhetorical Criticism 

Critical Reasoning -- Learn more about the relationship of language, power, and reason by selecting two of the following: 

  • PHIL 103 Critical Reasoning -- Counts toward Arts and Letters requirement 
  • PHIL 325 Logic, Inquiry, and Argument (prerequisite: one course in Philosophy) 
  • ENG 335 Inventing Arguments -- Counts toward Arts and Letters Core Education requirement 
  • LING 201 Language and Power – Counts toward Social Science Core Education requirement  

Optional (may be used in any of the above categories): 

  • WR 198 Independent Writing Project (by prior approval of the Director; variable credit) 
  • ENG 404 Community Literacy Internship (by prior approval of the Director; one credit) 
  • ENG 494 Reasoning, Speaking, Writing 

2. To count in the Minor, all classes must be taken for a grade of mid-C or better with the exception of ENG 404 Community Literacy Internship, which can be taken with a P. 

3. Only two courses taken for the Minor may be used to fulfill any other minor or major. WR 123 may be used for the Minor and to complete the University Writing Requirement. 

4. All upper-division coursework for the Minor must be taken in residency at the University of Oregon. 

5. Students must declare the Minor by using the Add/Drop Form.  

6. No more than 12 credits may be taken in lower-division courses. 

Direct inquiries to the English Department office, 346-3911 or the Center for Teaching Writing, 346-3922.

 


WSCR Certificate:

To declare the Writing, Public Speaking, and Critical Reasoning Certificate online, use the Add/Drop Form

Declaring the Certificate does NOT show up on your Degree Audit.  Please use this worksheet to track your progress manually.
 

WSCR Course List

Not all of the courses listed below are offered every academic year.
View current list above titled WSCR Course List.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CERTIFICATE:

1) 36 credits, distributed as follows:

  • Three courses in Writing (at least one must be at the 400-level):

WR 123 College Composition III
WR 320 Scientific and Technical Writing
WR 321 Business Communication
WR 423 Advanced Composition
ENG 413 Theories of Literacy
ENG 420 The Art of the Sentence

  • Three courses in Rhetoric (at least one of which must be ENG 200 or 330):

ENG 200 Public Speaking
ENG 330 Oral Controversy and Advocacy
ENG 491 Rhetoric and Ethics
ENG 492 History of Rhetoric and Composition
ENG 493 Modern Rhetorical Criticism

  • Two courses in Reasoning from this list:

PHIL 103 Critical Reasoning
PHIL 325 Logic, Inquiry, and Argument (prerequisite: one course in Philosophy)
ENG 335 Inventing Arguments

  • One capstone course (ENG 491 may serve as capstone in years when 494 is not taught):

ENG 494 Reasoning, Speaking, Writing

  • Optional (may be used to supplement credits in any of the above categories):

WR 198 Independent Writing Project (by prior approval of the Director; variable credit)
ENG 404 Community Literacy Internship (by prior approval of the Director; one credit)

2) To count in the Certificate, all classes must be taken for a grade of mid-C or better with the exception of ENG 404 Community Literacy Internship, which can be taken with a P.

3) Only two courses taken for the Certificate may be used to fulfill any other minor or major. WR 123 may be used for the Certificate and to complete the University Writing Requirement.

4) All upper-division coursework for the Certificate must be taken in residency at the University of Oregon.


FAQ With the Director 

Emily Simnitt is an award-winning teacher who is committed to creating more inclusive communities. After working more than 15 years in journalism and public communication, she earned an interdisciplinary PhD in Writing Studies and Literacy. From there she came to the University of Oregon and has been teaching writing, community literacy, and digital humanities classes since 2015. She’s currently the UO Leadership Fellow. Now, combining her passion for communication, community literacy, and leadership Professor Simnitt is the Director of the WSCR minor.  

What is the WSCR Minor? 

Communities, however you define them, need compassionate communicators. We need professionals who can listen to the needs of people, advocate with them, and bring about change through coherent, convincing arguments. That’s what we’re about in the WSCR minor. By giving you coursework in Writing, English, Philosophy, and more, we’re preparing you to meet the needs of your community and the world.  

Why enroll in the minor? 

The minor teaches the communication, critical thinking, and leadership skills that employers are looking for. It’s a great compliment to any course of study, whether you’re in STEM, Social Sciences, or the Humanities.  

Who teaches classes in the minor? 

You can find out who is teaching WSCR courses this term here by browsing the current WSCR course list. WSCR faculty combine interdisciplinary experience with a commitment to social justice. You’ll get to experience some of the most passionate and engaged professors working to make this world a better place.  

Sign up for the WSCR Listserv and English social media for upcoming profiles of WSCR faculty. 

What cool things are students doing in WSCR classes? 

If you are taking a WSCR course, I want to hear from you. Email me or stop by my in-person or virtual office hours and let me know!  

What are some majors that the WSCR minor enhances? 

Students from 15 different majors are currently enrolled. Well-represented Flight Paths include: Public Policy, Society, and Identity; Industry, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation; and Scientific Discovery and Sustainability. Send me an email to let me know why you are interested in WSCR! 

Where do students get advising for the minor? 

From the WSCR Director – Emily Simnitt, esimnitt@uoregon.edu. I can answer questions about requirements and help plan which classes best connect with your interests. 

What’s new with the minor this year? 

A lot!  

LING 201: Language and Power – has been added to the list of classes counting toward the Critical Reasoning requirement. Language and Power is a perspective-changing class that will transform the way you think about language and help you satisfy the Social Science Core Education requirement.  

The Community Literacy Program is expanding. Community internships will resume in ENG 413. WSCR students will have the opportunity to develop that program. 

A new WSCR Advisory Board with students representation will help take the minor into the future. 

Sign up for the WSCR Listserv to stay up-to-date about new classes and other new programs this year. 

What events are planned for WSCR minors this year? 

I’ll be at College Block on Sept. 24 and am planning a gathering for WSCR students with community members who use writing and public speaking in their careers. Save the date – Oct. 20, 12-1:30 p.m. in the Tykeson Hall commons. Sign up for the WSCR Listserv to receive details about these events and more. 

How do people get involved with the minor? 

Here are a few easy ways to get involved: 

  • Join the WSCR Listserv
  • Enroll in the minor by filling out minor add form: Once you do that, we’ll reach out to you with more information. 
  • Attend a WSCR event. Email me and ask a question or set up an in-person or Zoom chat: esimnitt@uoregon.edu. I can also connect you with other WSCR students. 
  • Try out WSCR classes while also working on your Core Education requirements: 
  • WR 123 Research Writing also fulfills the writing requirement 
  • PHIL 103 Critical Reasoning, ENG 330 Oral Controversy and Advocacy, and ENG 335 Inventing Arguments fulfill Arts and Letters Core Education requirements. LING 201 counts toward the Social Science Core Education requirement. 

Direct inquiries to the English Department office, (541) 346-3911 or the Center for Teaching Writing, (541) 346-3922.