Writing & Rhetoric


The Writing and Rhetoric department seeks to equip students for academic success and postgraduate careers that require knowledge of advanced communication and writing skills. We provide instruction in composition theory and practice and in rhetoric across diverse traditions. Our courses teach students about the forms of writing they are likely to encounter, provide opportunities for students to rethink and refine their writing processes and habits, and teach students strategies or techniques for adapting their writing styles to specific audiences, disciplines, and genres. Our courses also span a range of genres in composition and rhetoric, including cultural rhetorics, visual rhetorics, creative nonfiction, civic writing, and journalism. Through our interdisciplinary curriculum, WRD asks students to examine writing and rhetoric as embedded in culture and to consider the relations among writing, rhetoric, identity, literacy, and power. Our department is committed to enacting the college's mission through our curricular focus on diversity and equity. 

Core and Writing Requirements

Many courses in Writing and Rhetoric fulfill Core requirements in US Diversity, pre-1800, and Fine Arts. In addition, WRD 201 (The Art of Essay Writing) fulfills the First Stage Writing Requirement (a requirement for graduation) and in some cases the Second Stage Writing Requirement should students not pass this requirement in their major. 

Please see information on the college's Writing Requirements.

Interdisciplinary Writing Minor

Although the college does not offer students the opportunity to major in WRD, our department is the main contributing department to the Interdisciplinary Writing (IW) minor. Students can get information about the IW minor and receive signatures for declaring, graduation, and potential study abroad course equivalents by meeting with the WRD Chair. 

Click here for courses in the Interdisciplinary Writing Minor.

Writing Center

The Writing and Rhetoric department oversees the staffing, curriculum, and programming of the college's Writing Center. Faculty in WRD support student writers both in the classroom and through their expertise as Writing Specialists in the Writing Center. 

See the Writing Center Website for more information about writing support services at, http://www.oxy.edu/writing-center.


Writing & Rhetoric Courses


Regular Faculty

Thomas Burkdall

Associate Professor, Writing & Rhetoric
B.A., Pitzer College; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Julie Prebel

Associate Professor, Writing & Rhetoric

Writing Programs Director
B.A., University of California, Berkeley; M.A., California State University, San Francisco; Ph.D., University of Washington

On Special Appointment

Ara Corbett

Non-Tenure Track Instructor, Writing and Rhetoric
B.A., Loyola Marymount University; M.F.A., Boston University; M.A., University of California, Los Angeles

Sarah Ostendorf

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Writing and Rhetoric
B.A., Northwestern University; M.F.A., Mills College; Ph.D. New York University

Robert Sipchen

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Writing and Rhetoric
B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara