Welcome to the home of the Program in Writing and Communication (PWC). Created by the unanimous vote of the Rice University Faculty Senate in November 2011 and formally launched in January 2012, the PWC encompasses written, oral, and visual communication and aspires to take undergraduate students from their first academic experiences on campus to their more advanced work in their major(s), and to provide graduate students with support for professional communication of all kinds.
The establishment of the PWC announces Rice’s engagement with national conversations about communication pedagogy, particularly with regard to the design and implementation of a unique, top-tier communication center. Attention to writing as simply a skill or the expression of already existing ideas is only a small part of the PWC’s mission. The PWC is founded on the belief that writing is intimately linked to the process of thinking and modes of knowing, and only one of many forms of communication essential to academic and professional life in the 21st Century. Accordingly, the PWC will integrate the oral and visual components of communication and also link those components to the University’s increasing number of international initiatives.
The PWC is housed in the Office of the Provost and directed by the Associate Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs, with the assistance of a Faculty Director and Faculty Advisory Board composed of members from each of the University’s academic Schools.
In its inaugural year, the PWC will open a Center for Written, Oral and Visual Communication located in Fondren Library and offer approximately 70 First-Year Writing-Intensive Seminars (FWIS). All first-year students must complete an FWIS during their first year at Rice. FWIS are content-based, 3-credit hour seminars that can be taught in any department and focus on any topic, and in which writing and communication pedagogy plays a significant role in assignments and grading. A course is considered "writing intensive" if writing plays an integral role in the course. This typically means that there are writing assignments of some sort throughout the semester, that students are asked to revise their work, and that there is some discussion of the writing assignments in class in one-on-one meetings with the instructor. Seminars will also include an oral presentation component.
The Center for Written, Oral, and Visual Communication will support teaching and learning through workshops, consulting, and noncredit courses (including ESL instruction) for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. Headed by a team of communication professionals, the Center will also include a large staff of writing and communication consultants, both graduate and undergraduate, who are available for individual appointments. The Center will include facilities for one-on-one consultations and group work, as well as advanced technology for preparation of oral and visual presentations. Physically accessible whenever Fondren Library is open, the Center will be virtually accessible around the clock through the PWC Webpage.