WRIT 150: Writing and Critical Reasoning–Thematic Approaches (Health and Healing)

Course Description 
and Objectives

Most people write to do something—to enter the “conversations” of a variety of communities, and to share ideas and perspectives that may shape or change what is already known. In WRIT 150, we will analyze and practice the different skills and strategies that writers use to fulfill such writing goals in several different argumentative and analytical contexts with particular attention to the general expectations that one would expect for writing in a university setting. While there is no singular genre “academic writing” or mode of critical thinking for the college-level, we will explore articulations of those ideas that should offer some degree of transfer to your other coursework and pursuit of higher education.

Instead of focusing only on the final texts that are produced, we will focus on exploring developing processes of writing, including:

  • how to find and develop new ideas that might be of interest and

    value to certain communities (invention strategies, research strategies, and audience analysis);

  • how to explore these ideas and “write to learn,” experimenting with a variety of writing features and techniques (drafting);
  • how to adjust or change our drafts and ideas based on others’ responses to our texts (revision);
  • and how to present out ideas in the forms that our readers expect and value (style, documentation, editing, and proofreading).

We will discuss and practice these skills and explore how such processes of writing and critical reasoning overlap, double back, and repeat. By the end of this course, you should have a better idea of the writing process broadly as well as a clearer articulation of what works for you in your own writing process.

In addition to developing these writing skills and processes, this course focuses on the ways in which we conduct critical analysis through writing.

As part of a university academic community, we are challenged to delve deep into the issues that we encounter in the world and in our academic disciplines. We will use a variety of approaches for developing critical reasoning skills in this class, including participation in scholarly conversations with multiple sources and perspectives in order to develop new knowledge.

Health and Healing

What is health? Is it focused on the individual’s physical health? What about mental and/or emotional issues? And how does individual health affect the larger community? What about global health? When should these conversations turn to environmental concerns?

What is healing? How do we approach methods of healing? What approaches/ methods are valid for healing? Who determines that validity? What do we do when definitions or standards of health and/or healing conflict?

Who has access to healthcare? How do the systems of healthcare limit the ways we discuss these topics? How do political or ideological forces further influence these conversations?

The questions that one can ask about health and healing can rapidly spiral out of control as we consider the systemic influences and impacts of even a single issue. The ways in which we answer these questions and frame our own understanding of health and healing can have a drastic impact on the way that we approach the theme of this course.

In this section of WRIT 150, I want us to consider the questions that precede issues of health and healing before we consider the ways in which we might “solve” or address the problems themselves. Through our conversations in the class, we will attempt to define our individual and collective understandings of health and healing and then use those frameworks to discuss important issues related to the thematic. Through this work, our goal is to better understand the ways in which the discourses of health shape the practices of the various fields that employ those discourses.

Relevant Course Materials (PDF format):


Writing Project One: Identifying Frameworks for Health and Healing

Writing Project Two: Analyzing an Opposing Argument in Healthcare

Writing Project Three: Addressing Disparities in Health and Healing

Writing Project Four (pending)