The Millsaps College Writing Program is one of the College's hallmarks. Recognized as one of the premier writing programs in the country, we are known for making Writing Across the Curriculum work. That means that we take writing seriously, and we work hard to ensure that every student has plenty of opportunities to improve writing skills. We also work one-on-one with faculty members to support their use of writing in their courses.
In addition to personal support to both students and faculty members, our Writing Program is supported by a Writing Center and a Writing Proficiency Requirement. The Writing Center, staffed by student tutors, is open five days a week and is here to serve any student writer at any stage of the writing process. The Writing Proficiency Requirement is a portfolio requirement, consisting of seven papers written at Millsaps and assessed on a five-point scale. The fact that writing proficiency is a graduation requirement at Millsaps is a concrete statement of the importance we place on writing.
The Millsaps College Writing Center seeks to engage writers in all stages of the writing process and to encourage intellectual growth through writing. Our purpose is to provide support and guidance to all Millsaps writers as they pursue their writing goals across and beyond the curriculum.
Visit the Millsaps College Writing Center's Course Connect page (link to come) to access:
John Stone Hall 102A
Monday–Thursday 3–9 p.m.
Tuesday & Thursday 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Library Study Rooms 204/205
Sunday–Thursday 7–10 p.m.
Writing is central to the Millsaps experience, and maintaining a Writing Center on campus is just one of many ways the Writing Program cultivates strong writers at Millsaps College. One graduation requirement that all Millsaps College students are expected to fulfill is the Writing Portfolio, which is administered through the Writing Program (not the Writing Center). For questions or to learn more about the Writing Portfolio, email email@example.com.
The intent of the Writing Program is to support all faculty as you use writing in your courses at Millsaps. With our writing intensive Core 1, IDST 1000/1050: Introduction to Thinking and Writing course and other Core courses, we work to develop a coherent, scholarly atmosphere in which students develop competent and effective means of written communication.
To this end, the Millsaps Writing Program has adopted a Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) approach designed to offer clear and effective writing instruction in the initial writing intensive course—IDST 1000/1050—and to support and extend that instruction through other writing intensive courses in all disciplines on campus. Other courses on campus, including upper level courses in all three divisions and every major on campus, ought also to contribute to this campus-wide emphasis on one of the primary liberal arts abilities: written communication.
The Writing Across the Curriculum approach that the Millsaps Writing Program uses operates on the simple philosophy that writing is a skill requisite to every academic pursuit. It is not the domain or responsibility of single faculty members, departments, or divisions. It is a campus-wide, holistic approach to teaching writing. In short, from the earliest WAC theorists to contemporary post-process theorists, the consensus in this WAC strain of writing theory and pedagogy is this: that students can neither be injected with writing skills nor vaccinated against poor writing habits in one single course; that the writing process and, therefore, the teaching of writing is a recursive process; that students learn to write most successfully in environments in which their writing skills are measured in all courses and in which good writing habits are reinforced in various courses and by various instructors.
With the inception of the Millsaps Core Curriculum, the Millsaps faculty charged the Core Council with approving core courses that "are intended to foster development of the general abilities of a liberally educated person." One specified core ability was "the ability to express one's thoughts and feelings coherently and persuasively through written. . . communication." To make certain that students develop their writing ability, the Core Council urges that all faculty teaching in the core assign writing to their students in all core courses. As a guide to the faculty, the Core Council has established the following requirements and guidelines for writing in core courses.
These requirements refer to Core Curriculum for students entering Millsaps prior to Fall 2015. Writing requirements for students entering Millsaps Fall 2015 and beyond will be made available as soon as they have been approved by the Millsaps faculty.
IDST 1000 is the foundation course for the development of writing skills. Each section should require students to:
Core Topics courses provide our students with instruction in writing that complements and builds on the work in IDST 1000. Core 2-5 courses will require students to:
See Part 11 of this manual for further discussion on teaching writing, including discussion of revision techniques, and for a listing of various kinds of writing assignments suitable for core courses in every division.
Heritage has comparable requirements for writing as do the Core 2-5 courses. Heritage will require its students each semester to:
See Part II of this manual for further discussion on teaching writing, including a discussion of revision techniques, and for a listing of various kinds of writing assignments suitable for core courses in every division.
Core 6 courses in the social and behavioral sciences play an important part in the development of writing skills. Core 6 courses should require their students to:
See Part II of this manual for further discussion on teaching writing, including a discussion on revision techniques, and for a listing of various kinds of assignments suitable for core courses in every division.
These courses in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science also have the responsibility to foster the development of students' writing ability. But the writing should be appropriate to the course material and the discipline. Although Core 8 courses are encouraged to include writing in their courses, only Core 7 and Core 9 courses are required to do so. Teachers of Core 7 and Core 9 courses will require their students to:
See Part II of this manual for further discussion on teaching writing, including discussion on revision techniques, and for a listing of various kinds of writing assignments suitable for core courses in every division.
Students will generally have completed their core and their writing proficiency requirements in their sophomore year. Passing the proficiency requirements is an indication that students have reached minimal levels of writing proficiency at the lower division level. Research, however, indicates that students can easily regress unless they are challenged to continue writing at more advanced levels as they progress in their majors. Each department will, of course, decide how they will ensure the continued growth of their students' skills. The writing mandated in the Core 10 course merely provides a "capstone" experience to core and departmental writing requirements.
All Core 10 courses must include a reflective paper of at least five pages. It need not be a research paper, but the assignment will draw upon students' critical thinking skills, that is, their ability to think in complex ways, to bring multiple perspectives to bear upon an issue, and to make well reasoned judgments. Other writing assignments are left to the discretion of the teacher.
A student who double-majors may be required to write two reflective-paper assignments. This will happen if the reflective papers assigned in the Senior Seminars of both majors are also a requirement of each major. However, to satisfy the Core 10 requirement, a student need only write one reflective paper.
Noting a need for more uniformity in the required reflective paper, the Core Council has adopted the following suggested writing assignment. It strongly recommends that Core 10 faculty use this assignment, but realizes that specific course considerations may not allow the use of this assignment in certain situations.
Writing portfolios will be returned to all students enrolled in Core 10 courses as a help for students reflecting back on the totality of their liberal arts education. The Core Council also asks that all reflective papers be submitted to its office where they may be used in the future as part of a comprehensive assessment of the College core curriculum.
This paper should be based on thoughtful, evaluative reflection of your experience at Millsaps College. Focus your attention on the specific texts you have read, courses you have taken, the academic challenges you have confronted, the social experiences that left a deep impression on you, the professors who taught you and perhaps influenced you in some way, the adventures you have undertaken. What were your hopes and expectations before you came to Millsaps? Have these hopes and expectations been realized, changed? If so, how? In what way? Has your work in the (Physics, English, etc.) major complemented your Millsaps Core coursework and has it aided you in achieving your hopes and expectations on a more personal level? Do you believe that you have obtained a good liberal arts education at Millsaps College with its emphasis on specific liberal arts abilities? How? Why? Do you feel prepared to move on to the next phase of your life? You may find it helpful to consider readings about the value of the liberal arts introduced to you in Core 1 or other Core courses.
Your paper will be evaluated in the depth and specificity of your analysis as well as on the clarity, creativity and organization of your prose. Length: Five pages or more. Please hand in three copies.
The Frank and Rachel Anne Laney Award will be given each spring for the best Reflective Paper written to satisfy the Core 10 requirement during the academic year. The Award is intended to encourage students to reflect on the value of their education in the liberal arts.
The Laney Award will be presented at Commencement and will carry a substantial cash prize. Submitted papers will be reviewed by a faculty panel to determine the best paper. The best paper along with other selected papers from those submitted will be published annually. These papers will be given to every incoming freshman the following fall, and the best paper (and perhaps other selections) will be required reading.
Deadline: Any student may submit his or her Core 10 reflective paper to the Core office in order to be considered for this award. A late-April date will be set each year.
Length: The usual expectation is that Core 10 papers will be from 4-5 pages. For the purposes of this award, papers may not exceed 8 typed, double-spaced pages.
Judging: Papers will be reviewed anonymously by a committee of four faculty members, including the Writing Director (who will chair the committee) and one faculty member from each division of the College (appointed by the Dean of the College).
Disposition of Papers: In addition to the winning paper, the top ten or twelve papers will be printed and collected each year for the next freshman class to read. The papers will also be published on the College Web site so that everyone has access to them.
Criteria: In judging papers, the committee will consider the quality of thought and expression, as well as the writer's ability to relate the Core experience to the major and to the wider context of the liberal arts.
Format: All papers must be neatly typed (word-processed) on standard white paper with a cover sheet including the student's name and the title of the paper. The student's name should appear nowhere else in the manuscript. In the Core office the cover sheet will be detached and a number will be assigned to each for the purposes of anonymity.
Our Core 1 IDST 1000/1050: Introduction to Thinking and Writing course offerings and their designated audiences are the following:
If you believe that the final assessment of your writing portfolio is inaccurate, then you may appeal the decision of the assessors by consulting the Director of the Writing Program. Your case will then be considered by the Writing Council, in consultation with the Dean of the College.
By the end the spring semester of their second year, each student must submit the following documents to their online writing portfolio space.
This video will walk you through putting your portfolio up on Chalk & Wire:
NOTE: Failure to complete this requirement on time will result in registration delays in subsequent semesters and may prohibit you from taking your comprehensive examinations.
a. Required Portfolio Documents:
i. A brief (2-4 pages) reflective introduction to the portfolio. Written outside the context of a specific course, this document serves as the student’s thesis about their writing development at Millsaps. Subsequent items provide the evidence referenced in this reflective introduction.
ii. Four (4) papers from classes taken at Millsaps College, taken from at least two (2) of the three divisions below.
1. Arts & Humanities
These papers will normally be sourced from courses taken to fulfill elements of the Core Curriculum. Of these 4 papers, at least two (2) must demonstrate use of multiple secondary research and proper application of a clearly identified/identifiable documentation system. The total number of pages expected for this section of the portfolio is 25-30 (assuming an average page length of 250 words); while we will accept page counts slightly under or over the expected norm, excessive deviation may affect the assessor’s ability to evaluate the work, and the student may be asked to submit more appropriate alternatives.
iii. One (1) “wild card” document reflecting an element of the student’s communication development. This document can be written, oral (recording/video), or visual in nature; the only requirement is that it be able to be shared in digital form. While the length of the wild card item is not prescribed, we encourage students to remember that readers will be assessing a large number of portfolios.
Special note for Transfer students: The categories for essay submission may vary according to the student’s academic record prior to attending Millsaps College. Students transferring in at the junior or senior level are allowed to substitute one (1) paper written for a course at a previous college or university as one of their four essays. Transfer students with questions about the portfolio should speak with the Director of Writing & Teaching to ascertain what papers to submit.
For more information, visit the Writing Program office in John Stone Hall.
To graduate from Millsaps College, all students must complete the Writing Proficiency Requirement. In other words, before you can receive your diploma, the Writing Proficiency Requirement must be completed.
The Writing Proficiency Requirement consists of two parts:
All students must submit papers 5 and 6 with completed cover sheets to the Writing Program Office in John Stone Hall.
NOTE: When you have submitted the required 6 papers, Part 1 of your Writing Proficiency Requirement (completion of your Writing Portfolio), is satisfied. However, to fulfill Part 2 of the Writing Proficiency Requirement, your portfolio must also be assessed as proficient.
During your first semester at Millsaps, you will attend the required Core 1 course - either IDST 1000 (for first-year students), or IDST 1050 (for non-traditional and transfer students). In Core 1, you will write at least 3 papers. Your Core 1 professor will ask you to submit clean copies of these 3 papers at the end of the semester. Your Core 1 professor will then assess (See Core 1 Evaluation Form) your writing on a scale ranging from "Well below" to "Well above Proficient" and submit your folder (provided by the Writing Program), containing the 3 papers and completed evaluation form, to the Writing Program Office in John Stone Hall. Note: A copy of the assessment is also sent to your advisor, whom you may ask for insight into your initial writing proficiency status.
If your Core 1 professor has serious concerns about your writing proficiency status at this point, you may either be recommended or required to take an additional writing course, WritProg 1000: Reading, Writing, and Rhetoric (See "Further Guidelines and Procedures"). Note: If you have not been recommended or required to take WritProg 1000 but want to continue working on your writing, you can choose to take WritProg 1000. In addition, at any point in your writing process - while taking any course or writing for any purpose, including personal statements for graduate school - , individual tutoring sessions are available in the Writing Center.
Students required to take Core 3 or Heritage: During your second semester at Millsaps, you will enroll in either a Core 3 Topics course or the second semester of Heritage. In each course, your professor will designate a paper as the one to be assessed for the portfolio. Your professor will then assess (See Core3/Heritage evaluation form) this paper, consulting your Core 1 assessment in order to see if your writing continues to improve. Both this paper and its assessment will then be added to your portfolio on file in the Writing Program Office.
Students NOT required to take Core 3 or Heritage: Students from IDST 1000 (for first-year students) or IDST 1050 (for transfer students) who have completed their Core requirements elsewhere must submit 3 papers written at Millsaps to their Writing Portfolios, in consultation with the Director of the Writing Program. The 3 papers may come from any courses taken at Millsaps, including a Core 6-9 or any appropriate course from the Science Division or the Else School of Management. These 3 papers, in addition to the 3 submitted from IDST 1000 or IDST 1050, will complete your portfolio. However, to fulfill the Writing Proficiency Requirement, your portfolio must also be assessed Proficient.
You will need to submit two papers. At least one of those papers must come from a course in Core 6-9 or any appropriate course from the Science Division or the Else School of Management. The other paper may come from any course taken at Millsaps College. These 2 papers, in addition to the 3 from Core 1 and Core 3 or Heritage, will complete your portfolio. However, to fulfill the Writing Proficiency Requirement, your portfolio must also be assessed Proficient.
NOTE: The responsibility for submitting the required papers to your portfolio is yours. If your portfolio has not been completed by your 5th semester, your pre-registration or registration may be blocked. In addition, if your Writing Proficiency Requirement has not been met by your senior year, you may not be permitted to take Senior Seminar, and ultimately, you may not be allowed to graduate.
Once your writing portfolio is complete (contains the 6 required papers), it will be assessed by the Writing Program Director.
NOTE: If your Writing Proficiency Requirement has not been met by your senior year, you may not be permitted to take Senior Seminar, and ultimately, you may not be allowed to graduate.