CURRICULUM: PRECOLLEGE STUDY

Please email precollege@wesleyan.edu if you have any questions.

Focus on Writing

Writing Course: Select One

  • ENGL259 The Art of the Personal Essay / Meg Weisberg

    The personal essay is short-form, first-person, narrative nonfiction that encompasses many genres: memoir, reflection, humor, familial and social history, and cultural criticism. Yet even these boundaries often blur within a single essay, and the personal essay can expand to include almost any topic. Writing personal essays--what author and critic Philip Lopate calls "the self-interrogative genre"--helps us find out what we think, often makes us change our minds, and, ideally, leads us to new insights. In class, we will discuss the assigned readings, participate in group responses to each others' writing (workshops), and write in response to prompts. We will study both traditional and unconventional techniques of nonfiction, focusing on the elements of craft: structure, voice, clarity, the use of descriptive detail, and revision.

  • ENGL370: The Graphic Novel / William Eggers

    Since the ground-breaking publication of Art Spiegelman's Maus in 1993, "graphic novels" have entered the global cultural mainstream. A truly multicultural genre, comics created by men and women around the world now appear in U.S. high school and college curricula, hold the attention of academic critics, and earn big box-office returns in cinematic adaptations. Though dubbed "graphic novels" by publishers to signal their high-culture aspirations and achievement, outstanding examples of the contemporary book-length comic actually appear in many literary genres. In this course we will survey the current field and read works of fiction (such as THE WATCHMEN), autobiography (MAUS, PERSEPOLIS, FUN HOME), journalism (SAFE AREA GORAZDE), and what we might call "comic theory" (UNDERSTANDING COMICS). And just as comics have become a global medium, they are perhaps inherently "postmodern." Many contemporary comics are self-conscious about questions of form and theories of representation, a characteristic that will help us formulate new versions of the questions often considered in literary study. How do words and pictures drawn together in sequential narratives tell stories? What different skills are needed to comprehend this complex play of image, language, and time? What can graphic books do that other books cannot, and what are the constraints that shape this form?

    Do not feel limited by any thematic suggestions I may have for this course.  The richness of this material and the depth to which these tales have embedded themselves in our collective psyche may well inspire responses that surprise you.  Clearly, an important theme in the class will be an exploration about attitudes toward the past.  How does nostalgia inform our responses to these and other tales?  How do we define ourselves in relation to this past – do we seek to embrace it or “other” it?  Do these ideals echo deep-seated psychological needs or are they cultural constructions serving other purposes?

    Looking closely at these works will remind us that that every speech-act teaches values, directly or indirectly.  Literature, because of its rich emotional and intellectual qualities, does a particularly good job of reinforcing or changing readers’ values without seeming to do so.  Even works whose authors had no specific agenda in mind convey values. When reading, keep in mind the idea that the “truth” is an elastic social construct.  Every written document attempts to define or re-define this truth.  By observing how these tales argue for a “truth,” we will learn how they are attempting to change the world by changing the way a reader sees the world.  

    Required Texts:

    McCloud, Scott.  Understanding Comics.
    O’Malley, Brian Lee.  Scott Pilgrim 1.
    Satrapi, Marjane.  Persepolis.
    Nye, Naomi Shabib.  Habibi.
    Moore, Alan.  Watchmen.
    Speigelman, Art.  The Complete Maus.
    Mazzuchelli, David.  Asterios Polyp.
    Sousani, Nick.  Unflattening.
    Cruse, Howard.  Stuck Rubber Baby,
    Bechdel, Alison.  Fun Home.
    Tan, Shaun.  The Arrival.
    Lewis, John. March:  Book 1
    Ma, Gabriel and Fabio Moon.  Day Tripper.
    In addition, I will be giving you a variety of handouts over the term (often on Moodle).

  • FILM458: Visual Storytelling: Screenwriting / Mirko Rucnov
    Since watching movies (good ones) is so easy and pleasurable, screenwriting is a medium that everyone's uncle thinks they can do. But anyone who has had to read an amateur screenplay knows different. This is a writing course that will start from ground zero: separating the screenplay from other forms, e.g., the play and the novel, and grounding students in visual language as the basis of the medium. How do we write in pictures?
  • CIS/WRCT150: Academic Writing in the Sciences: The Sixth Extinction / John Cooley

    Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Sixth Extinction,” like many other popular science works, suggests that we are experiencing a contemporary mass extinction, and that it is caused by humans.  Are we?  Is so, are we responsible?  This writing-intensive course uses primary sources and a Write-to-Learn model to explore the roots of extinction.  Projects involve numerous short writing assignments in the style of evidence-based STEM writing.  The complete topic and assignment schedule is to be found on Moodle.

    This course brings together a variety of sources including popular articles and scientific papers, with the goal of understanding the science behind the writing.  Class periods will generally have two pre-reading assignments on related topics but drawn from different genres or disciplines (e.g., paper from a scientific journal might be paired with a popular magazine article), and each class will have an associated brief writing assignment.  Along the way, we will examine the rhetorical conventions of different academic disciplines and learn key skills such as how to structure writing for maximum effect and how to be an effective peer reviewer. The course schedule is intensive (for me and for you), but since each writing assignment is worth only a few points, you can afford to make mistakes without really affecting your grade.  Plan ahead—you must attend each class, each class will have an assignment, and no extensions will be given for routine matters.  Because everybody involved has other commitments, or because life sometimes intervenes in inconvenient ways, talk to me as soon as conflicts arise.

    Other than “The Sixth Extinction,” the readings you’ll need will be available on Moodle.  You’ll also need access to a recent version of Microsoft Word, and if you have a laptop, bring it to class.  The “Course Bibliography”contains a number of references that can help you improve your writing, though they are not required.

Focus on Liberal Arts

Elective: Select One

  • ARST190: Digital Art / Christopher Chenier

    This experience will introduce students to the digital arts, an area of creative practice encompassing computer-based art from GIFS and graphics to cutting edge digital fabrication tools. While developing the critical and methodological tools to engage problems in our digital culture, students will acquire the practical skills necessary to create and communicate digitally. Sessions will emphasize the ways software is used for project development, prototyping, and experimentation. Most of our time will be spend in Adobe Creative Cloud. The core elements of CC will be covered through workshops in image editing, graphics, layout, and type. Translating digital files into physical objects, students will work with a laser cutter, large format inket printers, and a CNC mill.

  • ENGL259 The Art of the Personal Essay / Meg Weisberg

    The personal essay is short-form, first-person, narrative nonfiction that encompasses many genres: memoir, reflection, humor, familial and social history, and cultural criticism. Yet even these boundaries often blur within a single essay, and the personal essay can expand to include almost any topic. Writing personal essays--what author and critic Philip Lopate calls "the self-interrogative genre"--helps us find out what we think, often makes us change our minds, and, ideally, leads us to new insights. In class, we will discuss the assigned readings, participate in group responses to each others' writing (workshops), and write in response to prompts. We will study both traditional and unconventional techniques of nonfiction, focusing on the elements of craft: structure, voice, clarity, the use of descriptive detail, and revision.

     

  • ENGL370: The Graphic Novel William Eggers

    Since the ground-breaking publication of Art Spiegelman's Maus in 1993, "graphic novels" have entered the global cultural mainstream. A truly multicultural genre, comics created by men and women around the world now appear in U.S. high school and college curricula, hold the attention of academic critics, and earn big box-office returns in cinematic adaptations. Though dubbed "graphic novels" by publishers to signal their high-culture aspirations and achievement, outstanding examples of the contemporary book-length comic actually appear in many literary genres. In this course we will survey the current field and read works of fiction (such as THE WATCHMEN), autobiography (MAUS, PERSEPOLIS, FUN HOME), journalism (SAFE AREA GORAZDE), and what we might call "comic theory" (UNDERSTANDING COMICS). And just as comics have become a global medium, they are perhaps inherently "postmodern." Many contemporary comics are self-conscious about questions of form and theories of representation, a characteristic that will help us formulate new versions of the questions often considered in literary study. How do words and pictures drawn together in sequential narratives tell stories? What different skills are needed to comprehend this complex play of image, language, and time? What can graphic books do that other books cannot, and what are the constraints that shape this form?

    Do not feel limited by any thematic suggestions I may have for this course.  The richness of this material and the depth to which these tales have embedded themselves in our collective psyche may well inspire responses that surprise you.  Clearly, an important theme in the class will be an exploration about attitudes toward the past.  How does nostalgia inform our responses to these and other tales?  How do we define ourselves in relation to this past – do we seek to embrace it or “other” it?  Do these ideals echo deep-seated psychological needs or are they cultural constructions serving other purposes?

    Looking closely at these works will remind us that that every speech-act teaches values, directly or indirectly.  Literature, because of its rich emotional and intellectual qualities, does a particularly good job of reinforcing or changing readers’ values without seeming to do so.  Even works whose authors had no specific agenda in mind convey values. When reading, keep in mind the idea that the “truth” is an elastic social construct.  Every written document attempts to define or re-define this truth.  By observing how these tales argue for a “truth,” we will learn how they are attempting to change the world by changing the way a reader sees the world.  

    Required Texts:

    McCloud, Scott.  Understanding Comics.
    O’Malley, Brian Lee.  Scott Pilgrim 1.
    Satrapi, Marjane.  Persepolis.
    Nye, Naomi Shabib.  Habibi.
    Moore, Alan.  Watchmen.
    Speigelman, Art.  The Complete Maus.
    Mazzuchelli, David.  Asterios Polyp.
    Sousani, Nick.  Unflattening.
    Cruse, Howard.  Stuck Rubber Baby,
    Bechdel, Alison.  Fun Home.
    Tan, Shaun.  The Arrival.
    Lewis, John. March:  Book 1
    Ma, Gabriel and Fabio Moon.  Day Tripper.
    In addition, I will be giving you a variety of handouts over the term (often on Moodle).

  • FILM458: Visual Storytelling: Screenwriting / Mirko Rucnov

    Since watching movies (good ones) is so easy and pleasurable, screenwriting is a medium that everyone's uncle thinks they can do. But anyone who has had to read an amateur screenplay knows different. This is a writing course that will start from ground zero: separating the screenplay from other forms, e.g., the play and the novel, and grounding students in visual language as the basis of the medium. How do we write in pictures?

  • GOVT155: International Politics / Guilio Gallarotti

    This introduction to international politics applies various theories of state behavior to selected historical cases. Topics include the balance of power, change in international systems, the causes of war and peace, and the role of international law, institutions, and morality in the relations among nations.

  • CIS/WRCT150: Academic Writing in the Sciences: The Sixth Extinction / John Cooley

    Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Sixth Extinction,” like many other popular science works, suggests that we are experiencing a contemporary mass extinction, and that it is caused by humans.  Are we?  Is so, are we responsible?  This writing-intensive course uses primary sources and a Write-to-Learn model to explore the roots of extinction.  Projects involve numerous short writing assignments in the style of evidence-based STEM writing.  The complete topic and assignment schedule is to be found on Moodle.

    This course brings together a variety of sources including popular articles and scientific papers, with the goal of understanding the science behind the writing.  Class periods will generally have two pre-reading assignments on related topics but drawn from different genres or disciplines (e.g., paper from a scientific journal might be paired with a popular magazine article), and each class will have an associated brief writing assignment.  Along the way, we will examine the rhetorical conventions of different academic disciplines and learn key skills such as how to structure writing for maximum effect and how to be an effective peer reviewer. The course schedule is intensive (for me and for you), but since each writing assignment is worth only a few points, you can afford to make mistakes without really affecting your grade.  Plan ahead—you must attend each class, each class will have an assignment, and no extensions will be given for routine matters.  Because everybody involved has other commitments, or because life sometimes intervenes in inconvenient ways, talk to me as soon as conflicts arise.

    Other than “The Sixth Extinction,” the readings you’ll need will be available on Moodle.  You’ll also need access to a recent version of Microsoft Word, and if you have a laptop, bring it to class.  The “Course Bibliography”contains a number of references that can help you improve your writing, though they are not required.

  • BIOL155: Tiny Organisms with a Big Effect: The Microbiome / Sarah Kopac
    With the advent of advanced sequencing technology, we are able to characterize the microflora that lives on and inside of multicellular organisms, including humans. It follows that there are still many unknowns with respect to the function and dynamics of relationships between bacterial communities and their hosts. These bacterial communities, colonizing humans and other organisms with millions of microbes, has captured the interest of the public. Popular news outlets have made the disparate claims that the right human microbiome can act as a panacea and the wrong microbiome is such a calamity that it can destroy an individual’s health. This course will look at the true nature of the microbiome, to the extent that current research has revealed. We will discuss both normal and abnormal bacterial community compositions and any related disease states. Similarly, we will cover changes in microbiome composition over time and with respect to host development. In class we will also consider the microbiomes of other organisms and how the presence and composition of the microbiome relates to disease states and/or life history.

Focus on Leadership

Social Justice Leadership

Acclaimed for its proactive stance on issues of juctice, diversity, and social progress, Wesleyan is an ideal place for students with interests in these areas to receive firsthand training. Professional staff from Wesleyan's Office of Residential Life have created a four-part social justice training program that will prepare you to manage interpersonal and social conflict. You will be better prepared for ldeadership roles, increasing you rimpact on your next college campus, and engaging with your community as a world citizen. Students who participate in all sessions will receive a certificate.