Public communication, journalism, and community-engaged learning

Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing

In Calderwood Seminars, students integrate what they have learned in other courses and communicate this knowledge to a broad audience. Drawing on expertise acquired within their major or other area of study, students practice writing about it for non-specialists in a variety of modes and styles. They work collaboratively in an intensive writing and peer-editing process. Classes are small and are ordinarily limited to juniors and seniors. Some seminars may fulfill major requirements.

The Calderwood Seminars are named after Stanford Calderwood, a patron of the arts and benefactor of higher education. Throughout his career, Calderwood realized the value of written communication. Wesleyan’s program was initially funded by a generous seed grant from the Calderwood Charitable Foundation.

Recent and upcoming offerings include BIOL365: 21st-Century Biology; E&ES399: Environmental Science Journalism; ECON327: The Global Firm; ENGL388: The Literature of the American 1960s; MUSC249: Music Journalism and Public Musicology; NS&B360: Neuroplasticity and the Brain; PHIL275: Writing for Social Justice; PHYS105: Engaging Sustainability; SISP213: Writing Science, Writing Science Studies; and THEA350: Arts Journalism.


The Koeppel Fellowship in Journalism brings outstanding journalists to campus to teach for a semester and participate in special events. Their courses are sponsored by the Writing Certificate and the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, which publishes a list of past and current fellows and their courses.

Community-engaged Learning

Many community-engaged learning courses involve public writing projects. In BIO161: Science Materials for a Malagasi Classroom, which will be offered in Spring 2022, students will design and produce a variety of materials for a fifth-grade science classroom in Madagascar. These items include a science logo, bookmarks, educational science games, posters, and a comic book with conservation themes for children. In Fall 2021, students in COL295: Rome after Rome: Culture and Empire of Constantinople will design a unit for a high school history course and publish their research on a public, collaborative place-based interactive encyclopedia. In AFAM307: Black Middletown Lives, students will build a website and an exhibit. Past courses with public writing components include the many offerings of SOC316: Community Research, in which students completed studies and reports for local community groups and non-profits.

The Community-Engaged Learning Office within the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life coordinates these courses and maintains a list of recent and upcoming offerings.