Colby Writing Department


At Colby College, writing is a crucial component of a liberal arts education. Our goal is to help Colby students develop distinguished abilities to communicate thoughtfully and skillfully in public forums, civic debates, and professional pursuits.

Our Mission

Students studyingAt Colby College, writing is a crucial component of a liberal arts education. Accordingly, the mission of the Colby Writing Department is to support a culture of writing that ensures Colby students can write effectively in multiple genres; choose the right style, medium, and evidence for the situation; and participate successfully in professional environments after college. We view writing not as a simple “skill” but rather as a complex practice that requires an understanding of audience, context, purpose, research, and genres to be effective. Writing is both a way of learning and a means of communication.

At Colby, world-class faculty, staff, and peer tutors will help you to develop this rhetorical flexibility, adaptability, and analytical ability. In addition, through your major studies, you will become accomplished in the particular types of writing and research most important to your major.

Writing Across the Curriculum and in the Disciplines

A studentThe Colby Writing Department offers writing courses and supports the development of writing-intensive courses in all departments and programs to give students many opportunities to improve their writing across all four years.

The Writing Department’s development began with the creation of first-year, writing-intensive courses (W1s) guided by common understandings and student learning outcomes. These courses fulfill the first-year writing requirement. Faculty across the curriculum may also develop upper-level, writing-intensive courses in the disciplines (W2 and W3 in the catalogue) or apply for whole-department writing grants.

The content of upper-level, writing-intensive courses will reflect the disciplines in which they are offered, and most will use writing to teach course content. To receive a W designation, courses must give explicit attention to the writing process and product, and be approved by the Writing Committee and the Academic Affairs Committee.

The Writing Department also links writing fellows, peer writing tutors trained by the Farnham Writers’ Center, to writing-intensive classes.