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John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines
101 McGraw Hall • Cornell University • Ithaca, NY 14853 • 607-255-2280

Writing in the Majors

Based on the premise that language and learning are vitally connected in every field, the Writing in the Majors program extends the Institute’s discipline-based approach to advanced courses in all spheres of the curriculum. An essential ingredient of the program’s success has been the Institute’s support of additional teaching assistants, drawn from the professor’s own discipline, to help implement these projects. Some of these teaching assistants collaborate with faculty to improve entire courses; others lead optional, writing-intensive sections of larger courses. Teaching assistants assigned to Writing in the Majors projects enroll in Writing 7101, The Writing in the Majors Seminar: a six-week course on teaching strategies in advanced instruction.

Following its creation in 1987 by former Knight Program Director, Professor of English Harry Shaw, Writing in the Majors functioned in its first decade as an effective pilot program that served 400-500 upper-division students per year. Initially funded by a university grant and then by the College of Arts and Sciences, Writing in the Majors gradually expanded through additional funding from the Division of Biological Sciences and the Park Foundation, which supported new projects in the social sciences.

Since 1997, funding from the Knight Foundation and commitments from the university have allowed Writing in the Majors to maintain more than 40 projects each year, with combined enrollments of roughly 1,400 students.

For inquiries and further information, contact Elliot Shapiro, Senior Lecturer and Director of Writing in the Majors at ehs9@cornell.edu.