Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing

Writing for the “real world.”

As a Wellesley student, before you graduate, you can learn how to integrate what you have learned and to communicate your knowledge to external audiences. The writing-intensive Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing will engage you in a review of your major while you learn to use criticism productively to improve your writing in a variety of styles.

Why Take a Calderwood Seminar?

These capstone courses, targeted at juniors and seniors, draw on the skills you learn in prior courses and empower your “voice” in your major field or area of study. One student noted that, for her “it was almost like falling in love with the major again.” 

Public writing—the ability to translate complex arguments and professional jargon to a broad audience—is different from the academic writing done in most courses and is central to success in life beyond college. As one student said, “I feel like Writing 125 was ‘Writing for College,’ and this class was ‘Writing 125 for Life.’” (Writing 125 refers to Wellesley’s required First Year Writing course.)

The seminars offer a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with fellow students in the writing and peer-editing process. The fast-paced exchanges of drafts between writers and editors and the strict, frequent deadlines simulate the work environment of professional journalists. The discussion, support, and mutual commitment to the clear expression of ideas foster camaraderie and cooperation between classmates. As one student put it, “I didn’t really know anyone when we first started, but after an entire semester of dissecting and applauding each other’s work, I feel as though I don’t trust any group of people more than I do this wonderfully motley crew.”

A limited number of seminars are offered in a variety of disciplines each semester. Recent offerings have included: Biology in the News, Music in Public, Psychology in the Public Interest, Environmental Synthesis and Communication.

The Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing are named after Stanford Calderwood, a patron of the arts and benefactor of Wellesley College. Throughout his career, Calderwood realized the value of written communication. To improve the capabilities of Wellesley students as public writers, the Calderwood Charitable Foundation has provided generous support for this program.