Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing

 

Students seated around an oval table with composition books open.


Learn How To Write For Life

 

 

Calderwood Seminars are small-group, interdisciplinary courses that enable students to learn how to communicate academic knowledge to broader audiences and become familiar with different genres of public writing, including op-eds, features, profiles, and blog posts. These advanced-level, writing-intensive courses engage students in a review of areas of special interest and emphasize public writing—the ability to translate complex arguments and professional jargon to a broad audience—which is a central feature of a liberal arts education. Students learn to translate complex, specialized knowledge learned in the classroom to other settings. They also discover the power and applicability of what they’re learning at the UO to the world beyond our campus. Students will gain skills that will be essential in their future careers and internships to communicate with broad non-academic audiences.

Developed in 1984 by David Lindauer, a professor of economics at Wellesley College, the Calderwood Seminars are adaptable across all disciplines. "Today," he said, "I recognize the independent importance of public writing as a skill that students should have as they leave our campuses.” In a time where we hear the expression “fake news” on a regular basis, he emphasized, “we should be empowering our graduates to contribute to public discourse in a meaningful and responsible way.”

This program enhances CHC's curriculum’s engagement with the public dimension of scholarship, which is a key objective for liberal arts education. The Calderwood Seminars are structured with a deadline-driven format, with students writing frequently and rewriting their work in response to written and workshop comments by their classmates and professor. Having learned how to write for college, you will learn how to write for life.

 

Yellow and Grey Icon of The University of Oregon Duck "I’ve noticed improvement in my ability to read my own writing, as well as the writing of others, with a critical eye. I notice this not just in the samples of my writing from this class, but I also find myself reading materials for other classes with the same critical and discerning eye for detail that I use to edit my peer’s papers in this Calderwood Seminar. Every paper I read, I am watching out for elements of organization and clarity."  — Hermya Brock, ’22

 

Grey and White Icon of The University of Oregon Duck "The Calderwood Seminar was a ten-week exercise in de-centering: de-centering myself from the writing and editing process, de-centering my point of view from social justice narratives, and de-centering my stubborn approach to writing that often produced unimaginative work." — Aaron Lewis, ’22

 

Yellow and Grey Icon of The University of Oregon Duck "In both my own writing and the writing of my other peers, I personally observed how after each round of writing and editing a draft was drastically improved. In my typical writing for other classes, I almost never edit a paper beyond the first draft. This class taught me that multiple drafts are not only important, but are absolutely necessary for well developed writing." — Ethan Scott, ’23

 

Grey and White Icon of The University of Oregon Duck "While before feedback on a paper seemed like the  ultimate torture, now I look forward to receiving feedback, leaving me feeling secure that the work I submitted for the final draft was work I could be proud of. I credit this newfound love to the fact that as I became a better editor and built relationships with my fellow peer reviewers, I found that both myself and my fellow editors simply wanted to help one another improve." — Maya Ward, ’23

 

Spring 2022

Carol Paty:  
Chasing Planets

This course aims to develop an appreciation and deep understanding of the complex questions driving future missions and observation campaigns, and the physics behind the enabling technology through reading primary literature and watching seminars by the leaders in the field.

In this seminar, students will read ground-breaking scholarship on the 1860s—a decade that is no less relevant now than ever—as well as contemporary popular depictions of the 1860s in current literature and film.  Students will apply the critical thinking and writing skills acquired in the Clark Honors College and create over the term a portfolio of public writing about the decade.

 

 

Winter 2022

Dare Baldwin:   
Public Science

Students in the Public Science seminar will gain a window on forces driving the open science movement and explore its implications for human well-being. Writing assignments will engage open science issues within a variety of genres.

Michael Moffitt:  
The Justice System Today

No single lens provides a dispositive perspective on the judiciary.  From the hard sciences (“how should complex and technical disputes be adjudicated, given a lay jury?”) to the social sciences (“what allocation of costs create the litigation incentives that best serve society?”) to the humanities (“what ethical foundations constrain or compel those involved in a system of justice?”).   This seminar aims to help students find and refine their public voices on the most important contemporary issues of law and policy.

 

 

Fall 2021

Caro​​​​​​l Stabile:  
Writing for Social Justice

This course will give you skills to write about social change—about issues you think should be urgently addressed; about the inequalities and injustices you want to remedy; about your role in advancing and enhancing democracy. 

 

 

Spring 2021

Carol Paty:  
Chasing Planets

This course aims to develop an appreciation and deep understanding of the complex questions driving future missions and observation campaigns, and the physics behind the enabling technology through reading primary literature and watching seminars by the leaders in the field.

This course will help students develop the habits of mind and expression necessary for democratic deliberation:  citizens translating expert reasoning and research into argument intended to persuade the public to endorse humane values and effective policy.  It will equip students with the tools they need to better bridge Oregon’s economic, political, cultural, and rhetorical divides. 

 

 

Winter 2021

Dare Baldwin:   
Public Science

Students in the Public Science seminar will gain a window on forces driving the open science movement and explore its implications for human well-being. Writing assignments will engage open science issues within a variety of genres.

​​​Carol Stabile:  
Writing for Social Justice

This course will give you skills to write about social change—about issues you think should be urgently addressed; about the inequalities and injustices you want to remedy; about your role in advancing and enhancing democracy. 

Michael Moffitt:  
The Justice System Today

No single lens provides a dispositive perspective on the judiciary.  From the hard sciences (“how should complex and technical disputes be adjudicated, given a lay jury?”) to the social sciences (“what allocation of costs create the litigation incentives that best serve society?”) to the humanities (“what ethical foundations constrain or compel those involved in a system of justice?”).   This seminar aims to help students find and refine their public voices on the most important contemporary issues of law and policy.

 

 

Fall 2020


Nicole Dudukovic:  
Neuroscience Journalism

 In this course, we will grapple with the question of how to clearly and faithfully communicate about the intricacies of neuroscience in a way that is accessible to the public.  For science majors, the challenge will likely be in eliminating technical jargon and overly complex prose; for non-science majors, the challenge might be in comprehending the original source material at a level at which you can express some of the nuances of the research.  You should leave the course with a new perspective on neuroscience research and a heightened sense of self-efficacy as a writer.

Disability Studies challenges our naturalized understandings of bodies, ability, disability and illness and explores how those beliefs affect all our lives, whether we are disabled or not. In this class we will examine texts (essays, books, films) that challenge stereotypes about different types of disabilities.  This course will be useful for students who want to learn to write effectively and persuasively about controversial issues for a public audience and who want to use these skills to foster social change.

 

 

Spring 2020

Carol Paty:  
Chasing Planets

This course aims to develop an appreciation and deep understanding of the complex questions driving future missions and observation campaigns, and the physics behind the enabling technology through reading primary literature and watching seminars by the leaders in the field.


Nicole Dudukovic:  
Neuroscience Journalism

 In this course, we will grapple with the question of how to clearly and faithfully communicate about the intricacies of neuroscience in a way that is accessible to the public.  For science majors, the challenge will likely be in eliminating technical jargon and overly complex prose; for non-science majors, the challenge might be in comprehending the original source material at a level at which you can express some of the nuances of the research.  You should leave the course with a new perspective on neuroscience research and a heightened sense of self-efficacy as a writer.

Disability Studies challenges our naturalized understandings of bodies, ability, disability and illness and explores how those beliefs affect all our lives, whether we are disabled or not. In this class we will examine texts (essays, books, films) that challenge stereotypes about different types of disabilities.  This course will be useful for students who want to learn to write effectively and persuasively about controversial issues for a public audience and who want to use these skills to foster social change.

 

 

Winter 2020

Dare Baldwin:   
Public Science

Students in the Public Science seminar will gain a window on forces driving the open science movement and explore its implications for human well-being. Writing assignments will engage open science issues within a variety of genres.

Carol Stabile:  
Writing for Social Justice

This course will give you skills to write about social change—about issues you think should be urgently addressed; about the inequalities and injustices you want to remedy; about your role in advancing and enhancing democracy. 

Michael Moffitt:  
The Justice System Today

No single lens provides a dispositive perspective on the judiciary.  From the hard sciences (“how should complex and technical disputes be adjudicated, given a lay jury?”) to the social sciences (“what allocation of costs create the litigation incentives that best serve society?”) to the humanities (“what ethical foundations constrain or compel those involved in a system of justice?”).   This seminar aims to help students find and refine their public voices on the most important contemporary issues of law and policy.

In this seminar, students will read ground-breaking scholarship on the 1860s—a decade that is no less relevant now than ever—as well as contemporary popular depictions of the 1860s in current literature and film.  Students will apply the critical thinking and writing skills acquired in the Clark Honors College and create over the term a portfolio of public writing about the decade.