I feel as if this course filled a gap in my skill set and education that I didn’t quite realize I had: how to
articulate exactly why my thoughts and ideas are important.


Students tell us that taking a Calderwood Seminar helped them:

Become Better Writers and Editors

Calderwood students tell us their writing improves because they get to practice each week. But the changes are the result of more than just practice. Their writing improves from their work as editors, the opportunity to submit multiple drafts, and the need to address a public audience
I think every assignment I’ve completed for this course is a more interesting piece of writing than what I’ve produced for any other class.
Editing the work of others is an outstanding crash course in editing your own work.
Calderwood students tell us that having an entire class read their work can be intimidating at first. But over time, they say, they benefit from the peer review process, learning from the edits they give and receive. They appreciate the diversity of views their fellow students express with each assignment, and they come to appreciate writing as both a solitary activity and one that benefits from collaboration.
In other courses it is common for a student’s first draft to be their final one. In Calderwood Seminars, students receive detailed feedback from their classmates and the professor and have the opportunity to revise their work. Students find it liberating that their first draft no longer needs to be “perfect.” They also learn the value of taking time away from a piece and returning to improve it.
Over the course of this semester, I’ve gone from a one-draft writer to a serial reviser.
While academic writing taught me to impress and [even] verge on intimidating the reader, public writing taught me to meet the reader where they are.

Writing assignments most often are intended to be read by an audience of one: the teacher. In Calderwood Seminars, assignments are public-facing. The audience includes the professor as well as classmates, who stand in for a broader readership. Public writing encourages students to write clearly and concisely with the intention of informing, not impressing, the reader.

Gain a Deeper Understanding of Their Discipline or Subject

Whether they have taken a Calderwood Seminar in biology, economics, mathematics, philosophy, or any other field, students tell us that writing for the public improved their understanding of the subject. Faced with writing for a non-specialized audience, students often realize they have to learn material they thought they understood. They expect to improve their writing by taking these seminars, but they are surprised that they also become more informed in their field of study.

Before Calderwood, when I approached scientific articles I was uninspired and unmotivated
to understand why this paper may be important in today’s medicine. Large, confusing scientific papers contained a lot of material that was foreign to me, and it wasn’t until Calderwood that I realized I was able to understand any bit of information I wanted, I just had to trust myself.


Develop Skills with Value Beyond College

Unlike a majority of college courses, Calderwood Seminars are designed to teach students a valuable applied skill that can be utilized for their future career aspirations beyond their time in university.
Students appreciate that Calderwood Seminars provide them with skills they can transfer to a wide range of professions and careers. They learn to write in a clear and engaging way; they understand the need for collaboration, accountability, and teamwork; and they can translate complex ideas and research into accessible language. Calderwood alumni tell us that their employers recognize their skills in these areas and often ask where they acquired them.

Gain Confidence in Their Writing, in Their Ideas, and in Themselves

By writing and editing each week, students gain confidence in their ability to do both. By sharing their work and having their ideas validated by peers, they also gain confidence in their opinions and in themselves. Through weekly peer editing and in-class workshopping, Calderwood Seminars create a strong sense of community. Students form a supportive cohort, one in which criticism is not equated with failure.
My confidence in my writing process and capabilities has soared. More importantly, my confidence in myself has increased significantly. Due to this seminar, I no longer have “imposter syndrome.” I feel like I belong.

“This class has changed how I write. I am confident that having learned to write this way will change all the future writing that I do. It has empowered me to write more poignantly and to take ownership of my voice. It has strengthened my ability to drive home points
that are not only intellectual but also real and personal. It has
taught me to probe literature in ways that are organic and
open to the magic of art.”

– Rice University student

Funding may be available to support a pilot program at your institution.

For more information, contact us at Calderwood@wellesley.edu.