Writing Seminar (noun)
ray'ting sem'i nar; rhymes with "fighting tar"
Definition: A course, mainly oriented toward freshman, whose aim is to improve the writing abilities of Cornellians in all of its undergraduate schools. These courses span a wide variety of subject areas, mainly centered in the school of Arts & Sciences.
Attested: I first came across this term when viewing the Cornell website in the summer of 1999.
Example: This entry for the Dictionary of Local Usage is a biweekly assignment for my writing seminar in linguistics.
Etymology: In about every college and university, there is some sort of writing requirement for all undergraduate students. Cornell's "writing seminars" are amongst the most intensive and comprehensive in the country. The formation of the freshman "writing seminars" of today occurred in 1966, with the development of the John S. Knight Writing Program. This program was used to improve the quality of the freshman writing courses required of Cornellians. The main addition was by expanding the breadth of courses that could be taken. Before this time, these courses were only offered in conjunction with the English department, but after the establishment of this program, courses were added in a wide range of other humanities. Taught by both professors and graduate students, it is a useful tool to develop their teaching abilities, and the writing abilities of undergraduates. Today, the variety of these courses ranges from Writing About Film to Issues in African American Music to Japanese Culture: Translation in Cultural Identities, usually allowing a student to take a seminar which he or she would be interested in.
- Michael Senra