Writing 101 and Civic Engagement

The Thompson Writing Program is committed to using writing as a way to forge partnerships with the Durham community. From the Duke-Durham Writes Studio, a literacy-based collaboration with Durham K-12 schools, to the Duke-Ronald McDonald House of Durham Family Story Project, a narrative medicine project for pre-health sophomores, TWP faculty support the many ways in which Duke prioritizes engaged scholarship.

Each semester, select Writing 101 courses also provide Duke undergraduates with the opportunity to engage meaningfully with community partners. These partnerships, centered on writing, dovetail the intellectual and thematic inquiry of a particular Writing 101 section, enabling you to actively strengthen your writing through civic engagement.

Some Writing 101 courses include an official designation for Service Learning, while others integrate civic engagement through other means (see current course offerings for specifics).

Examples of Past Writing 101 Projects Featuring Civic Engagement

Gathered oral histories and journal reflections from local nonprofit activists
"Grassroots Activism," Instructor: Dr. Amanda Pullum, Spring 2015

Students in this class partnered with three community organizations: SEEDS, DURO, and Urban Ministries. The SEEDS and DURO teams gathered oral histories from leaders and volunteers in those groups. The Urban Ministries team worked with participants in a new program, helping them journal and reflect on their accomplishments within the program.

Volunteered with Durham community support organizations
"Aid, Charity, and the Politics of Giving," Instructor: Dr. Saiba Varma, Spring 2014

Students in this course examined different ways that people help others, including through acts of religious charity, philanthropy, and the professional work of humanitarianism. Students spent twenty hours during the semester volunteering with The Durham Rescue Mission, Urban Ministries of Durham, Housing for New Hope, Genesis Home, or Society for St. Andrews. Students kept a journal of these field visits and volunteer experiences, which were the bases for their final papers.

Created a documentary about ESL education
"Multilingualism in the US," Instructor: Dr. Nicolas Eilbaum, Spring 2014

Is the US becoming a multilingual society? Undergraduates worked with students speaking English as a Second Language (ESL) in a Durham high school. Together, they created a documentary about the high school students' experiences with ESL education in US public schools.

Curated an exhibit for the Museum of Durham History Hub
"Community History Writing," Instructor: Dr. Joshua Davis, Spring 2014 and Fall 2013

This class focused on the idea that citizens, by writing publicly about their local past, play a vital and essential role in shaping discussions about their community's understanding of itself.

Tutored ESL students in Durham Public Schools
"For Spanish Press 2" (Fall 2013) and "Language Diversity in the United States (Fall 2014), Instructor: Dr. Nicolas Eilbaum

Do immigrants change the language patterns of the US? Or does the US change the language patterns of immigrants? Student worked as tutors with ESL students at three Durham schools.