Spring 2025

Introduction to Academic Writing: Writing the College Experience

Listed in: , as EDST-121  |  English, as ENGL-121


Kristina H. Reardon (Section 01)


(Offered as EDST 121 and ENGL 121) This course functions as an introduction to academic writing at Amherst College. As an intensive writing course, the main topic of the course is writing itself. In this class, students will research belonging, equity, and access in college contexts. They will learn to critique power structures
that have created boundaries around higher education, and we will consider how students’
intersectional identities (i.e.: how class, race, gender, and disability, among others) impact the
way they navigate college. As we do so, we will partner with Amherst-Pelham Regional Public
Schools throughout the semester to build community across educational contexts and to partner
in designing and implementing a campus access day late in the semester for local students.

Readings will explore the ways that learning is shaped by cultural and rhetorical contexts and
will include a range of news and academic articles, as well as digital forms (such as podcasts,
videos, and web texts). Students can expect to learn about: developing and strengthening ideas;
paragraphing; building and sustaining arguments; using and citing evidence; and offering and
responding to feedback. Students will explore pre-writing, drafting, and revision practices. They
will have the opportunity to write low-stakes, informal assignments like journals as well as three
formal papers. Students should expect a mixture of class discussion, writing exercises, and peer
review during class time. They should also expect to attend writing consultations with the
professor outside of class. Ultimately, students will come together as a community of writers
who support one another as they develop their own academic writing voices.

Preference given to first-year Amherst College students recommended for Intensive Writing. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Lecturer Reardon.

How to handle overenrollment: This is designed as an introduction to the major. Students interested in the course will be placed on a waiting list. Enrollment will be based on students’ assessment of their own needs in consultation with the professor and the waiting list.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: frequent written work; group work in peer review.

Course Materials


Other years: Offered in Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025