Students looking to use writing and communication to make a social impact now have a pathway open for them at UBC.
The School of Journalism, Writing, and Media has launched a Minor in Writing and Communication, open to undergrad students across faculties at UBC. It’s designed to bring together existing writing and communication courses while offering additional classes — many of which are social-change oriented.
Central to this minor are ethical questions and discussions on how to make writing and communications more inclusive. Themes such as Indigenization, decolonization and reconciliation are at the heart of many of the offered courses.
“A lot of our push is on transforming — not just creating communicators who continue with the status quo — but creating communicators who are ready and able to ask difficult questions and to start experimenting with strategies to reform and transform the way communication works,” says Rebecca Carruthers Den Hoed, the Chair of Writing, Research, and Discourse Studies (WRDS) at UBC.
After students take WRDS 200 to learn foundational concepts and theories of writing and communication, they will have the opportunity to take a number of WRDS courses that examine communication through a social-justice lens, such as
WRDS 390 (Writing Disability) or WRDS 370 (Research Writing and Marginalization).
The minor and the new courses address a number of pressing research-related and social issues, Dr. Carruthers Den Hoed points out. “How do we talk back to traditional research, writing practices? How are communities changing the way things are done? How do we recognize the power imbalances and the way that certain peoples and their experiences have been marginalized or objectified? And how do we then change the way research writing happens?”
Students not only will study these topics in class but will also create an action plan on how to mobilize change in their field beyond UBC. To complete their minor, students take WRDS 400, a course where they create a portfolio and a capstone project. In the portfolio, students will compile all the work they’ve produced throughout the minor. For the capstone, they will create a project that identifies the challenges and opportunities for social impact in their discipline.
“We’re not just asking them to make a plan for their future, we’re asking them to make a plan for how they want to transform writing and communication in their field,” says Dr. Carruthers Den Hoed.
Between WRDS 200 and WRDS 400, students must take two 300 or 400 level WRDS courses and three other 300 or 400 levels from a list of approved courses from other facilities — view the course options here.
To declare a minor in writing and communication, students must be in second year standing. Those who have previously taken WRDS courses can have them count towards the minor.
For more information please click on the link below to the UBC Academic Calendar.