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Muir College Writing Program



Staff Contact: Helen Mout,, (858) 534-2522

The Muir College Writing Program consists of a two-quarter sequence required of all Muir students. Muir TAs work under the guidance of program administrators but are the sole instructors in the classroom. This arrangement gives TAs a good deal of responsibility but also some autonomy. Experienced instructors may be given the opportunity to design their own course topics based on their research interests within the program framework.

Our goal at Muir is to help students become critical thinkers in writing—to enable them to recognize and produce informed arguments that are logically sound. In MCWP 40 and 50, we emphasize the analysis and construction of arguments written from the perspective of the sciences, the social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities, broadly defined. We also focus on the relationship between what an author claims and how he or she chooses to support that claim.

In MCWP 40, TAs teach from a reader and an assigned non-fiction book. In MCWP 50, experienced Muir TAs have the opportunity to design a “discipline-specific” topic for student writing and research organized around current issues in the sciences, social and behavioral sciences, or the humanities.

TAs in our program teach six sections per year. Each MCWP 40 or 50 section meets for one hour and twenty minutes twice a week. Additional responsibilities include implementing a course syllabus, commenting on multiple drafts of student papers, assigning grades, participating in quarterly grading meetings during finals week, holding office hours, and attending mandatory weekly seminar meetings. Prior to the beginning of fall classes, TAs are required to attend a two-day training session focusing on pedagogy, program expectations, and course planning.

At Muir, we work to establish a supportive environment for the teaching of writing and revision. The program also offers opportunities for professional collaboration, including course development and pedagogical growth. We encourage applicants from a variety of departments, including the humanities, social sciences, and sciences departments.

rev. 3/25/20