CRTW 201H: Critical Reading, Thinking, Writing (Fall 2018; 3 hours)

Sections 002, TR, 9:30-10:45, Owens G07

Section 003, TR, 2:00-3:15, Owens G07


Professor's Information


Course Description

This course encourages you to develop the critical-thinking traits of mind by fostering the tools (elements and standards) that you need to excel in your other courses and to be a responsible, clear-thinking citizen. Through studying our critical thinking handbook, applying its principles to a book-length text, thinking in class about a variety of additional readings, participating in various exercises, and writing papers on a variety of subjects, you will become better able to think about your thinking. Much of our time in class will be spent working on interesting, high-quality texts: Edward O. Wilson's The Future of Life and selections from a fine anthology called Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers (see links in the calendar). First and foremost, this section of CRTW is a course in critical reading. Class format will be almost exclusively discussion, with an emphasis on small-group work and presentations. Your oral contributions will account for approximately 80% of what we do in class. If you embrace the process of informal discussion and formal reading/writing assignments, you may find that CRTW 201 transforms your entire way of thinking about your academic work and your personal life. At the very least, the course provides a "toolbox" that you can use in your other university courses.

As an Honors section of CRTW, this course requires more writing--longer papers and more graded assignments than in a regular section. In addition, this course participates in the Global Learning Initiative. The global learning components of this course are the readings by Tompkins, Wilson, and Anzaldúa.

ONCA Statement: "The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards is here to help you find and apply for scholarships, fellowships, and awards for everything from study abroad to graduate school tuition.  Please check out the ONCA website at and fill out a Student Information Form, then email Dr. Bickford at to make an appointment.  The right nationally competitive award is out there for YOU!"


Course Goals

See a complete listing of course goals for the Department of English at


University-Level Competencies (ULCs)

Winthrop’s University-Level Competencies (ULCs) identify learning outcomes that apply across all undergraduate programs and that all Winthrop graduates attain.  These capacities are essential preparation for working productively and living meaningfully in the contemporary and emerging world.   The ULCs were approved by Faculty Conference in October 2010.

Competency 1: Winthrop graduates think critically and solve problems. 

Winthrop University graduates reason logically, evaluate and use evidence, and solve problems.  They seek out and assess relevant information from multiple viewpoints to form well-reasoned conclusions.  Winthrop graduates consider the full context and consequences of their decisions and continually reexamine their own critical thinking process, including the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments. 

Competency 2: Winthrop graduates are personally and socially responsible. 

Winthrop University graduates value integrity, perceive moral dimensions, and achieve excellence.  They take seriously the perspectives of others, practice ethical reasoning, and reflect on experiences.  Winthrop graduates have a sense of responsibility to the broader community and contribute to the greater good. 

Competency 3: Winthrop graduates understand the interconnected nature of the world and the time in which they live. 

Winthrop University graduates comprehend the historical, social, and global contexts of their disciplines and their lives. They also recognize how their chosen area of study is inextricably linked to other fields.  Winthrop graduates collaborate with members of diverse academic, professional, and cultural communities as informed and engaged citizens. 

Competency 4: Winthrop graduates communicate effectively. 

Winthrop University graduates communicate in a manner appropriate to the subject, occasion, and audience. They create texts – including but not limited to written, oral, and visual presentations – that convey content effectively. Mindful of their voice and the impact of their communication, Winthrop graduates successfully express and exchange ideas.


Learning Outcomes

Knowledge: By the end of the semester, students will be able to

Skills: By the end of the semester, students will be able to

Attitudes: By the end of the semester, students will be able to


Required Texts and Supplies 

Note: All of these texts are on reserve at the library. I want you to use the 4th edition of Nosich's book, not the 3rd. You may not use e-books.


Course Requirements (a.k.a. Student Learning Activities)

Departmental guidelines specify that instructors will assign at least 6,000 words of graded writing, one research paper (minimum 1,800 words), and five total papers incorporating borrowed material (two of which should be in-class essay assignments). These requirements are for a non-honors section of CRTW. This honors section requires more graded assignments, and papers 1-4 must be slightly longer. Here are the honors requirements:


Notes on Requirements


Grading Standards




Documentation Policy


Attendance Policy


Late Paper/Assignment Policies




The Office of Victims Assistance Syllabus Statement


Technology Requirement


Other Policies and Expectations


Format for Papers

Note: These format requirements are NOT an excuse for poor work. If you find that they are interfering with your writing process, defer them until the your paper has been written.


Departmental Policies and Procedures

The following is an excerpt from a document prepared by the Department of English. Some of the material below repeats points made earlier in the syllabus.

Departmental statement: "Unless your professor specifies otherwise on her or his syllabus, the following policies and procedures apply for all courses offered by the Department of English (CRTW, ENGL, ENGE, and WRIT)."

Goals: Goals for all courses in the Department of English, including those that meet requirements for NCATE certification, are described at  

Syllabus Change Policy: The version of your instructor's policy posted on her/his website, WebCT site, or site is the official policy statement for your class. This page may change during the semester, so make sure you check it frequently to keep up with changes.

Resources: The Department of English's home page is  

Office Hours: My office hours appear at the top of this syllabus. I will make every effort to be available during these hours or to notify you if I cannot be available. (It is best if you make an appointment in advance.)

Contacting Your Instructor: All instructors in the Department have voice mail in their offices and Winthrop e-mail addresses. Make sure you write down your instructor’s phone number and e-mail address where you will not lose it. You can leave messages for your instructor in the department Office, Bancroft 250.

Instructor Accessibility: You can expect me to be available as a resource from which to draw and to obtain feedback. I am very responsive to email questions as long as I know who the email is from and have all information necessary to provide a complete answer. Please be sure to “sign” your emails as oftentimes email names are confusing at best (e.g., could be Bob Brown or Beth Brown). Please make sure to speak slowly and comprehensibly if leaving a voicemail so that I can decipher the name, message, and return phone number as well.

You should not expect me to be available 24/7. While I do check my email and voicemail regularly (I do not check e-mail on weekends, however), I do not necessarily check them more than once a day or late in the evenings. Therefore, if you procrastinate on an assignment, you may not have the information you need to complete the assignment appropriately. Please plan your time accordingly to maximize the probability that you will receive a response in time for it to be useful.

Student Conduct Code: As noted in the Student Conduct Code: “Responsibility for good conduct rests with students as adult individuals.” The policy on student academic misconduct is outlined in the “Student Conduct Code Academic Misconduct Policy” in the online Student Handbook (

Grades: Grading will be based on the CRTW rubric (

Minimum Grades in Classes: In order to pass this class, you must receive a minimum of D- (60%). However, in order to avoid retaking it, you must have 70%.

Attendance: The official Winthrop attendance policy is found on p. 8 of The Undergraduate Catalog 2009-2010 "Academic Regulations" section ( The policy for attendance at final examinations is also found on page 8.

Final Examinations: Winthrop University policy requires that all classes meet during their scheduled final examination period. This schedule can be found on the Records and Registration website. Winthrop University policy specifies that personal conflicts such as travel plans and work schedules do not warrant a change in examination time. You are responsible for checking the time of your final examination and for making arrangements to be there. (Check the exam schedule before you let your parents buy you an expensive plane ticket.)

Expectations for Classroom Behavior: The classroom environment should provide a safe environment for exploring ideas and challenging assumptions. Students are expected to listen respectfully to the voices of other individuals and to share their own opinions and values in a positive, respectful manner. Students and the instructor are expected to treat each member of the class with respect and civility. Classroom behavior that a reasonable person would view as substantially or repeatedly interfering with the conduct of the class will not be tolerated in this course. Students who engage in disruptive behavior will be subject to sanctions as specified in the Student Conduct Code. Turn off all electronic devices.

Students with Disabilities: Winthrop University is committed to providing access to education.  If you have a condition which may adversely impact your ability to access academics and/or campus life, and you require specific accommodations to complete this course, contact the Office of Accessibility (OA) at 803-323-3290, or, Please inform me as early as possible, once you have your official notice of accommodations from the Office of Accessibility.

OA Staff:

Safe Zones Statement: The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being--regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided that you can agree to disagree. It is the professor’s expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Duplicate Submission of Papers: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of your CRTW instructor and the other instructor involved in advance. This is to conform to the Student Code of Conduct, §V, which states: "Academic misconduct includes but is not limited to . . . presenting the same or substantially the same papers or projects in two or more courses without the explicit permission of the professors involved" (Student Code of Conduct §V:

Writing Center: The Writing Center provides support for all students in all Winthrop classes free of charge. It is located in 242 Bancroft (x-2138). Check its web page ( for current hours.

Reuse of Graded Papers: Your papers may be randomly selected for university and departmental assessment efforts. If yours is selected, all identifying information will be removed before it is used in the assessment process.