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Writing Courses

WRTG120: Processes of Inquiry

The first-year writing seminar will emphasize the significance of inquiry. Students will experience writing as an intellectual, creative and meaning-making act.  Practicing writing as inquiry will enable students to learn the skills, strategies, and conceptual frameworks that will transfer to every new learning context and situation. The course serves as a writing-based first year seminar in which students integrate their learning across all of their courses.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): None

WRTG200: Critical and Creative Forms

Critical and Creative Forms is an intermediate-level writing course that focuses on writing as a creative and critical form. Students will explore the formal qualities of a variety of “texts,” including visual and online texts, and expand their experience of writing analytically and creatively. It is an intensification of the processes introduced in WRTG120 with further emphasis on visual as well as verbal rhetoric and critical thinking.

In WRTG200, students will develop their ability to read and assess communication in various forms and genres, to write analytical and critical essays, to perform increasingly sophisticated research, and to experiment with communicative form themselves. WRTG200 focuses on the theme of “environments,” examining the idea or condition of “environment” through a variety of possible progressive lenses, including ecological, natural, cultural, sacred or built environments.

WRTG200 emphasizes writing-in-process and students are challenged to take progressively more individual responsibility for all phases of the process, from journaling to the composing of final manuscripts. Students will be expected to identify, research and articulate points of view with increasing sophistication and ease in order to engage in critical conversations. Students participate in writing workshops, writing groups, small group discussions and collaborative writing as well as complete individual writing assignments. Throughout, students will be required to demonstrate evolving critical judgment and self- reflection. Self-directed research and working proficiently with primary and secondary sources is also emphasized through assignments highlighting the research process and the creation of an annotated bibliography.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): WRTG120 or WRTG111

WRTG300: The Creative Professional in Context

In The Creative Professional in Context, students explore the process of constructing a professional, public identity through written and verbal communication about their work in Fine Art and/or Design. They refine their skills in writing, speaking, and listening, and use writing as a means to examine the conceptual, critical, philosophical, and historical foundations of their emerging creative work within the broader contexts of their chosen fields and of visual culture broadly conceived.

In this course students learn to use writing as a means of effectively communicating ideas and information about their emerging professional identities. To these ends, students will write, edit and revise often; engage in self-directed research; analyze different rhetorical situations within the professional sphere; and refine their professional selves through both oral and written assignments. Instructors in WRTG300 employ frequent use of writing workshops and writing groups as well as individual writing assignments. Because the course is conducted in seminar fashion, students are expected to assume considerable responsibility for course materials and processes.

WRTG300 emphasizes the composition of polished, substantive written work, including description of studio work and processes, critical analysis of art/design texts, reflective writing, and communication with colleagues and peers. Assignments foster the development of a professional identity by engaging students in critical reading and discussion of key texts in visual culture and their major field, and identifying personal, cultural, and professional influences and connections that impact the student’s work. The course work will culminate in the creation of a substantive document representing a professional self, conceived in relation to these critical contexts.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): WRTG200

WRTG400: Senior Writing Seminar

Senior Writing Seminar is an intensive capstone writing course run as a seminar examining the making of meaning through narrative; specifically, exploring forms of Life Writing. Students will study the various forms of “life writing” including: autobiography, memoir, new journalism and creative nonfiction. Through weekly written explorations, students will explore and practice the different forms that the genre of “life writing” may take. Within the context of a growing public popularity of autobiographical writing and memoirs, students will explore possible social, political and rhetorical purposes for writing from life and will compose a final, capstone life writing project individually as means for practicing this form of writing.

WRTG400 is a capstone writing course that introduces students to emerging hybrid and intermodal forms of personal writing and causes them to analyze the contexts within which it is occurring. Through formal and informal written exercises, students will explore the capacity of language to help shape and give meaning and form to personal experiences, influences, individuals, achievements or landscapes. This writing should provide a reflective springboard for looking backward or for facing the future and determining larger contexts and meanings for experiences. It should also cause students to continue to develop more sophisticated skills as writers.

The nature and form of the writing that students produce will be various –individual writers will complete intensely reflective responses to readings and to one another’s writing. In an effort to identify past memories and influences, material choices and intentions, important events and people, composing short and long pieces about those issues and individuals.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): WRTG300 & Senior standing


Battle of the Bands: Product Design class showdown

French Renaissance alt rock met space cowboy country from the future in one Product Design class at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). Students in Storytelling: Compelling Narrative of the Design Process were tasked with creating a band, complete with newly designed instruments, stage plots and lighting, costumes and even a feature on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Ordinary people doing extraordinary work: Growing Resistance

In the 50th anniversary year at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), the college presents “Growing Resistance: Untold Stories of Milwaukee’s Community Guardians,” an exhibition in the Brooks Stevens Gallery running January 8 – March 2, 2024. Related programs include zine making, a book club, student-guided tours and a story circle with community partners.

Metalwork and molds: MIAD alum on Kohler Residency

Eye-opening and awe-inspiring: this is how Nirmal Raja ’08 (Painting) describes learning to work with liquid metal. The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) alum recently completed the John Michael Kohler Arts Center Arts/Industry Residency in Kohler, Wisconsin.

MIAD Values Recognition Award: Dale Shidler

Dale Shidler, Professor of Communication Design, received the January 2024 MIAD Values Recognition Award at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). Dale’s nominations highlighted his embodiment of MIAD’s Core Values, especially Integrity, Kindness and Community.

MIAD students, alumni, faculty create work for ThriveOn King

Four Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) community members will contribute to the first floor of the new ThriveOn King community hub on North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. They make up part of the 20 Milwaukee artists who will convey the history and heritage of Bronzeville in this collaborative space.