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PWR 1TRF: Beyond the Ivory Tower - The Rhetoric of the University

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Hoover tower

Catalog Number: PWR 1TRF

Units: 4

Grade option: Letter (ABCD/NP)

Prerequisite: None

Course Feature: WR-1 requirement, online, for incoming transfer students only


What does it mean to be a student at an institution of higher learning? Who gets to decide what gets taught and what’s worth knowing? And how do philosophies or goals of education change over time to reflect evolving values or to attend to social, political, technological, or medical challenges? In PWR 1TR, a course designed specifically for incoming Stanford transfer students, we’ll explore definitions of the “university” by examining texts which attempt to define “education.” We’ll ask compelling questions about the production of knowledge while we work toward developing skills and strategies in the areas of writing, research, and rhetoric.

Major Assignments


Rhetorical Analysis

(1500-1800 words; 5-6 pages) In this assignment, you will analyze the rhetorical moves of an assigned text to explore how audience, purpose, and exigence influence an argument and how an author deliberately employs specific appeals to create a persuasive text. 

Texts in Conversation Essay

(1800-2400 words; 6-8 pages) This assignment will set the stage for your research project. After choosing a topic related to the course theme, your will examine and assess the current conversation already taking place about this issue. 

Research-Based Argument

(3600-4500 words; 12-15 pages) For this assignment, you will build on your Texts in Conversation Essay in order to produce a well-supported (research-based), complex and focused argument drawing from a variety of sources.