New book offers ethics-focused approach for first-year writing courses

By: JP Shortall

October 8, 2018

Oxford University Press has just published a new book, Good Writing: An Argument Rhetoric, by Connie Snyder Mick, academic director of the Center for Social Concerns and co-director of the Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor at the University of Notre Dame. The book is designed for first-year writing courses in colleges and universities, and emphasizes argument that persuades audiences to take informed action based upon facts, claims, evidence, and reasons.

Snyder Mick’s approach is distinguished by how it situates the familiar elements of a college or university-level writing course within a broader ethical context. As she explains in the preface to the book, “‘good writing’ is in fact writing for the common good, ethical writing that persuades others to think and act in ways that advance humanity.”

The book is divided into five parts and 28 chapters that guide writers through the elements of constructing a rhetorically strong and ethically sound argument. Each chapter contains resources that explore elements of the writing process to guide developing writers —readings, approaches to process, even anticipated questions for professors during office hours. The book is designed to work with traditional and community-engaged classrooms.

In her position as the academic director of the Center for Social Concerns and co-director of the Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, Professor Snyder Mick works with faculty to design and implement academic community engagement in courses across the University. She also created and leads the Community Engagement Faculty Institute, a three-day immersion into the theory and practice of community-engaged research, teaching, and learning. 

Snyder Mick’s previous publications include Poverty/Privilege: A Reader for Writers, Oxford University Press (2015). Her other recent work appears in the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning; Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture; Service-Learning: Enhancing Inclusive Education; TESOL Journal; and Foundational Practices in Online Writing Instruction.

Contact: JP Shortall, Center for Social Concerns, 574-631-3209,


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