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WRTG 3030 Writing on Science and Society


Diane DeBella

Instructor Bio

I have over twenty years of experience teaching writing and Women’s Studies at the college level, most recently at the University of Colorado, where I have received the CU Women Who Make a Difference Award and the CU-LEAD Alliance Faculty Appreciation Award. I also have a proven track record as a successful grant writer and administrator in the nonprofit sector. In addition to serving as grant administrator for Community Reach Center for over eight years, I have written grants on a contract basis for Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., Douglas/Elbert Task Force, and JVA Consulting. In addition to grant writing, I have extensive experience with other genres of professional writing; I have written white papers for Coleman Associates in Boulder, a needs assessment of the Denver Public School District (DPS) in Denver County, and an Instructor Manual to accompany A Sequence For Academic Writing, 5th edition, for Pearson Higher Education.

Course Overview and Objectives

The course framework for WRTG 3030 stresses the role of genre in scientific and engineering communication.
In your work you will frequently be expected to communicate your ideas on science and technology to others–to people both within and outside of your specific field. This course will help you improve your critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills so that you may communicate your ideas effectively. You will not only gain familiarity with professional documents within your field of study, but you will also learn to apply your disciplinary expertise to broader social and ethical issues. For example, because the rate of technological change is so fast, it drives social and cultural change more than any other factor. Emerging technologies also often raise controversial moral issues regarding such things as privacy (information technologies), mixing species (genetically modified organisms), and creating novel forms of life (synthetic biology). As you analyze issues within your own field of study using this interplay of contexts, you’ll learn to exercise your abilities and responsibilities as individuals within the profession and as citizens within your community.

This class will be conducted as an intensive workshop: you will not only present drafts of your work to classmates, you’ll read and critique drafts of others. We will focus on strategies of analysis and argument, and upon shaping your ideas so that your writing becomes both clear and persuasive.

Course Grade

Learning Activities Percentage
Resume/Cover Letter (6 pages incl. drafts) 20%
Voice Thread Responses (10 pages) 5%
Critical Reading Responses (10 pages) 10%
White Paper (20 – 30 pages incl. drafts) 25%
Oral Presentation (comparable to 10 pages) 20%
Peer Critique 10%
Class Participation 10%

Required Text

Schimel, Joshua. Writing Science: How to write papers that get cited and proposals that get funded. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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Monday – Friday
7:30am to 4:30pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado