Composition Program FAQ

What is rhetoric?

Rhetoric is the language we use in everyday life to persuade others. Aristotle defined rhetoric as “the available means of persuasion.” Today, the term describes communication for multiple purposes and in many different genres. Rhetoric can be found in advertisements, web pages, social media, politics, workplace writing, and personal relationships.

If I’m having difficulty with a writing assignment, what resources are available at UALR?

There are several resources to choose from, depending on the nature of the assignment:

  • The University Writing Center (UWC) specializes in providing feedback on written assignments.  The UWC has twelve Mac computers if you need a place to write.
  • The Link:  Center for Student Success.  College student support services.
  • The Communication Skill Center provides assistance for a number of aspects of a verbal presentation and development of visual aids.
  • The Ottenheimer Library supports research needs with references. Students searching for reliable sources for an assignment have access to electronic databases and books.
  • The Academic Success Center hosts several workshops that help with aspects of college life outside the classroom in addition to the Program for Enhanced Learning, which offers courses in Reading for Academic Content and Test Preparation.
  • Career Services provides career counseling and assistance with résumés and cover letters for job applications.

Where is my class?

Campus maps should help you find classroom locations. If you are looking for your Rhetoric and Writing faculty member, look at your syllabus and locate his/her office on the department map or visit the faculty page or Composition teacher page for contact information.

What is academic integrity and what are the consequences if I violate ethical uses of sources?

At the beginning of each semester, faculty will cover a module in class on ethical uses of sources to ensure students understand responsibility when working with sources. The most common offenses subject to grade penalty and/or disciplinary action are:

Cheating on an examination or quiz: To give or receive, to offer or solicit information on any quiz or examination including (a) copying from another student’s paper; (b) using prepared materials, notes, or texts other than those specifically permitted by the professor during an examination; (c) collaborating with another student during an examination; (d) buying, selling, stealing, soliciting, or transmitting an examination, or any material purported to be the unreleased content of an upcoming examination, or the use of such material; (e) substituting for another person during an examination or allowing such substitution for oneself; (f) bribing a person to obtain examination information.

Plagiarism: To adopt and reproduce as one’s own, to appropriate for one’s own use and incorporate in one’s own work without acknowledgment, the ideas of others or passages from their writings and works.

Collusion: To obtain from another party, without specific approval in advance by the professor, assistance in the production of work offered for credit to the extent that the work reflects the ideas or skills of the party consulted rather that those of the person in whose name the work is submitted.

Duplicity: To offer for credit identical or substantially unchanged work in two or more courses without specific advance approval of the professors involved.

A grade penalty may be imposed only by the faculty member. It is recommended that if a student is found guilty or admits guilt, the faculty member will consider the individual circumstances, nature or severity of the offense, similar class violations, etc., before assessing the grade penalty.

For more information, read the Grievances and Appeals from the student handbook. You can find information in regard to your rights as a student and procedures for filing an appeal, if you are accused of a violation.

What are MLA and APA? How are they different?

There are several documentation styles for presenting sources in your writing, with the two most used being the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA). Selecting the “right” one depends on your audience. Visit the Purdue OWL for Research and Citation Resources or your composition handbook for support on using documentation styles. Courses in Rhetoric and Writing require students to document work in a variety of formats, including MLA, APA, and the Chicago Manual of Style.

Can I take courses in creative writing from the Department of Rhetoric and Writing?

The Department of Rhetoric and Writing offers several courses in creative nonfiction. However, if you are interested in fiction, you will want to contact the English Department. Courses focused in creative nonfiction include, RHET 3317: Introduction to Nonfiction Writing, RHET 4317: Advanced Nonfiction Writing, and RHET 4347 Auto/Biography.

If I wrote something that I think is really good, how can I receive recognition?

Every year, the Department of Rhetoric and Writing gives awards in several categories for the best writing done by our students. For more information, visit the Student Writing Awards page. Another way to receive recognition and even be published is to submit a piece of nonfiction writing to Quills & Pixels before the fall deadline each fall.