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Sharing global insights by learning how to write for the public

January 5, 2023

In Winter and Spring 2022, the Jackson School launched the Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing, a national innovative curriculum developed at Wellesley College which has been adopted by more than a dozen higher education institutions and equips students to translate their academic knowledge to a broad audience. Through this public writing undergraduate capstone course and graduate-level class, students learn professional, colloquial writing through assigned readings which they then must translate into, on a weekly basis, a magazine article, book review, a guest essay, professional journal article and other public-facing genres.

Headshot of F. Bernard Loesi

F. Bernard Loesi

For F. Bernard Loesi, a Jackson School doctoral candidate in international studies, his seminar, “Writing about Religion, Freedom and the Public Sphere,” taught by Jackson School Professor Christian Novetzke, resulted in the shaping of his research on U.S. aid to combat extremism into a published article titled, “Billions spent on overseas counterterrorism would be better spent by involving ex-terrorists,” in The Conversation.

“The method of the Calderwood class was really helpful to bring the article to fruition,” said Loesi. “I received wonderful feedback from Professor Novetzke and my classmates on all the writing assignments. The class is surely inspiring!”

Loesi, who has received research funding from the UW Southeast Asia Center, is currently working on a project about deradicalization of violent militants.

Johanna Soleil, a political science student in a Calderwood Seminar for Public Writing on Misinformation and Democracy in winter quarter 2022 taught by Jackson School Professor Scott Radnitz, emphasized how the program helps students develop important soft skills, such as communicating with peers of different experience levels and life situations, critical reading, writing for non-academic audiences, and how to critique and engage with your peers’ writing.

“I learned how to efficiently communicate large concepts for the public while also presenting my own opinions and feelings and still maintaining my credibility,” she said. Read the Q&A with Johanna Soleil.

Jackson School Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing 2021-2022:

Winter 2022

  • Capitalism
  • Writing about Religion, Freedom and the Public Sphere
  • Misinformation and Democracy
  • Writing on Religion and Politics

Spring 2022

  • Rethinking US Foreign Policy
  • Beyond the Cartels: Communicating Casualties of the War on Drugs
  • Border Stories: Migration, Mexico and the US
  • Writing about Indigeneity for a General Public
  • Global Cities