The Institute Writing Program seeks to equip cadets for both academic success and participation in the full range of rhetorical occasions they will encounter in their lives as citizens and professionals. To ensure the development of strong written communication abilities, the program’s curriculum provides sequential, sustained writing instruction and support throughout cadets’ academic careers at VMI.
The program links a rigorous two-course sequence in first-year composition (ERH 101 and 102) with a thriving Writing Across the Curriculum initiative, which requires cadets to complete two additional “writing-intensive” courses prior to graduation. Professional tutors in the Writing Center consult individually with cadets at any stage of a writing project.
Beyond the classroom, the program celebrates excellence in writing by encouraging conversations among scholars, professional writers, cadets, and members of the surrounding community. Professors of writing and rhetoric gather on Post each fall for the Spilman Symposium on Issues in Teaching Writing, a highly regarded national conference. Each spring, a Post-wide academic writing contest honors cadet winners of the Blackstone Drummond Ayres 1916 Award for Excellence in Writing and the Spilman Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Writing.