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Skidmore College
American Studies Department

The Importance and Responsibilities of Writing


Good writing is essential for work in any academic field, and American Studies majors, minors and concentrators are encouraged to learn to write clearly, concisely and persuasively. Many American Studies courses require substantial amounts of writing, and students who learn to write well and efficiently in their papers will have a better chance of succeeding than those who do not. Writing is also one of the most important skills that students of American Studies take with them after graduation from Skidmore. Whether or not majors, minors and concentrators go on to do work in the field of American Studies, good writing will serve them in almost any capacity and is among the most valuable products of a liberal arts education. In addition to the instructions about writing in the discipline of American Studies, students should also make use of the wide variety of resources available at the College for improving writing including the peer tutoring program and the Writing Center.


Writing implies responsibilities as well as rewards, and American Studies students are expected to be aware of and adhere to the rules established by the Dean of Studies office for fair use of materials. The department maintains a strict attitude about plagiarism in written work. A first offense usually results in either failure of the assignment or failure in the course; a second offense generally leads to expulsion from the program and/or the College. The American Studies faculty reports all instances of plagiarism to the Dean of Studies office, so that a prior conviction in another department will make any subsequent offense in an American Studies course a second and usually final offense. If you have any questions about the proper use of materials, do not hesitate to consult with your instructor or members of the department for clarification. Ignorance of the rules is not protection from them.