top of page


First-Year Writing Program


The Writing Arts Department’s First-Year Writing Program is home to the general-education required composition courses. The program provides the foundation students need to become rhetorically adept writers who can respond to a variety of academic, personal, or professional writing situations. Students develop writing skills through critical reading and thinking and by analyzing and communicating complex ideas. The First-Year Writing program also emphasizes the synthesis of research skills, information literacy, critical rhetorical awareness, and creative insights that students need to be effective and powerful communicators. The best current practices in the composition discipline guide the program. 

There are two First-Year Writing courses which are required to complete the general education composition sequence: College Composition I (CCI) and College Composition II (CCII). CCI is designed to help students understand writing as a process and as a form of conversation. In CCI, students develop their ability to craft a piece of writing that meaningfully communicates with an audience and achieves a specific purpose. After students successfully complete CCI, they take CCII, which is focused on formal argumentation, research strategies, and information literacy. In CCII, students hone their own self-directed writing practices and use various strategies of argumentation to engage in the complexities of selected issues or topics. Along with these courses, the First-Year Writing program also offers additional courses to meet the needs of students in diverse stages of their writing development. Foundations for College Writing is a pass/fail course designed to introduce students to the conventions and expectations of college-level writing before they enter the required First-Year Writing sequence. Intensive College Composition I is an equivalent course to CCI, which provides additional support and scaffolding to student writers. The First-Year Writing Program also offers Honors sections of CCI and CCII, as well as a version of CCII designed in partnership with the College of Engineering's Sophomore Engineering Clinic.

At the heart of the First-Year Writing Curriculum are the five Core Values. The core values represent ways of thinking that contribute to successful student writing, and they are based on learning outcomes established for first-year composition by the national Council of Writing Program Administrators. All courses are portfolio based, which emphasizes the development of student writing through ongoing revision. Portfolios allow students to collect and present representative samples of their writing from across the semester to demonstrate their growth as writers.

bottom of page