FOUNDATIONS FOR
COLLEGE WRITING

FIVE CORE VALUES

FIRST-YEAR%20WRITING%20PROGRAM_edited.pn

Core Value I: Writing is a practice that involves a multi-stage, recursive and social process.

 

Writing is a process that involves multiple stages and that does not always follow a linear path.  In other words, we don’t read, write, and revise once and in that exact order; rather, we engage in a variety of activities at multiple points as we compose a text. These activities include but are not limited to reading, generating and discussing ideas, researching, drafting, reviewing and sharing our work, reflecting, and revising, and they can take place through a variety of technologies and tools. Many of these activities require you to discuss your work with others—your peers, your instructor, and potentially people outside the class—to both give and receive feedback. In this way, writing is a social experience, one that depends on open-minded collaboration that respects identity and language differences and how these shape the way we write and read.

What you need to be able to do and demonstrate for Core Value 1:

  • You can demonstrate perseverance and openness in developing your ideas and writing across time.

  • You can use a multi-stage process to focus, organize, clarify, and develop an essay.

  • You can provide respectful feedback to others and revise your own work based on feedback from instructors and peers.

  • You can recognize the difference between revision and editing/“fixing” errors, as well as the difference between “global” revision (working on ideas, structure, and organization) and “local” revision (sentence- and word-level), and you can engage in these different types of revision at appropriate stages in the writing process.

  • You can identify the various resources for feedback and support (where to go, what to ask, and what to do) at various stages in the writing process. 

  • You recognize the variety of technologies and tools available to writers and make choices about how to best use these in your own writing process and for specific projects.

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Core Value II: Close and critical reading/analysis is necessary for listening to and questioning texts, arriving at a thoughtful understanding of those texts, and joining the academic and/or public conversations represented by those texts.

Writers create texts to communicate ideas, and they make specific compositional choices in their writing to achieve their goals. These choices are in terms of language, materials/mediums (physical and/or digital), and other compositional elements, including typography, layout, design, images, sound, editing, and more.  As readers, we must analyze these elements to determine the authors’ meanings, as well as the ideologies that have shaped the ideas and how they are expressed/presented through texts.  Readers engage with texts not only to understand their meanings and listen to other authors but also to question them.  By engaging with multiple authors during the reading and writing processes, and by constructing relationships among texts, you will discover and create “conversations” to join by working with and adding to those authors’ ideas.

What you need to be able to do and demonstrate for Core Value 2:

  • You can explore an issue or question raised by an assigned reading and respond to or challenge it in the service of developing your own view.

  • You can read texts with a writerly eye so as to identify and evaluate an author’s compositional choices and strategies for communication. 

  • You recognize that texts can be created through a variety of modes: alphabetic, visual, multimedia, print, and digital.

  • You recognize that word choices reflect values and beliefs and that language isn’t neutral.

Core Value III: Writing is shaped by audience, purpose, genre, and context.

Writing is an act of communication that involves an author writing for a purpose and using a genre to reach an audience in a specific context--these elements constitute the rhetorical situation. Taking the rhetorical situation into account helps you to analyze the choices and strategies of other authors, as well as to create effective texts of your own. Effective writers assess audience expectations and the textual conventions associated with a situation or genre as they create a text for a specific purpose; they then make strategic decisions about how they want to meet or challenge those expectations in terms of mode, content, structure, rhetorical appeals, presentation/design, language, and style. Thoughtful writers recognize the historical and political contexts of genre conventions and audience expectations, and how their own choices related to conventions/expectations have the power to uphold or challenge the status quo; this includes responses to the historical academic call for “standard written English” (white middle-class English), which has contributed to the language oppression of people of color and failed to recognize the rich linguistic resources that writers of all backgrounds bring to the table.

What you need to be able to do and demonstrate for Core Value III:

  • You are aware of how audience, purpose, and context shape the choices that writers make, and you can analyze and evaluate texts using these rhetorical terms.

  • You can make choices in your writing in relation to audience, purpose, and context, and explain those choices.

  • You can edit your work at the sentence-level to communicate clearly and avoid unintended distractions from errors and typos.

  • You recognize that language and linguistic diversity--your own or that of others--are assets that can be used rhetorically, politically, and powerfully.

Core Value IV: Information literacy is essential to the practice of writing.

Academic and intellectual writing is informed writing, which means contextualizing our ideas within pre-existing conversations and providing evidence beyond our personal experiences or opinions.  Conversely, it also means recognizing the limitations of existing conversations, including how dominant venues/platforms have privileged the voices of the powerful, failed to include and represent the lived experiences of the full spectrum of humanity, and undervalued personal experience as evidence. To produce informed writing, you will need to develop the skills necessary to locate information in a digital environment; to evaluate authorship, expertise, and quality, particularly toward including the underrepresented perspectives of people of color, LGBTQ+ folks, people with disabilities, people who are neurodivergent, women, and people of all socioeconomic backgrounds; to determine which information to incorporate into your own writing depending on the rhetorical situation; and to document your sources appropriately.

What you need to be able to do and demonstrate for Core Value IV:

  • You use appropriate support for your own ideas that may take the form of examples, personal experience, observations, analogies, etc., as well as information from sources. 

  • You can choose material from sources to support your claims based on your audience and purpose.

  • You introduce material from other sources (direct quotations and/or paraphrased ideas) smoothly into your own writing using effective signal phrases.

Core Value V: Writing has power and comes with ethical responsibilities.

Because writing is not only personal but also public and social, there are ethical concerns that we must take into account. The most obvious component of ethical writing is crediting others for their ideas through proper citation, which is also an act of sharing research with others. Just as important, ethical writing involves conscientiously listening to other authors, doing the work of navigating linguistic differences, understanding their ideas and how they have arrived at their perspectives, and accurately representing them in your own writing. Through this process of critical and conscientious reading/listening, you will understand that there can be a variety of valid perspectives on an issue/topic and that ethical writing represents the complexity of an issue by respectfully acknowledging multiple perspectives.

What you need to be able to do and demonstrate for Core Value V:

  • You make a genuine attempt to listen to the points of view of others, accurately represent those other points of view in your writing, and use those other points of view to challenge your own thinking.

  • You understand and can acknowledge the difference between your ideas and the ideas of others.

  • You can create boundaries between your own voice and the voices of others through citation of direct quotations and paraphrasing.

  • You recognize that word and language choices have power and consequences and that adopting the preferred language used by individuals and/or groups for themselves demonstrates respect and builds your credibility as an informed, reasonable, and respectful voice in a conversation.

  • You can follow the code of academic integrity by appropriately documenting sources through the use of informal citation and, if required, a references page.