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First-Year Writing (For Faculty)

Mission of First-Year Writing

The mission of the First-Year Writing (FYW) program in the Department of Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern University is to teach students to become critical, reflective, engaged, and self-directed readers and writers in a diverse, global society. We provide instruction in reading, rhetoric, writing processes, research, and language, which serve as a foundation for future personal, academic, professional, or civic writing. By doing so, we fully support the university’s mission to prepare self-directed learners who can use writing to think, lead, teach, and serve. 

As a unit of the only freestanding writing and linguistics department in Georgia, FYW distinguishes itself by providing instruction rooted in the scholarship of rhetoric and composition studies. We continually assess the equity and effectiveness of our instruction and our program’s alignment with disciplinary best practices to provide students with innovative writing instruction. 

We believe that writing is a complex social practice shaped by its use in civic, academic, personal, and professional activities. Evolving literacy technologies and ecologies demand that writers adapt to new writing media and changing language practices. Therefore, we prepare students to write for diverse audiences and rhetorical situations and to use inclusive and accessible language and design in written texts. Furthermore, we guide students through the process of completing research-based writing tasks, teaching discovery, problem solving, and critical thinking in selecting and synthesizing sources. The FYW Program provides a foundation of writing knowledge so that students’ abilities can meet new disciplinary and professional demands. We support the university, and its three campuses and communities, in valuing writing as key to a student’s lifelong learning process. 

Inclusive Excellence in First-Year Writing

The First-Year Writing program in the Department of Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern University supports the university’s mission of inclusive excellence by “sustaining a campus climate that honors, respects, and is inclusive of all elements of diversity that makes each of us unique: culture, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, age, (dis)ability, creed, religious or spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, class, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political philosophy, etc. We uphold that all of our individual differences enrich our university.” Central to writing, especially first-year writing, is engaging with different ideas, people, and cultures to broaden our perspectives as scholars. This broadening is crucial for understanding how writing conventions and expectations change across audiences, cultures, and identities. The ways in which first-year writing courses support inclusive excellence may include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Assigning reading material that includes historically underrepresented groups and underrepresented minority groups
  • Assigning writing activities that value diverse cultures, identities, beliefs, and philosophies
  • Cultivating respect for the social value of language diversity 
  • Teaching inclusive language choices, research practices, and document design to support ambient belonging and social justice 
  • Learning about linguistic biases in the evaluation of writing

ENGL 1101


ENGL 1101 Student Learning Outcomes
Georgia Southern University’s First-Year Writing Program has identified specific learning outcomes for each of its first-year writing courses. Students must complete the course with a “C” average or better to earn credit. At the completion of ENGL1101, students will be able to:

  • Develop flexible composing strategies to achieve a defined purpose for writing
  • Compose texts to develop ideas in relation to a range of sources
  • Respond to various rhetorical situations through practicing genre conventions appropriate to the audience, purpose, and context of reading and writing
  • Analyze how textual features, context, and purpose shape a text’s message

ENGL 1101 Guidelines for Instructors

All ENGL 1101 courses must include three graded papers or assignments, each developed from drafts and peer-reviewed. Students are expected to produce approximately 4000-6000 words of writing during the course (this number includes early and final drafts). Students should also have documentation practice in at least two citation styles.

Each faculty member will participate in scheduled grade norming, assessment, and professional development sessions. The department chair will provide details about these expectations. Writing activities and assignments should clearly align with Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). More detailed guidelines for faculty are available on Google Drive.


Common Assignment Parameters for ENGL 1101

ENGL 1101 should culminate in a common assignment. The 1101 final assignment must be a form of rhetorical analysis, taught in the last third of the semester.

While individual instructors have discretion and flexibility in designing the assignment, the final assignment collected at the end of the semester for the purpose of assessment must meet the following criteria.

The ENGL 1101 common assignment [rhetorical analysis] must:

  • Require internal documentation and a References/Works Cited page in a recognized academic style (no course-specific style sheets)
  • Require two to four sources (appropriate sources selections should be driven by audience and purpose)
  • Include a student-written reflective piece that serves as page 1 of the submission
  • Use sources to support and/or develop a rhetorical analysis
  • Be developed through at least two drafts
  • Have had the benefit of instructor and/or peer review
  • Be assigned, developed, and submitted in the last third of the course

ENGL1102


ENGL1102 Student Learning Outcomes

Georgia Southern University’s First-Year Writing Program has identified specific learning outcomes for each of its first-year writing courses. Students must complete the course with a “C” average or better to earn credit.

The ENGL 1102 focus will include as well as move beyond the ENGL 1101 Student Learning Outcomes. Thus, in addition to what they have learned in ENGL 1101, at the completion of ENGL 1102, students will:

Write Critically

  • Synthesize a variety of sources to participate in a scholarly conversation
  • Demonstrate purposeful and appropriate use of voice, tone, medium
  • Demonstrate reasonable fluency in linguistic structures (such as syntax, punctuation, and word choice)
  • Follow academic citation conventions

Read Critically

  • Use a variety of strategies for inquiry/discovery
  • Find and evaluate sources in multiple genres

ENGL1102 Guidelines for Instructors

ENGL1102 syllabi should include both ENGL 1101 and ENGL 1102 Student Learning Outcomes to demonstrate the progression of learning that will be measured at the completion of the two-course sequence.

All ENGL 1102 courses must include three graded papers or assignments, each developed from drafts and peer-reviewed. Students are expected to produce approximately 4000-6000 words of writing during the course (this number includes early and final drafts). The focus of these writing assignments should be on research skills and knowledge transfer.

These writing practices are intended to introduce first-year students to writing and research practices that will be enhanced in upper-level courses within the students’ major or discipline. Passing ENGL 1102 does not guarantee mastery of writing in a specific discipline.

Each faculty member will participate in scheduled grade norming, assessment, and professional development sessions. The department chair will provide details about these expectations. Writing activities and assignments should clearly align with Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). More detailed guidelines for faculty are available on Google Drive.


Common Assignment Parameters for ENGL 1102

ENGL 1102 should culminate in a common assignment. The 1102 final paper must be a synthesis piece, submitted in the last third of the semester, that connects ideas from multiple sources to present a response, argument, or recommendation that adds to the conversation. This assignment should involve finding, evaluating, and incorporating sources that represent diverse perspectives. Synthesis may be achieved in a number of assignment genres, such as a literature review, scholarly argument, or essay exploring a theme.

The ENGL 1102 common assignment must:

  • Develop students’  research and information literacy skills by requiring them to find, evaluate, incorporate, and document sources
  • Require at least three credible sources that represent diverse perspectives
  • Require internal documentation and a references/works cited page using an academic or formal citation style
  • Encourage knowledge transfer by connecting the writing done in the synthesis assignment to past or future writing tasks
  • Be developed through at least two drafts
  • Require students to revise in response to instructor and/or peer review
  • Be submitted in the last third of the course
  • Accompany a student-composed reflective piece about the assignment that should serve as page 1

Last updated: 9/28/2021