Civic Learning in the Major by Design
Educating students to be responsible, informed, and engaged citizens in their workplaces and the... Read more
This issue features the AAC&U Faculty Collaboratives project, which has created a large-scale,... Read more
Committing to Equity and Inclusive Excellence
Since 1970, bachelor degree attainment among students from wealthy families nearly doubled, but it... Read more
New Frontiers in Writing
This issue builds on and explores implications of findings from the National Census of Writing. It... Read more
Integrating Evidence: The STIRS Approach
The Scientific Thinking and Integrative Reasoning Skills (STIRS) framework has been developed, used... Read more
Advancing Equity and Student Success through Eportfolios
Adoption of eportfolio pedagogies and practices in conjunction with Signature Work provide the... Read more
Transparency and Problem-Centered Learning
This issue, funded by TG Philanthropy, explores the relationship between high-impact practices and... Read more
Advancing Collaborative Roadmaps for Student Success
Sponsored by The Kresge Foundation, this issue focuses on campus, state, regional, and national... Read more
Rethinking Preparation for Work: A Civic-Enriched Liberal Education
In a world where college graduates spend the majority of their public lives engaged in work, this... Read more
Navigating Institutional Change for Student Success in STEM
This issue, sponsored by the W. M. Keck Foundation as part of the PKAL Guide to Systemic... Read more
Faculty Leadership for Integrative Liberal Learning
This issue, sponsored by the Teagle and Mellon foundations, offers insights about the central role... Read more
Quantitative reasoning skills―the habit of mind, competency, and comfort in working with numerical... Read more
Gender Equity in STEM
Close examination of the status of women science and engineering faculty at four-year colleges and... Read more
E-Portfolios: For Reflection, Learning, and Assessment
E-portfolios are now being used in more than half of US colleges and universities. This issue... Read more
Capstones and Integrative Learning
Whether they’re called senior capstones or some other name, these culminating experiences require... Read more
The Changing Nature of Faculty Roles
This issue explores the evolution of faculty roles, including the growing dependence on non-tenure-... Read more
Models for Student Success: Developing a Community College Student Roadmap
This issue highlights lessons learned from Developing a Community College Student Roadmap, the LEAP... Read more
Collaborative Leadership for Liberal Education
This issue explores how campus leaders—presidents, boards, administrators and faculty—can best work... Read more
Essential Learning Outcomes, the New MCAT, and Curricular Change
This issue focuses on the new changes to the MCAT, which focus more on broad integrative learning... Read more
Frontiers of Faculty Work: Embracing Innovation and High-Impact Practices
This issue centers on how faculty are using high-impact educational practices in individual... Read more
The Liberally Educated Professional
This issue explores how various professional programs, such as education, engineering, and nursing... Read more
Assessing Liberal Education Outcomes Using VALUE Rubrics
This issue focuses on AAC&U’s VALUE rubrics, which were tested on more than one hundred pilot... Read more
Advancing What Works in STEM: A View Through the PKAL Lens
This issue of Peer Review emerges from the new partnership between Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) and... Read more
Lessons on Systemic Reform from the LEAP States Initiative
This issue of Peer Review highlights lessons learned from AAC&U’s LEAP States initiative.... Read more
Returning Adult Students
Adult students comprise a growing population on college campuses. This issue features a range of... Read more
Internships and Experiential Learning
Articles in this issue present best practices for creating internships and other experiential... Read more
The Future of the Faculty: Collaborating to Cultivate Change
This issue explores new strategies for diversifying the faculty and developing their effectiveness... Read more
This issue highlights undergraduate programs that integrate students into the research community... Read more
Engaging Departments: Assessing Student Learning
This issue explores how departments are developing assessment approaches that deepen student... Read more
Study Abroad and Global Learning: Exploring Connections
Peer Review, Fall, 2009: Features articles on best practices in campus study abroad programs,... Read more
Liberal Education and Undergraduate Public Health Studies
This issue makes the case for a bridge between the undergraduate and public health communities,... Read more
Good Teaching: What Is It and How Do We Measure It?
This issue addresses specific challenges faculty are facing in the classroom today. It explores... Read more
Assessing Learning Outcomes: Lessons from AAC&U's VALUE Project
This issue focuses on AAC&U’s VALUE project and provides an overview of new assessment... Read more
Toward Intentionality and Integration
Intentionality and integrative learning, captured in the LEAP vision of essential learning outcomes... Read more
Student Political Engagement
This issue examines how the academy engages students in their learning today to help them grow as... Read more
This issue addresses the role of academic advising in undergraduate education with a special focus... Read more
Faculty Development: Finding Balance in Changing Roles
Faculty development will play a critical role in efforts to achieve essential learning outcomes for... Read more
Bringing Theory to Practice
The Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) project seeks to advance engaged student learning and... Read more
Assessing Student Learning
As campuses implement more complex assignments, community placements, internships, student research... Read more
Student Preparation, Motivation, and Achievement
The issue presents data on college readiness, effective strategies for increasing student... Read more
Learning & Technology
This issue examines a range of current issues concerning the role and use of technology in student... Read more
Successful Transitions to College Through First- Year Programs
This issue features first-year programs that are designed to facilitate positive transitions for... Read more
The Creativity Imperative
Why is cultivating creative abilities among today’s students so essential? This issue focuses on... Read more
This issue highlights undergraduate programs that integrate students into the research community... Read more
The Summer/Fall 2005 issue of Peer Review focuses on integrative learning. Integrative abilities... Read more
Liberal Education and the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Sponsored by the Kauffman Consortium for Liberal Education and Entrepreneurship, housed at the... Read more
Science and Engaged Learning
This issue explores efforts to improve science education for majors and nonmajors through new forms... Read more
Creating Shared Responsibility for General Education and Assessment
Challenging the widespread notion that general education is something to "get out of the way as... Read more
This issue focuses on quantitative literacy as a key outcome of liberal education and explores... Read more
Advancing the Conversation Between Graduate and Undergraduate Education
Planned in coordination with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, this issue... Read more
(R)Evolution of the New Globally Engaged Academy
This issue focuses on the evolving identities and missions of colleges and universities as they... Read more
Writing and the New Academy
This issue focuses on writing as a key outcome of liberal education and explores recent trends in... Read more
General Education in the New Academy
This issue addresses new models for general education with a focus on models of integrative... Read more
Educating for Citizenship
This issue focuses on how the academic goals of liberal education are enhanced by civic engagement... Read more
Purposeful Pathways? A Look at School-College Alignment
This issue provides a critical overview of school-college alignment efforts and makes the case for... Read more
Contingent Faculty and Student Learning
This issue explores issues and trends associated with the use of part-time and full-time non-tenure... Read more
The Values Question in Higher Education
This issue explores the ways colleges and universities are addressing the values questions today's... Read more
Value Added Assessment of Liberal Education
This issue presents the RAND Corporation/Council for Aid to Education's Value Added Assessment... Read more
Learning Communities: A Sustainable Innovation?
This issue explores the challenges faced by this successful innovation and presents current best... Read more
Academic Governance: Charting a New Course
This issue provides an overview of the history and current state of academic governance.
Broad Minds & Good Jobs: Integrating Liberal and Professional Studies
This issue considers the context for, and the challenges of, integrating liberal and professional... Read more
A Small World? Students and Faculty Abroad
This issue seeks to provoke informed debate over the shape academic exchange will take in the years... Read more
Why Is It So Hard to Change the Curriculum?
This issue looks at the challenges facing those who hope to lead their campuses in revising the... Read more
Health in Campus Life and Learning
This issue argues that, in the context of a liberal education, we should help students understand... Read more
Statement of Mission and Course Goals
Recent research into the role of first-year writing reveals that first-year writing courses are best used to encourage meta-awareness of the genres, contexts, and audiences that writers encounter in college (see Anne Beaufort, Writing in College and Beyond). English 101, which the great majority of incoming students take their first or second semester in college, serves as an important introduction to the culture of the academy—its habits of mind, conventions, and responsibilities. Its central purpose is to immerse students in the writing, reading, and thinking practices of their most immediate community: the university. Students explore how literacy works, both within the academic and without, through extensive inquiry-based writing.
English 101 focuses on engaging students as writers and building the reflective awareness needed for success in a wide range of writing experiences within the university. In English 101, students write consistently, receive feedback on their writing and give feedback to others, are introduced to academic writing conventions (including using the library, integrating sources, and using a citation system), engage with challenging readings, and begin putting others’ ideas in conversation with their own. Because writing in the 21st century means composing in a wide variety of print-based and digital environments, the 101 curriculum encourages students and instructors to work in online environments as is appropriate.
The overall goals, outcomes, and curricular components for English 101 and 102 have been developed locally through discussion and collaboration among instructors in the First-Year Writing Program. They are directly informed by our annual student assessment process, and they have been written within the framework of nationally accepted outcomes for first-year composition. The yearly assessment reports are available at the First-Year Writing Program website; the Council of Writing Program Administrators Outcomes for First-Year Writing are available at their site.
What You Should Know about This Course
Writing effectively involves making a multitude of choices. Many of these choices are determined by the rhetorical situation—the writer’s purpose, the writer’s audience, the nature of the writer’s subject matter, and the writer’s relationship to the subject. English 101 is intended to increase students’ awareness of rhetorical situations—within each writing project at the university, and beyond. Students learn that language has consequences and writers must take responsibility for what they write.
In English 101, students to take responsibility for the ideas they discover as writers—ideas that occur through engaging with a range of materials in independent research and considering how one’s own perspectives add to those of an ongoing conversation. The course frequently puts students at the center of their own discourse, challenging them to discover and express their own ideas and to make their ideas convincing or compelling to others.
Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing
In English 101, students work with readings that stretch them intellectually; readings may be challenging, or may be in genres with which they are less familiar. Generally, readings in English 101 center on intellectual challenges and questions—that is, they are written to respond to and extend the conversations in academic communities of various kinds. However, instructors sometimes also provide a wider range of nonfiction texts as they guide students toward becoming more flexible readers. While English 101 is a primarily a writing course, it is also a course in rhetorical reading. Students learn how to engage with a variety of texts, how to understand a writer’s argument, and how to actively critique and respond to the ideas of others.
Knowledge of Process and Conventions
Part of helping students to embrace writing as a lifelong practice is to emphasize that writing itself is a kind of inquiry, a way to think and learn. It is not simply a means of recording what one already knows. English 101 creates the conditions that allow students to gain confidence as they discover what they think through writing, helping them see that this process can be used in any subject, any discipline, and almost any situation that demands thought.
How students view themselves as learners and what motivates them to acquire a particular body of knowledge strongly influences students’ learning. As instructors of an entry-level writing course, we believe that students’ experience with language and language use in the course should be a positive one, and this will provide the basis for the development of writing strategies and practices. As a consequence, English 101 focuses, in part, on the affective dimension of writing and thinking processes; the course encourages students to believe that reading and writing are meaning-making activities that are relevant to their lives, within school and without.
A Final Note about the Activity of Writing
In English 101 students work within a community of writers in which they understand that membership implies engagement with each others’ struggles to make meaning. They experience writing as a social interaction for a particular purpose, for knowledge is not created in isolation but through dialogue and writing shared with a real audience. The writing classroom functions as an intellectual community in which students are encouraged to think freely and deeply, where difference is not only accepted but is also seen as an opportunity for learning.
English 101 Student Outcomes
By the end of English 101, students will be able to
- apply strategies for generating ideas for writing, for planning and organizing material, for identifying purpose and audience, and for revising intentionally;
- produce writing in non-fiction, inquiry-based genres appropriate to the subject, context, purpose, and audience;
- integrate evidence gathered from experience, reading, observations, and/or other forms of research into their own writing in a way that begins to complicate their own understanding;
- use a variety of strategies for reading and engaging with a range of material;
- use an academic documentation style, even though they may not show mastery;
- revise to extend their thinking about a topic, not just to rearrange material or “fix” mechanical errors;
- articulate the rhetorical choices they have made, illustrating their awareness of a writer’s relationship to the subject, context, purpose, and audience;
- provide appropriate, engaged feedback to peers throughout the writing process;
- produce prose without surface-level convention errors that distract readers from attending to the meaning and purpose of the writing.
The curricular components listed here only begin to capture the energy and commitment necessary for student success in a first-year writing course. Individual instructors work within these outcomes and curricular expectations in a variety of ways.
- Students in writing classes continuously produce written work. This includes evaluated work, such as formal assignments and subsequent revisions, as well as informal and non-evaluated work, such as research blog entries, annotated bibliographies, collaborative wikis, in-class writing exercises, reflective logs and memos, rough drafts, and peer responses. Students can expect to write a considerable amount of informal and non-evaluated work from which their formal, evaluated work may grow.
- Instructors generally assign four projects, at least two of which encourage students to integrate outside sources and perspectives to inform, complicate, and/or extend their perspectives. Instructors will encourage student writers to draw purposefully on a range of sources, including (but not limited to) personal experience, observation, interviews, field work, and text-based sources—both online and in print—in a wide variety of ways.
- Students produce the equivalent of 20 or more pages’ worth of “final draft” material. As students work in digital spaces, the writing produced should be appropriate for those genres and media.
- English 101 is a revision-based writing course. At the end of the semester, students select at least two “final draft” projects to substantially revise and also write an extensive portfolio cover letter. Taken as a whole, the revisions and reflection demonstrate how students have met or exceeded the assessment scoring guide for English 101. The final portfolio generally accounts for a significant portion of students’ final grades.
Reading and Research
- Instructors encourage students to engage with readings through a variety of critical reading strategies. These may take the form of informal, in-class work as well as annotated bibliographies, source reports, double-entry journals, and reading workshops of various kinds.
- Instructors will provide an introduction to library references and methods of citing sources.
- Writing courses are highly interactive and depend on frequent feedback, discussions, and in-class workshops. Attendance, in-class participation, and respect for submission deadlines are expected in writing classes.