The Department of Writing strives to offer a first-year composition curriculum that represents the most current thinking and the best pedagogical practices in our discipline. Our central goal is to produce writers who are “rhetorically aware,” who analyze the social contexts that create occasions for writing, consider the needs of potential audiences, and make wise choices about content, format, and style. We encourage our students to become active participants in ongoing discussions that are taking place in academic literature and public discourse. Our courses emphasize a process approach to writing that involves critical thinking, drafting, and revising. Academic writers typically back up their assertions with support from published sources and follow standard procedures for borrowing and documenting those ideas; they also observe conventions for organizational structure, grammar, usage, and mechanics.  Our courses identify those conventions, but also indicate points where conventions vary according to genre and context. See our course descriptions for details about our approach to writing instruction.

Contact Us

Dr. Mary Lourdes Silva, Director of First-Year Composition