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Learn About First-Year Writing

The First-Year Writing (FYW) Program in the Department of English at Georgia Southern University exists to give first-year students a foundation for communicating successfully in school, at work, and throughout their communities. We accomplish this by introducing students in ENGL 1101 and 1102 to the complex writing, reading, critical thinking, and research tasks they will encounter throughout the rest of their academic and professional careers. By doing so, we fully support the university’s mission to promote student growth and life success.

FYW distinguishes itself by combining the production and sharing of robust scholarship in teaching and learning with a deep commitment to interactive, student-centered teaching. Our faculty, staff, students, and alumni use their diverse strengths to advance our core values: integrity, excellence, and individual responsibility for academic achievement.

The Mission of First-Year Writing

The mission of the First-Year Writing (FYW) program in the Department of English 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. 

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. 

What are the first-year writing courses?

ENGL 1101: Composition I

ENGL 1101 (Composition I) introduces students to the conventions of academic and professional writing through the rhetorical practices of reading and composing texts. Students will use critical thinking and information literacy skills to develop texts through the processes of writing, revision, and reflection. Some sections may have specific course themes. 

ENGL 1102: Composition II

ENGL 1102 (Composition II) develops students’ knowledge of writing beyond the proficiency required by ENGL 1101, emphasizing interpreting, evaluating, and synthesizing information to create arguments from a variety of sources using more advanced research methods. Some sections may have specific course themes. To enroll in ENGL 1102, students must earn a minimum grade of “C” in ENGL 1101.

For questions regarding Georgia Southern’s first-year writing courses, please contact Dr. Annie Mendenhall or Dr. Beth Howells.

Inclusive Excellence in First-Year Writing

The First-Year Writing program in the Department of English 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

We Celebrate First-Year Writing!

We like to celebrate first-year writing with fledge: The Journal of Outstanding First-Year Writing.

fledge is an annual, non-fiction journal produced by the Department of English that showcases exceptional first-year writing done at Georgia Southern University. Highlighting assignments completed in ENGL 1101, 1102, and First-Year Experience (FYE), fledge’s chosen texts may also come from any course taken by freshmen and sophomore authors enrolled in either ENGL 1101 or 1102.

And while these texts might not always be perfect, each exhibits exceptional qualities that every student should strive for when writing for their courses–and beyond.

A hard copy is currently available from the Department of English. Some digital editions are available here. Use these texts as inspiration. Use them as illustrations for what constitutes “exceptional” writing. Use them as discussion pieces. Or, simply use them for your reading enjoyment.

To submit your work to fledge, use this submission form. Thank you for supporting fledge. We look forward to reading your submission!

Last updated: 4/9/2024