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Course Description
The goal of this course is to provide students with reading, writing, and critical thinking strategies for their college work and beyond. Students will study and practice the writing process while reading and writing about each other's works, as well as the works of published writers. Students will learn how to make effective arguments and how to locate, synthesize, and evaluate relevant information.

General Studies Competencies and Areas Satisfied
This course will satisfy the requirements of the First Tier, Area 1: Written English. It addresses the required competencies in creative thinking and written communication.

Essential skills and outcomes to be acquired through the course include:
1) an ability to render close textual analysis;
2) an ability to synthesize information from multiple texts;
3) an ability to render clear, cogent ideas;
4) an ability to structure well-developed, creative essays, with an argument;
5) an ability to correctly employ standard written English usage;
6) an understanding of ethnic/cultural diversity;
7) an understanding of writing as a craft and an appreciation of style's relationship with content;
8) an ability to utilize basic technology to improve writing and research skills.

Writing Requirements
Students will write at least polished 20 pages over the semester, with the length and focus of each essay left to the instructor's discretion. However, each course should include:
• At least one essay five or more pages long;
• At least three essays with documentation;
• Ample discussion and implementation of the writing and revision process.

Required texts
One of the following rhetoric/argument guides:
• Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkstein. They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing.
• Lunsford, Andrea and John Ruszkiewicz. Everything's an Argument.
• Rottenberg, Annette and Donna Haisty Winchell. The Structure of Argument.
• Or another rhetoric/argument guide approved by the department.
Hacker, Diana. A Writer's Reference.
Other texts/readings determined by the instructor.

Academic Support Center
To receive individual instruction and feedback on writing in progress, students should be encouraged to visit The Academic Support Services Center in the basement of Scarborough Library. Visits are by appointment (via the online schedule found at or through ShepOwl at

Common Reading and Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Project
Instructors are encouraged to utilize the University's Common Reading selection and/or works by the Writer-in-Residence and incorporate related events into their syllabi.


Department of English and Modern Languages | P.O. Box 5000 | Shepherdstown, West Virginia | 25443-5000 | 304-876-5220 | 800-344-5231