The Writing Program at Rutgers-Camden manages required composition courses as well as upper-division classes in expository writing such as Business Writing and Writing Public Arguments. Serving students in all departments of the University, we believe that a solid foundation in writing is essential for success in any field that a student chooses to pursue.
Writing is discovery, for an individual and a community. Through writing, we discover ideas and exchange them with others. In composition, the visual world of the mind becomes actualized on the page, where it can be shared. Writing is a way to visualize what all of us can learn from one another.
With these ideas in mind, our courses are designed to equip students with the critical thinking and writing skills they will need throughout their academic careers and beyond. These experiences support students from lessons in grammar, syntax, and structural cohesion to explorations of the textual and phenomenal world around them. Our staff of full-time instructors, part-time lecturers, and teaching assistants brings with them a wealth of knowledge from a variety of academic as well as extracurricular contexts.
The Student Resources section includes descriptions of composition and upper-division writing courses, information for ESL students, and instructions for those seeking exemption from composition requirements.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the program director, Dr. William FitzGerald. We look forward to seeing you in our classes!
A Brief Description of the First Year Writing Program
English 098/099: This non-credit bearing, pass-fail course (099) with sections for multi-language learners (098) addresses college-level literacy through a range of aims-based assignments (e.g., writing to reflect, inform, analyze) and reading strategies.
English 100 (for MLLs)/101: The new curriculum for the first course in a two semester sequence offers students six assignments fostering both academic and civic literacy:
Close Encounters with our First Year Book: series of responses to the annual first year book that introduce students to active reading and critical writing strategies, including summary, paraphrase, and quotation. (Students produce at least 5 pages of text.)
Analyze This!: Rhetorical Analysis of an Artifact: exercise in argumentation in which students identify persuasive strategies in a verbal or visual text. (Students write a 4-page essay.)
This I (Now) Believe: A personal credo addressing a significant change of mind. (Students compose a 2-page statement they later re-mediate into a 3-minute audio-essay.)
My Take: An Open Letter to X: exercise in public address in which students take a stand on a topic of interest to an identifiable audience. (In the first of three linked assignments, students write a 3-page letter to appear in print or online.)
To Think That, …: exercise in empathy in which students articulate reasonable counter- arguments to claims of their open letter. (Students compose a 2-3 page essay.)
Take Two: a revision of open letter into an academic argument for submission to the undergraduate journal, Scarlet Review. (Students compose a 6-page documented essay.)
English 102: This second semester course foregrounds research, both primary and secondary, over four major assignments:
Literate Lives: Composing a Literacy Narrative: an account in which students explore their experiences with reading, writing, computing, etc. (Students write a 4-page narrative.)
Profile of a Discourse Community: a research report on communication practices within a community to which a student belongs. (Students compose a 5-page report based on observing, interviewing, and collecting and analyzing data.)
Researched Essay: a systematic introduction to processes of source-based academic argument that guides students from topics to questions, from claims to evidence. (Culminates in a an 8-10 page multiply-sourced paper.)
Portfolio: a digital portfolio of revised writing from 101/102, with a reflection on the learning process. (Students assemble their portfolio using WordPress.)
Learning Goals of the First Year Writing Program
By the end of English 101, students should be able to to produce writing that:
• Reflects an understanding of composing as a multi-stage process (of invention, drafting, revision, editing, proofreading).
• Responds to a range of textual genres and recognizes various audiences and purposes for academic writing.
• Demonstrates skills of close reading (engaging texts analytically at the level of language) and critical inquiry (encountering texts heuristically at the level of problem-posing, problem-solving).
• Employs a repertoire of strategies and structures appropriate to academic argument (e.g., strong theses, evidence-based claims, textual citation, prose style).
• Manifests familiarity with conventions of edited standard written English (e.g., grammar, mechanics) and protocols for computer-generated documents (e.g., formatting, filing).
In addition, students in English 101 should be able to approach writing as a site of reflective practice as expressed in their critiques of their own writing and the writing of their peers.
By the end of English 102, students should be able to produce writing that:
• Understands that composition, in any medium, is intertextual (in conversation with other texts) as reflected in acts of reading and research that establish textual connections and place a range of texts, including their own, into effective dialogue.
• Demonstrates appropriate information literacy by engaging with various library databases and online search engines as tools for research; by location, assessing, and selecting relevant source materials (primary, secondary, tertiary).
• Manifests understanding of the role of source materials in contributing to academic argument, including by the effective integration and documentation of source materials.
• Recognizes a writer’s ethical responsibilities as reflected in meeting standards of academic integrity and in recognizing the potential of writing to contribute to scholarship and civic deliberation.
In addition, students in English 102 should be able to approach writing as a site of self-efficacy as reflected in an increasing sense of a writer’s authority and agency in formulating meaningful research questions and pursuing a range of strategies to address them.