Eastern Michigan University
direct edit

First-Year Writing Program Principles and Outcomes


The First-year Writing Program most recently updated its program principles and course outcomes¹ in the summer of 2014. Based on input from a survey of instructional staff and based on a study that assessed a random sample of portfolios in relation to previous and new course outcomes, the program adopted the principles and course outcomes shown below. Five core principles are based on contemporary research on threshold concepts for rhetoric and composition/writing studies. Threshold concepts name key ideas that pinpoint the habits and practices effective writers enact across diverse composing situations. Course outcomes for WRTG120: Composition I: Writing the College Experience and WRTG121: Composition II: Researching the Public Experience operate interdependently with the five core principles and yet are distinct for the two courses in the sequence. Instructional staff use the core principles and the course outcomes to design lessons, to plan and focus projects, and to assess student projects and portfolios. Students may use the principles and outcomes to gain a sense of what to expect in first-year writing classes at EMU, to reflect upon their writing in the program, and to guide their writing in other classes at EMU.


First-year Writing Program Outcomes

WRTG120: Composition I: Writing the College Experience Course Outcomes¹
Principles + WRTG120 Outcomes Description
Rhetorical knowledge You will have practiced using language consciously and identifying rhetorical qualities in composing situations.
Writing process You will have engaged in invention, drafting, and rewriting, providing explicit evidence of a writing process.
Genre conventions You will have demonstrated awareness of academic writing genre conventions, including mechanics and syntax.
Multimodal transformation You will have adapted your writing to distinct rhetorical contexts, drawing attention to the way composition transforms across contexts and forms.
Reflective practice You will have applied feedback from instructor, peers, and individual reflection to rethink, re-see, and ultimately revise your work.
WRTG121: Composition II: Researching the Public Experience Course Outcomes¹
Principles + WRTG121 Outcomes Description
Rhetorical performance You will have enacted rhetoric by consciously constructing persuasive texts.
Research process You will have practiced different research methods, which includes analyzing and using sources and developing primary research.
Style conventions You will have developed awareness of conventions of academic research processes, including documentation systems and their purposes.
Multimodal design You will have composed using digital technologies, gaining awareness of the possibilities and constraints of electronic environments.
Reflective interaction You will have shared your work with your instructor, peers, and/or the university community and accounted for the impact of such interaction on composition.

Fore more information about the principles, course outcomes, or program activities related to assessment, please contact Dr. Rachel Gramer,  Director of the First-year Writing Program, at rgramer@emich.edu, or Dr. Logan Bearden, Associate Director of the First-year Writing Program, at lbearden@emich.edu.

¹EMU's First-year Writing Program outcomes were adapted from The Council of Writing Program Administrators' (CWPA) "Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition" (2008) and the Framework For Success in Postsecondary Writing (2011), which was jointly developed by CWPA, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Writing Project. The program's application of threshold concepts as organizing principles stems from Adler-Kassner, Majewski, and Koshnick, "The Value of Troublesome Knowledge" (2012); Adler-Kassner and Wardle, Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts and Composition Studies (forthcoming); and Wardle and Downs, Writing About Writing , 2nd ed (2014).