First-Year Composition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Debbie Minter, Composition Director
First-year writing at UNL is comprised of two unsequenced courses that meet the same overarching aims but have different conceptual focuses. The two courses guide students to
- develop meaningful writing projects for various purposes and audiences
- understand and use writing strategies—generating, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading—appropriate to writing projects
- analyze how written texts address audience, purpose, genre, and situation
- craft a style, including proper conventions, appropriate to writing projects
- document strengths and weaknesses in their own writing
- examine multiple positions, stances, assumptions, and biases and put own ideas in conversation with those of others
- acknowledge and cite sources appropriately
Students are guided to complete this work by well-prepared writing instructors who strive to create supportive, student-focused, process-based learning environments. First-year writing courses feature attention to the rhetorical concepts of purpose, audience, situation, and form; respectful, serious engagement of human diversity and examination of individual and cultural assumptions, biases, and values; frequent in-class and out-of-class writing; a range of in-class activities that help students reflect on their own writing and learning; strategies for generating ideas, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading; readings, discussions, and writing assignments that support writing development; and substantive peer and teacher response to writing.
English 150—Writing and Inquiry
This course focuses on the study and practice of writing and rhetoric as inquiry—that is, as a means of exploring ideas and information as well as presenting the results of that exploration. Students learn to pose and explore open questions, to engage multiple and often conflicting perspectives, and to incorporate the thinking of others into their own writing. Students write in a wide variety of academic, professional, and public forms, including academic essays, rhetorical analyses, interview and ethnographic studies, and websites.
English 151—Writing and Argument
This course focuses on the study and practice of writing as argument—that is, as a means of arriving at and writing from committed stances. Students learn to engage conflicting positions, analyze how they are presented as arguments, put their own ideas in conversation with those of others, and shape their arguments for multiple purposes and audiences. Students write in a wide variety of academic, professional, and public forms, including academic essays, rhetorical analyses, cover letters and proposals, letters to politicians and policymakers, and opinion essays.