English Department

First-Year Writing

Message from the Director

Welcome to the home of First-Year Writing (FYW) at Cleveland State University. The university believes that writing and reading are essential to intellectual development and academic success. The First-Year Writing program offers several courses that help students to develop critical writing, reading, and research practices. These courses, part of the university's general education curriculum, introduce students to the conventions of college-level writing and research, the analysis of academic and popular texts, and the use of technology in the writing and research process. Students in the courses are expected to write on a wide range of topics and in multiple genres, thus developing a greater understanding of how audience, tone, and purpose govern the choices we make as writers. The following courses form the foundation of the first-year writing requirement:

English 101-College Writing I and English 100-Intentive College Writing are courses dedicated to a sequence of academic writing assignments beginning with summaries and progressing through critiques, synthesis, and analyses. During this sequence, you will also be exposed to the writing process, critical reading, and conducting, citing, and documenting college-level research. All of these writing activities can easily be found both in your personal and professional lives. For example, we often summarize the events of our day, whether in journals or web logs. We also summarize in the professional world, whether in abstracts of studies in the sciences or in executive summaries in business and industry. Therefore, this first course (either English 101 or English 100 based on your placement) provides you with relevant and important writing skills.

English 102-College Writing II builds on the skills in English 101 by working with multiple texts, focusing on developing independent research skills, and diving more into the world of argumentation. In addition, students in English 102 are exposed to reading selections from several areas of contemporary culture, ranging from academic areas of study like media studies with popular culture topics such as advertising and racial profiling. In some instances, students in English 102 focus on a particular topic, major or area of study-philosophy, nursing, business, art history, engineering among others-through paired and focused versions of this course. Through reading and writing about diverse topics and issues, you will not only expand your understanding of college writing, but you will also expand your understanding of the world around us.

The First-Year Writing Program's goal is to see each of our students become confident and reflective writers and thinkers. This site should provide answers to many of your questions about FYW, as well as introduce you to the faculty and staff who are dedicated to our students' success. Please spend some time familiarizing yourself with the resources the program offers. We wish you all the best in your studies here at Cleveland State University.

William Breeze
Director, First-Year Writing Program


Our Mission

The First-Year Writing Program at Cleveland State University recognizes the vital role that reading, writing, critical thinking and information literacy skills play in the success and retention of its students. Therefore, the instructional staff in the Program strives to create a learning environment in all courses that supports as it challenges its students to learn the skills necessary to be strong students, able professionals and respected members of our community. To do so, the Program relies on pedagogy rich in active and collaborative learning, a tutorial-based instructional design, and ongoing assessment leading to curriculum review and redesign. The pages on the First-Year Writing Program website articulates the course outcomes, sequence and placements in the First-Year Writing Program at Cleveland State University. It should be noted that the creators of this statement were mindful of similar documents created by national organizations, such as Council of Writing Program Administrators Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition and the Association of College and Research Libraries Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.