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Composition Policies

I. General Policies

  1. The Director of Composition, appointed annually by the Chair, shall have primary responsibility for development and implementation of policy for English 150 and English 400.
  2. All faculty of the English discipline shall teach in the composition program.
  3. All faculty shall review in each composition course the definition of plagiarism included in the Student Handbook and shall support the college's Honor Code for students.
  4. A printed or on-line style guide that includes instruction in the current edition of the MLA Style Manual will be required by all composition courses. 
  5. Masters degree candidates will not be assigned full responsibility for teaching sections of English 150. They may give instruction as apprentices to the Director of Composition or another full-time faculty member. Masters candidates for whom English is a second language must score above 600 on the TOEFL test to be considered for graduate assistantships.
  6. Adjunct faculty will be reviewed during their first semester and annually thereafter by the Director of Composition and/or the members of the Department Promotion and Tenure Committee who will make recommendations to the Department Chair concerning reappointment. Lecturers teaching English 150 and 400 shall be reviewed by the Department Chair and the Promotion and Tenure Committee during their first semester and annually thereafter.
  7. Adjunct faculty who have taught English 150 and/or 400 for four semesters may vote in determining composition policy.
  8. English 150 is prerequisite to all other English courses, except in the case of transfer students with the permission of the Chair.
  9. Exemption policies are such:
    A. Students may be exempted from English 150 in the following ways:
  • Students who receive a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Test in English Language and Composition (AP Lang) will receive credit for English 150.
  • Students who have completed the IB Diploma will receive 3 hours credit for English 150 with a score of 5, 6, or 7 on the IB Higher-Level English A1 exam. Students who have not completed the Diploma, but who have earned a 5, 6, or 7 on the Higher-Level English A1 exam, will be considered for 3 hours of credit, subject to successful performance on the relevant final exams.
  • Students bringing college composition credit from an accredited community college course or dual enrollment will be exempt from taking English 150.

B. Students not exempt from English 150:

  • Students who receive a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Test in English Literature and Composition are not able to receive credit for English 150.  They will be granted 3 credit hours designated as English 1xx on the transcript.

II. Policies Concerning English 150

English 150 Writing and Research: Writing and reading for a variety of academic purposes including in-depth research. Oral presentation required. Prerequisite to all other English courses. English 150 is a Goal 2 course.


GOAL 2: The ability to write and speak logically, clearly, precisely, and the ability, through accurate reading and listening, to acquire, organize, present, and document information and ideas (3 credits).

Outcomes: Students will:

  • Understand and adapt to rhetorical and contextual differences in tasks involving writing, reading, speaking, and listening.
  • Engage in academic inquiry using and evaluating a variety of sources, incorporating and documenting source material appropriately, and avoiding plagiarism.
  • Develop flexible processes for engaging in academic writing.
  • Develop knowledge of conventions for different kinds of texts and demonstrate substantial control of the conventions of Edited American English.
  • Reflect on and make judgments about their own texts and writing processes 
    1. Writing assignments will total at least 4000 words including revisions. These will comprise texts written for a range of different purposes and audiences. Students will also be encouraged to use a variety of strategies in approaching academic writing tasks and to reflect on their own texts and writing strategies.
    2. Instructors of English 150 will adopt a rhetoric textbook from among three titles. The recommended titles will be determined from (1) nominations by the English faculty; (2) selection of a working list of 6-7 titles by members of the Composition Committee; that are (3) voted on by the English faculty. The list of three required rhetorics will be updated every three years, using these procedures.
    3. English 150 must include readings to be used as source materials and models for analysis.
    4. English 150 will include discussion of relationships between writing and speaking, as well as practice in oral communication skills. Examples of appropriate activities would be work-in-progress reports, formal and informal speeches, panel discussions, and PowerPoint presentations.
    5. All sections of English 150 will require a formal research paper and will provide instruction in methods of academic inquiry, in evaluation of sources (including Internet sources), in using and documenting source material appropriately, and in avoiding plagiarism. Instructors are encouraged to require multiple papers that incorporate and document source material.
    6. At least one essay in English 150 will be written in class.
    7. All English 150 faculty will confer individually with each of their students at least once a semester.
    8. The English 150 final exam will be given in class during the specified time period and will require at least one essay.
    9. English 150 will explicitly address conventions for different kinds of texts, in addition to developing students' control of Edited American English.
    10. All English 150 courses will be capped at 18. 

III. Policies Concerning English 400

ENGLISH 400. Active Citizenship: An Advanced Writing Seminar. Develops rhetorical skills needed for citizenship in a democracy. Includes interdisciplinary inquiry into and analysis of at least one significant public issue across all sections. Prerequisite: Fulfillment of Goals 2 and 3; 75 credit hours or permission of the Chair of the General Education Committee. 3 credits.

GOAL 14: The ability to synthesize and critically analyze through written discourse and a common educational experience information pertaining to issues of citizen leadership (three credits). The Goal is satisfied through an interdisciplinary advanced writing seminar under the ENGL prefix (ENGL 400) taken after the student has earned 75 credit hours or obtained the permission of the Chair of the General Education Committee.

Outcomes: Students will:

  • Engage in the process of citizen leadership by investigating multiple perspectives on an important public issue
  • Understand the nature of public discourse/debate as determined by purpose, audience, and context
  • Choose appropriate formats in writing for a variety of purposes
  • Analyze the effectiveness of their own texts and processes for specific rhetorical situations
  • Understand how the knowledge, skills, and values learned in general education are interwoven and interrelated, and how they can contribute to the process of citizen leadership
  1. Students will be encouraged to use a variety of composition strategies in approaching public writing tasks and to reflect on their own texts and writing strategies. 
  2. Students will produce finished documents totaling at least 4000 words (excluding revisions) across three distinct assignments. These assignments will comprise real-world texts written in preparation for and to audiences in the public sphere. At least one audience will be outside the university setting. 
  3. Students in all sections will write either a formal project proposal or formal project report, and will receive instruction in one or both of these genres of public writing. Students in all sections will also compose a formal letter to a specific audience, and will receive instruction in this genre of public writing. In addition, students may be asked to write: analyses of a public, civic issue; researched feature articles; opinion-editorial pieces; petitions; publicity documents (flyers, brochures, pamphlets, leaflets, posters to targeted audiences); websites; press releases; speeches; oral presentations for a particular setting/event/venue, or other digital or print forms of public, civic, and professional writing.
  4. Students will be required to read examples of public writing. These readings should include a variety of print or digital examples of classical texts, arguments, commentaries, charters, declarations, manifestoes, debates, petitions, editorials, local and national news writing, socially engaged works of literature, and other authentic forms of writing for public, civic, and professional purposes. 
  5. In all sections of English 400, the students' major projects will involve an interdisciplinary inquiry into and analysis of a public issue. This inquiry and analysis must involve real-world research appropriate to the topic. In addressing this public issue, students will also be required to use their discipline-specific knowledge and skills in a new context. 
  6. All English 400 sections will be capped at 18.

IV. Policies concerning Amendment

  1. Any new policy will require a majority of all English faculty before becoming a part of the By-Laws.
  2. To amend any existing policy will require a majority of all English faculty.
  3. Notification of a proposed change in the Composition By-Laws must be presented in writing to the Director of Composition who will inform all English faculty of the proposal and schedule a meeting to be held no sooner than two weeks and no later than three weeks to discuss and vote on the proposal.

Revised 12/01/2009