The composition program at FMU is a three-course sequence in which we invite students to see writing as “problem-exploring” and “problem-solving,” a stance which encourages critical thinking about all aspects of the writing process.
To this end, our courses–English 111, 112, and 200–encourage students to consider all of the elements of the writing situation before tackling a writing assignment and then reflect on their writing choices and strategies. We believe that taking a problem-solving approach to writing that encourages self-assessment develops a habit of mind that will help students to be effective writers across the university.
Our three-course sequence is based in part on the work of writing researcher Anne Beaufort, who argues that students need instruction in five different knowledge domains in order to succeed in writing projects: discourse community knowledge, subject matter knowledge, genre knowledge, rhetorical knowledge, and writing process knowledge.
This course focuses on helping students with writing process knowledge and rhetorical knowledge as students explore the components of the writing process, reflect on their own processes, and practice writing about familiar topics to familiar audiences. Read more about English 111’s learning objectives.
The second course in the sequence introduces more complicated knowledge about the relationship between rhetorical knowledge and discourse communities. Furthermore, students learn to analyze and create academic arguments and engage in research, thus building knowledge of subject matter and genre. Read more about English 112’s learning objectives.
The final course in the composition sequence acts as the capstone course for the student’s writing instruction, focuses on the multiple genres and writing practices of disciplines and fields of study across and beyond the university. Read more about English 200’s learning objectives.
Overall, the composition program seeks to:
- Prepare students to use language conventions and styles for writing in a variety of rhetorical situations.
- Deepen students’ understanding of the power and influence of written, digital, and visual texts, both those they read and those they write themselves.
- Develop students’ information literacy.
- Guide students through processes of reflection so they can evaluate and improve their reading and writing practices.
We invite students and FMU faculty outside of the English department to browse our glossary of key terms to learn more about the core concepts on which the department’s composition program is built.
For additional information about the Composition program at FMU, contact Director Dr. Rachel Spear (r s p e a r [at] f m a r i o n [dot] e d u) or Assistant Director Dr. Shel Veenstra (m v e e n s t r a [at] f m a r i o n [dot] e d u).