Writing in the Discipline

English 201 and English 202

 

The English Department has identified writing instruction as a significant component of our mission — from introductory level courses (Writing 100, English 161/100), to the sophomore level (205-206-207), to the senior capstone seminar (English 460). We recognize that writing is integrally related to analyzing and responding to literature. We directly address the kinds of writing particular to the discipline of literary studies in English 201, English 202, and English 460. While the capstone seminar, English 460, focuses on discipline-specific writing on an advanced level, the Elementary Education English content majors are not required to take 460, which eliminates it from the WID category. For students in all other tracks of the English major--Liberal Arts, Creative Writing, and Secondary Education--the 460 builds on the disciplinary writing skills learned in English 201 and 202 (both required courses).

 

We, therefore, propose English 201 and 202 as our WID courses. The guidelines and assessments below are ones we have already established for 201 and 202.

 

English 201: Introduces students to formal literary analysis, with attention to close reading and their acquisition of critical vocabulary, methodology, and MLA style. Students are introduced to the conventions of disciplinary writing through three papers, one of which is substantially revised.

 

Guidelines

 

1.     All sections will require a handbook of literary terms (e.g., Abrams) and the MLA Handbook.

2.     All sections will introduce the conventions and practice of critical writing in the discipline and will require three 4-6 page critical analytic essays, one of which must be revised substantially.

3.     All sections will require a final exam.

4.     All sections will introduce literary study as a field under debate and will draw attention to the assumptions we make as readers in order to create meaning.

5.     All sections will draw readings from a range of historical periods.

6.     All sections will introduce the concept of genre---including forms of non-literary texts such as film, television, Internet websites, advertisements.

7.     All sections will teach students to recognize major traditional literary forms: prose fiction (short story and novel); drama; poetry.

8.     All sections will introduce the major critical concepts/terms of literary study.

9.     All sections will introduce the concept of secondary sources and will provide practice in reading and summarizing a critical article.

10.                        All sections will require that in their three essays, students demonstrate their ability to structure, develop, and properly format a literary argument/interpretation that uses quotes from the text.

 

201 assessment:

 

All sections of English 201 will include a section on a final or midterm exam requiring students to perform a close reading of a short poem or poetic passage. Individual instructors will choose the poem or passage for attention and grade the students in their sections. The instructors will report the results to the chair or his/her designate as follows: the number of student responses; the number of students who scored 75 or better; the number of students who scored below 75.

 

English 202: Introduces students to more theoretical or critical frameworks for literary analysis. In English 202 students learn about the various ways professional literary scholars write about literary, non-print, and cultural phenomenon. The course also helps students question the ways we read and write about texts. As in 201, students learn MLA style and are assessed on it. They produce three papers of varying lengths, one of which is substantially revised.

 

Guidelines:

1.     All sections will require a library tour, with an introduction by the reference librarian to major tools---online and traditional---for research in English.

2.     All sections will require three essays of varying lengths, one of which must be revised substantially; one of the essays should analyze a work (or works) of theory or criticism.

3.     All sections will introduce literary study as a contested field of study and will introduce theory and criticism as historically constituted practices.

4.     All sections will require readings from at least three recent theoretical paradigms.

5.     All sections will include primary works of literary theory (not overviews or introductions).

6.     All sections will include a limited number of literary texts from a variety of traditional genres; non-literary texts such as film, TV, web sites, ads, and/or other forms of cultural phenomena; and critical works on the literary and non-literary texts.

7.     All sections will present the opportunity for students to study divergent and multiple readings of at least one of the literary or non-literary texts.

8.     All sections will teach students how to do research on literary and non-literary texts using both traditional and online resources.

9.     All sections will require that in their essays, students demonstrate their understanding of the theoretical paradigms from which readings have been drawn and use proper MLA documentation.

 

202 assessments:

All sections of English 202 will include two assessment assignments:

1.     By the end of the term, instructors will test students’ knowledge of MLA requirements by giving an assignment (either as part of an exam or as an independent assignment) along the following lines:

•give students the title page of a journal and the first page of an article from that issue with a notation giving the article’s final page number.

•ask each student to write a sentence of his/her own into which a quote from the article is incorporated, with proper MLA citation.

•ask each student to write an entry for a Works Cited page for that article.

 

2.     By the end of the term, instructors will assign the following exercise over the course of 3-4 class periods:

•choose a theoretical concept/term from the reading and define it with rigorous specificity in 2-3 sentences.

•develop an idea related to that definition that is a step beyond the definition;

•identify 2-3 points of possible further development.

•apply the concept/term and definitions to an imaginative text discussed in class.

•in a single sentence, explain a different term/concept to which you might link these ideas.

 

The instructors will report the results of each of the assessment exercise to the chair or his/her designate as follows: for each one, the number of student responses; the number of students who scored 75 satisfactory, the number who scored outstanding and the number who scored unsatisfactory.

 

Approved by the Committee on General Education

April 27, 2012