For Students

First-Year Writing

First-Year Writing Program
English Department
Dickson Hall 468

Director: Dr. Jessica Restaino
Assistant Director: Bonnie Dowd
First-Year Writing Faculty
Secretary: Phyllis Brooks

Office hours by appointment, Monday thru Thursday. 
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The First-Year Writing Program provides undergraduate students with coursework required to fulfill the University General Education Communication requirements in Writing and Reading.  These courses introduce students to the academic discourse of the university community.  The First-Year Writing program consists of three courses: Introduction to Writing (ENWR100), College Writing I: Intellectual Prose (ENWR105), and College Writing II: Writing and Literary Study (ENWR106).  

The Purposes of First-Year Writing Courses

Since good writing is so important, First-Year Writing coursework is required of every student in the university.  Although Montclair State students have, by their acceptance into the university, demonstrated significant abilities, writing in college is different from writing in high school.  In college, students are expected not only to have mastered formal conventions of good writing—control over topic, organization, grammar, mechanics, and usage—but also to have gained significant abilities in intellectual writing.  Intellectual writing is marked by compelling argumentation offering appropriate evidence and analysis.  The First-Year Writing courses, which collectively fulfill the general education requirements in reading and writing, require students to write argumentative essays based on intellectual prose or literature.  However, becoming an effective academic writer also means becoming an active or generative thinker and the ability to engage in generative thought cannot be directly taught for it is not reducible to a single set of skills.  Rather, writing and thinking are best learned as processes.  All First-Year Writing courses help students develop the fundamental abilities that are characteristic of an educated person: the ability to use writing to discover, refine, and pursue questions and the ability to use texts to search for, consider, and construct possible answers for those questions.  All of these courses are concerned with the kind of intellectual inquiry that drives learning in school, work, and everyday life.  Further, all of the courses are concerned with the uses of writing and reading, not just for obtaining and reporting information, but as vehicles for experiencing and thinking about problems in the world, in our communities, and in our own lives.

Introduction to Writing (ENWR 100)

Introduction to Writing serves to initiate students into the writing processes that enable most students to produce clear, meaningful, and intellectually valuable prose.  The course is a writing-intensive workshop that stresses the development of thinking and writing abilities through frequent writing assignments that engage freewriting, brainstorming, receiving and giving feedback to peers, revising through writing multiple drafts, and editing.  Through learning the processes of successful writing, students will amass a considerable quantity of writing.  While Introduction to Writing may be taken as an elective, it is required for those students whose performance during the First-Year Writing placement process indicates the need for intensive writing instruction before taking College Writing I.  Student writing will be prompted by a range of texts selected by the instructor and, in lieu of a final exam, students will complete a Portfolio of revised writing.  The central goal of ENWR 100: Introduction to Writing is to help students to become effective writers of intellectual arguments.  Note that the Introduction to Writing does not satisfy the Communication Requirement in Writing.  Class size: 15.

College Writing I: Intellectual Prose (ENWR 105)

A writing-intensive workshop course designeed to develop thinking and writing abilities through frequent writing assignments based on critical response to intellectually challenging questions.  Emphasis is on the writing process—prewriting, drafting, revising, using peer and teacher critique, editing, and proofreading.  While the minimum of five required essays will be prompted by a diversity of texts selected by the instruction, College Writing I includes an extensive documented essay that requires the student to engage their own academic research.  In lieu of a final exam, students will complete a Portfolio of revised writing.  The central goal of ENWR 105: College Writing I is not just to help students to become effective writers of intellectual arguments, but to also provide them with the critical thinking and research skills that are instrumental to a successful university education.  Combined with ENWR106, College Writing I meets Gen Ed 2002-Communication Requirement in Writing/Literature.  Also Meets the 1983 General Education Requirement (GER)-Communication in Writing. Class size: 19.

College Writing II: Writing and Literary Study (ENWR 106)

College Writing II builds on the basic writing strategies taught in College Writing I and extends the goal of helping students to become effective writers of intellectual arguments in response to literary works of fiction, poetry and drama.  Students continue to practice and develop as writers, but the focus in this course is on reading and interpreting literature.  A minimum of 6000 words of formal writing, including at least one documented essay that engages students in their own process of academic research, is required.  The central goal of ENWR 106: College Writing II is to help students expand upon their critical thinking and writing skills and build an appreciation of complex literary texts.  Combined with ENWR105, this course satisfies the GEN ED 2002-Communication Requirement in Writing/Literature.  Prerequisite: ENWR105: College Writing I or HONP100.  Class size: 19.

All students in the First-Year Writing courses can expect rigorous enforcement of the University's policy against academic dishonesty and plagiarism particularly.  The Student Handbook defines plagiarism, but students can and should seek further explanation of the University's Academic Dishonesty Policy, the First-Year Writing Program's page on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism, and from instructors and/or the staff of the Center for Writing Excellence.  Students who are caught plagiarizing can expect to fail the course and face disciplinary action.