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First-Year Writing and the Integrative Core Curriculum

First-year writing classes make up the courses for the foundational writing experience in the Integrative Core Curriculum. In these courses, students will gain knowledge of the expectations of academic writing, including the discovery and revision components of the writing process, and other principles of coherent and persuasive writing. This course will focus on the development of fundamental writing skills not tied to any particular discipline.

Writing placement at entry to John Carroll will determine whether a student takes one or two courses in composition.

Students who need developmental writing will take two 3-credit courses. Other students will take one 3-credit course.

Competence in written expression will be further developed through writing required in all integrated courses and in one writing-intensive course in the major.

Learning Outcomes

Below are the learning outcomes for foundational competency in written expression. To achieve effective writing in an academic context, students must demonstrate competency in the following:

1) Articulation of an argument
  • Select and develop an appropriately complex argument, given audience, purpose, and length requirements.
  • Develop and support an argument appropriate to context, audience, and purpose.
2) Source Integration
  • Locate, engage with, and integrate evidence into your own argument.
3) Ethical Documentation
  • Avoid plagiarism and include all important citation information.
4) Control of Syntax and Mechanics
  • Use language that conveys meaning to readers with clarity.

Standard Course Offerings

EN 125, 120, 121

The English Department offers two first-year writing tracks. Most students will take English 125 during either their first or second semester.

English 125 instructors are encouraged to teach a standard syllabus, where students are asked to complete four major projects. One of the goals of English 125 is to teach writing as a means of critical inquiry, stressing the centrality of writing to intellectual life. In English 125, you will learn how academic arguments are made in response to pre-existing arguments. Because good writing cannot be disassociated from careful reading, you will grapple with a diverse body of interrelated and sometimes difficult readings. Students who earn a grade below C- will be required to re-take the course.

English 120 provides additional practice in the reading and writing of expository prose for students who have placed below EN 125. Once students complete EN 120, with a grade of “D” or higher, they then proceed to EN 121. Students who earn a grade below C- in EN 121 will be required to re-take the course.

While individual classes will differ, First-Year Writing courses have several common aims. They are designed to provide a context in which you can begin to think of writing as the means by which you can learn and examine ideas in relation to those of others. These courses are also designed to prepare you to write for all your classes at John Carroll, offering practice in the rhetorical and stylistic strategies useful in academic writing. These strategies should help you to engage with writing in a wide variety of academic, professional, public, and private contexts.