First Year Writing Instructors' Handbook

This site for teachers of first-year writing is designed to provide relevant information about policy and practice and answer some basic questions that Composition faculty in UNC Asheville's Department of Literature and Language may have about the program.

The First-Year Writing Program at UNC Asheville

Erica with student writing

The First-Year Writing Program at UNC Asheville is supported not only by the faculty of the Department of Literature and Language, but by all other academic departments and the University Writing Center, located in Room 216 of Ramsey Library. Dr. Deborah James is Director of UNC Asheville’s First-Year Writing, and Jessica Pisano serves as the Associate Director.

Academic Writing and Critical Inquiry: Course Description

This course emphasizes writing as a tool of discovery and analysis; practice in active, critical reading; and attention to audience, purpose, and structure. It also introduces students to writing conventions of various discourse communities. A grade of C- or better is required. Fall and Spring.  


Most students are required to take Language 120. Students may exempt the course if they have equivalent (4 hours, with a grade of C- or better) transfer credit or have earned a 5 on the Advanced Placement exam. All questions and appeals for exception should be directed to Dr. Dee James, Director of First-Year Writing.

Class Rolls

A detailed or summary class list – including photos - for each course section is available through OnePort.

Override Policy

Students will not be accepted into already closed sections of LANG 120 classes except in special cases. Any such requests should be made to Dr. Deborah James, Director of First-Year Writing.

Working in a Computer Lab

If you wish for your class to work occasionally or regularly in a computer classroom, contact Silke Crombie and ask if she can schedule you into a computer lab during the time that your class meets. She is at, phone 828.250.3832.

Stephanie and Julia in class


Password-protected classroom technology is available to all instructors. Workshops in getting started using this technology, as well as using specific functions such as forums, wikis, gradebooks and setting up assignments and quizzes are offered frequently by John Myers of the Classroom and Instructional Tech Support staff.


Other Opportunities for Student Writing Experiences

Service Learning

Each section of Language 120 may participate in community service projects (usually to a non-profit agency or a school) to enhance the academic goals of the course. Ten to fifteen hours of service is usual; and the essential linking can take place in a number of ways, written, oral, or other (see below).

Reflecting on the connections between their service project and their other class assignments gives students an excellent opportunity to experience an important aspect of liberal arts education: the creative application of “book-learning” to life and to leadership. Service-learning is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about the complex society, and complex culture, in which they will be working, raising families, and serving as leaders. Not only will students be helping others--which is in itself a good thing -- but they also will be realizing a core value of their UNC Asheville education: the ability to make connections and to use the mind creatively.

How can performing service increase students’ understanding of what they’re learning in class? The Key Center for Service Learning has found that their experience on-site affects how students interpret related texts and how they analyze their interpretations. Service-learning projects help students become more conscious of their own -- and others’ -- world-views and biases. The service gives them questions to ask the texts; the texts challenge them to see the fuller reality of the people at their service-site; as a result, both their learning and their world become more real to them. To explore the possibility of adding a service-learning component to class, contact or visit the Key Center in 212 Highsmith Union. A representative of the Key Center will visit your class to talk with the students, explaining the process and the options available to them.