First-Year Writing

The UNC Asheville First-Year Writing Program enhances our students’ awareness of the dynamic and diverse nature of writing, a practice of composition and communication in their many forms. Writing is central to education, not only as a product which may demonstrate skill, but also as a process by which to explore and focus thinking, listening, and communicating. We present writing not only as a means for entering existing conversations, but also as personal expression, for we endeavor to help students understand that academic writing is simultaneously a personal and a social act. The practice of writing requires time and a balance between working alone and interacting with other writers and readers. Our program works, then, to create learning spaces that hone students’ capacities to listen and speak, inquire and reflect, write and revise. In our classrooms, we work to empower students to make rhetorical decisions as they compose, challenging students to think critically and ethically as they make these decisions.

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LANG 120 – Academic Writing and Critical Inquiry

Emphasizes writing as a tool of discovery and analysis; practice in active, critical reading; and attention to rhetorical situations and choices. It also introduces students to various discourse communities, modes, and conventions; research and information literacy skills; and the revision process. A grade of C- or better is required. LANG 120 must be completed within the first two semesters of enrollment at UNC Asheville. Fall and Spring.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the completion of LANG 120, students will have developed writing processes to:

  • Engage in critical inquiry and reflection: Discover and refine critical questions and problems and investigate them from multiple perspectives.
  • Develop information literacy: Access, evaluate, and integrate relevant information from a variety of sources in an ethical manner.
  • Communicate in rhetorically effective ways: Craft and revise compositions marked by choices in focus, structure, and style appropriate for rhetorical purposes, audience expectations, and disciplinary conventions.

Common Practices

While UNCA’s Writing Program values professional autonomy, honoring our instructors’ prerogative to craft curricula based on classroom contexts, we share the following common practices in an effort to address our student learning outcomes:

  • Providing opportunities for students to practice:
    • reflective writing
    • personal writing
    • writing that puts sources in conversation with each other
    • analysis
    • summary
    • multimodality/digital rhetoric
    • writing to learn
  • Fostering awareness of context, audience, purpose, and a range of disciplinary or genre conventions
  • Building confidence with academic writing so that students see themselves as writers
  • Cultivating reading as a resource for learning to write: examining the moves writers make as examples of rhetorical decision making
  • Providing feedback through individual and group conferencing as well as peer review
  • Crafting curricula to reflect a range of voices and experiences based upon race, gender, sexuality, abilities, socioeconomics, ideologies, and epistemologies and to reflect diverse modalities–including but not limited to materials (readings, podcasts, videos, etc.), guest speakers, research methodology, and field experience
  • Assessing student work in a way that facilitates engagement and learning, promotes student agency and responsibility, aligns with our commitment to equity, and supports students’ use of their own languages. Conceiving of assessment in terms of collective commitment as opposed to hierarchical judgment
  • Fostering awareness of writing as an iterative process in ways that encourage creativity, risk-taking, and intrinsic motivation
  • Connecting students with university resources (library, writing center, media design lab, advising,  etc.)
  • Promoting information literacy through thorough and ethical integration of relevant and varied information
  • Practicing community established assessment

Professional Practices

Because we are professionals, we also commit to participating in reflective practice, professional development, and academic engagement through our own initiatives and as our individual schedules allow. Our program provides the following opportunities:

Petition for Waiver Guidelines

Students requesting that their LANG 120 requirement be waived should submit the following documentation to the First-Year Writing Coordinator via this Google Form:

  1. Catalogue description of the General Education writing requirement from previous institution.
  2. Catalogue description and syllabus of college-level writing course(s) submitted to waive LANG 120.
  3. Proof of student’s final grade for any courses submitted as part of a request to replace LANG 120.
  4. Description, in student’s own words, of how their work in (a) prior course(s) addresses LANG 120’s student learning outcomes and/or involved writing in a variety of genres.
  5. A writing sample (must include research writing) in cases where students have not taken a college-level writing class (such as in cases in which students exempted a college writing requirement with a 4 for only one AP English exam).

NOTE: Post-baccalaureates are exempt from LANG 120. However, if they have concerns about their proficiency, they are encouraged to meet with the First-Year Writing Coordinator for advising on directed self-placement.