Department of English


As a college student, you can count on having to write papers.  That's a fact of academic life, regardless of your major.  College Writing will introduce you to the practices and conventions of expository academic writing.  Through reading, discussion and writing, you will discover how to develop and articulate your ideas.

A central strategy of College Writing is the repetition of the writer's process of drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading.  Both reading and writing assignments often build on your previous work.  You may use new reading to raise questions about essays read earlier, and re-visit ideas and language in writing that may initially have appeared to be finished.  Student writing will frequently be the focus of workshops that may be devoted to peer revision, to discussions of the writing process and of the rhetorical, grammatical and stylistic conventions of college writing.

While individual sections of College Writing will be shaped by the instructor's approach, each section should include the following writing exercises:

WRITING: You should expect to write 5-6 essays, 4 of which are a minimum of four pages in length, producing a minimum of 20-25 typed pages of final draft writing.  College Writing teaches writing practices such as paraphrase, citation and quotation, and may include a short research assignment.

TEXTS: You will use an anthology or packet of readings and Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference.  

COMPUTERS: You are expected to type your essays in order to facilitate revision.  USM has computer labs available free to students.  Knowledgeable resource people can teach you the programs and assist with problems. Writing and revising your essays, you are likely to print 60 pages or more over the course of the semester. Please keep money on your USM card for printing on campus.

GRADING: Your instructor will provide you with an outline of evaluation standards and explain the criteria for grading.  At different times, instructors may emphasize certain criteria over others.

ATTENDANCE: College Writing is a workshop course.  Engaging in discussion and revision is central to your work in this course.  Missing more than 3 classes for any reason will affect your grade.  If you miss more than 5 classes you risk failing the course.

INSTRUCTORS' INDIVIDUAL POLICIES: Each College Writing instructor will have varying policies on late work, make-up work, forms of written work, incompletes, etc.  During the first week of class, each instructor will distribute a course syllabus explaining these policies.