First Year English

First Year English at USCB

First Year English Student

Hello Sand Sharks! As the Writing Program Administrator at USCB, I am excited to welcome you to First-Year English (FYE)! You read and write more words in an average day than any generation who has ever lived—you are readers and writers. But reading and writing effectively in college and in our communities requires you to develop a new set of skills. That's what First-Year English is for. Together, we're going to learn how to use texts to communicate, to persuade, to engage. I can't wait to get started—

Dr. Sarah Swofford
Assistant Professor of Composition and Rhetoric
Writing Program Administrator

WHY take FYE?

  1. You will need to read analytically and write effectively in nearly every class you take at USCB. Success in FYE sets you up for success in college. Research shows that students who do well in FYE are more likely to graduate than students who do not (Goodman and Pascarella, NCTE, Porter and Swing, Garrett et al.).
  2. You will need to communicate effectively in writing to get and keep the job you want. We live in an era when more workplace communication takes place in writing than any other method. It doesn't matter what job you want, you'll need to be able to write well. It's little wonder that the Job Outlook 2019, though the National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that written communication skills are the #1 skill employers look for--82% of employers rank written communication as the most sought-after skill for future employees.
  3. You need to be able to participate in your community. We all have responsibilities as citizens of the communities we belong to—whether those communities are in your family, religious community, your political involvement, your local community or the communities you seek in online spaces from Reddit threads to grassroots organizing. However you engage in the world around you, you will need to be able to use texts (reading and writing) to work with other people who share your goals.

WHICH Courses Do I Need?

First Year English StudentWe have two required courses in FYE. Every student at USCB needs credit for English 101: Composition and Rhetoric and English 102: Composition and Literature to graduate.

WHAT will I learn?

English 101 and 102 are designed to help you read and write more effectively—and to help you understand why it matters to study writing and literature. You took English classes in high school—but English 101 and 102 are different. Your professor will have some different expectations of you than your high school English teacher did. Here are some of the things your English professors love to see our students do in English 101 and 102:

  • when my students can accurately and meaningfully assess their own writing and process as they become increasingly comfortable throughout the semester.—Dr. Hoffer
  • when my students latch onto a piece of reading and make it come alive for themselves, and when they are game enough to try new things with their writing, and then they start to see that it actually works.—Dr. Swofford
  • when students are reading and writing for reasons other than getting a good grade.—Dr. Kilgore
  • when I look at my students during class discussion, and I can see some of them are absorbed in ideas in ways that surprise them and me. —Dr. Barnes

HOW will I read and write in FYE?

To put it simply—you'll read and write with purpose. You'll read academic and literary texts, but also the kind of texts you encounter every day—billboards, videos, memes, even text messages. You'll learn to make new meaning with and through texts, and how to get different audiences to really understand what you're trying to convey. You'll learn how to take the skills you develop in English and use them to do well in other classes, get a job, express yourself, find your voice—the possibilities are only limited by the work and energy you decide to put into these classes. Everyone can write. If you engage in these classes with a willing spirit, we can show you how.

WHERE can I get help?

  1. Your professors are here to help! Office hours are the time we set aside to work with our students. Set up an appointment with your professor to clarify questions about assignments, get help when you're "stuck," or extend our class conversations. If you're working on a draft, office hours are also a great way to get some feedback and see if you're on the right track.
  2. The Writing Center is a FREE resource to currently-enrolled USCB students. Click here to make an appointment with a Writing Center tutor. Our tutors are students just like you, so they understand how it feels to write for your classes. Tutors are specially trained to help you brainstorm ideas, organize drafts, make sure your project fits the assignment—and much much more! What's more, the Writing Center isn't just for English 101 and 102—the tutors in the Writing Center can help you with writing for any of your classes at USCB! Click here (or drop by to try for a walk-in appointment) and visit the Writing Center.