First Year Writing Program
Dr. S. April Toadvine, Director
First-year writing courses at Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge Campus, are intended to provide students with skills essential to succeed in their undergraduate education. Writing in multiple modes, students learn to articulate and respond to arguments in context for a variety of audiences.
All undergraduates are mandated to take the two-semester sequence of first-year writing: English 101 and 102. For students whose test scores indicate a need for further support, the English Department offers ENGL 090, a prerequisite preparatory course intended to aid students in developing writing skills before taking the first semester of the writing sequence. As an alternative to the prerequisite course, support is also offered in the form of corequisite coursework which can support SENL 101 during the same semester. While the completed SENL 101 with a minimum grade of C counts toward the graduation credit for Composition, ENGL 090 counts for elective credit.
ENGL 090B: DEVELOPMENTAL ENGLISH (Credit, 3 hours). Focus on writing skills considered essential for success in college-level courses. Review of standard English: grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. Includes practical application of these conventions through sentences and, ultimately, the paragraph. Requires mandatory laboratory participation. (For students with a standard score of 17 and below on the English area of the ACT and 440 and below on the English area of the SAT.)
SENL 101B: FRESHMAN COMPOSITION I (Credit, 3 hours). Emphasis on writing as a learning, thinking process. Discussion of and practice in strategies used in prewriting, writing, and revising expressive, informative, analytical and argumentative essays. Special sections designated for honors students.
SENL 102B: FRESHMAN COMPOSITION II (Credit, 3 hours). Emphasis on teaching students to write multi-paragraph essays utilizing standard English. These expository essays will clearly state, logically develop, and adequately support one idea. Strategies learned in SENL 101 in prewriting, writing, and revising essays will be reemphasized. Special sessions will be devoted to writing a documented paper. Prerequisite: SENL 101
Each section will focus on the same goals, but will differ based on individual instructor decisions about assignments and readings.
Students in SENL 101 and 102 will be able to compete in a recurring essay contest sponsored by the English Department. Past winners have won prize money and have been included in the textbook for the class. For more information about the contest, contact Dr. Ali Rezaie, firstname.lastname@example.org
The textbook for SENL 101 and 102 is a text created by faculty specifically for use of first-year students. The text is the following:
English and Philosophy Program, Southern University and A & M College. SUBR English Composition Handbook: English 101/102. Hayden-McNeil/Macmillan, 2020. (E-book)
The editor of this text, Dr. Ali Rezaie, and associate editors, Dr. April Toadvine and Dr. Christine Jeansonne, developed the text with the goal of providing students at Southern University, Baton Rouge campus, with specific instruction and models of each mode of writing they will develop in their two-semester course sequence.
Evaluation and Assessment
At the end of the two-semester sequence, students in SENL 102 take the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE) to show that they have reached proficiency in crafting arguments, in other words, making and supporting a thesis-based claim about a topic. For information about the exam, contact Dr. Rasheedah Jenkins, WPE Coordinator, email@example.com
Students who have taken composition coursework at other institutions should be sure that the credits have transferred by checking with the Registrar. A Transfer Course Evaluation Form, available on the Registrar’s webpage, must be filled in and submitted, along with related documents, to the department chair for his or her evaluation and approval before turning it in to the Registrar’s office. Transfer students who have already taken the equivalent of both courses elsewhere still need to take the WPE as a graduation requirement, and should check with the coordinator, Dr. Rasheedah Jenkins, to schedule it.
Support for First-Year Writers
The English Department supports first-year writing students in the Writing Den, which offers helpful tutorial services both online and in-person in Harris Hall room 2024. The Director of the Writing Den, Jesus Avila, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Writing Den can be reached at email@example.com. See the Writing Den page on the SUBR website for information about how to schedule a session with a writing tutor.
Evolution of the Program
During quality enhancement work at Southern University, first-year composition students were identified as particularly vulnerable and in need of resources to aid in successful course completion. As a result, the program has developed by adding more flexibility and resources for students. The addition of corequisite coursework and the development of the Writing Den as a resource for first-year writers are the start of a process intended to help students succeed as writers in their time at Southern University.