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College of Communication & Creative Arts - Writing Arts

Rowan University

The Five Core Values of the First-Year Writing Program

The core values of the Rowan University First-Year Writing (FYW) program, first developed by the General Education Subcommittee of the Department of Writing Arts over a period of two years, represent specific goals and outcomes statements for First-Year Writing Program courses: Foundations for College Writing, College Composition I and Integrated College Composition I, and College Composition II. Students present portfolios at the end of each semester, and these allow us to evaluate student progress based on these goals and outcomes statements. Upon completion of the First-Year Writing Program course sequence, students will fully understand the five core values.


Core Value I. Understand that writing is a practice which involves a multi-stage, recursive and social process.

Students come to experience writing as a collection of practices and processes that involve multiple, recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development. They also come to understand that these writing practices and processes are social and interactive.

The recursiveness of writing is embodied in non-linear composing activities, which include reading, inventing, collaborating, drafting, reviewing, reflecting, responding to feedback, rereading, rewriting, revising, and editing. While the concept of process is most “visible” in the drafts of students’ final portfolios, the invention stages of writing are equally important and extensive.


Core Value II. Understand that close and critical reading/analysis allows writers to understand how and why texts create meaning.

Students come to understand that writing—their own and others’—is a process that creates, shapes, and conveys meaning, and that texts represent conversations between self, other texts, and the world. This recognizes that meaning is generated intertextually; that is, texts build upon and respond to other texts, and texts can be placed in conversation with one another. Students explore and develop ideas by closely and critically reading texts, analyzing and synthesizing ideas so as to enter into new conversations in their writing. Students learn that texts represent meanings in different ways in different settings, disciplines, and discourse communities. Students also come to understand that texts are not limited to alphabetic and print texts, but also include visual and electronic texts.


Core Value III. Understand that writing is shaped by audience, purpose, and context.

Students come to understand that all texts are rhetorically situated and can be analyzed using the rhetorical elements of purpose(s), audience(s), and context(s). Students can rhetorically analyze their own texts and those of others to understand how writers shape and create texts and to understand the options available to them as purposeful writers. Students understand writing as a social communicative act which involves the creation of a purposeful message for a perceived audience. Students also understand that audience expectations, such as textual conventions, vary according to situations or genres.


Core Value IV: Understand the role of information literacy in the practice of writing.

Students come to understand that the informed writing associated with academic discourse expects writers to contextualize their own writing within existing conversations and provide sources and evidence beyond their own personal experiences and opinions. Students learn the importance of illustrations and evidence to support their own ideas and interpretations. Students will develop their information literacy skills in a digital environment and be able to locate, evaluate, select, and incorporate appropriate information to create rhetorically savvy writing.


Core Value V. Understand the ethical dimensions of writing.

Students become aware that the practice of writing is personal, public, and social and thus has ethical ramifications for themselves and others. As such, students develop the ability to conscientiously read, analyze, and research topics so as to understand their complexity and ramifications and to ethically represent ideas to others in their own writing. In addition to the rather broad social responsibilities of research and writing, students develop an understanding of their accountability to the intellectual community as a whole, and to the university in particular, which includes the practices associated with academic integrity, such as accurately representing the ideas of others and acknowledging sources of information appropriately through citation.