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Welcome to the First-Year Writing Program

The First-Year Writing Program offers two first-year writing courses: ENG 100 (College Writing I) and the General Education first-year writing requirement: ENG 110 (College Writing II). Students are placed into each course based on their English Placement Test score.

The First-Year Writing Program seeks to support its students in becoming confident writers with the skills and concepts they need to participate in conversations that span a wide array of rhetorical situations. We teach writing as a recursive activity that requires flexible writing and thinking strategies, as an opportunity to participate in a variety of discourse communities (professional and academic), and as a powerful tool for change in the world.

In addition to working with colleagues in the English Department, the First-Year Writing Program also works in close collaboration with the Writing Center, the Writing in the Major Program, and the University's General Education Program.

Please contact the First-Year Writing Program Coordinator, Dr. Darci Thoune, if you have questions about any of the information on this site.

START 2023 Information

Welcome to UWL's First-Year Writing Program (FYWP)! If you have any questions regarding your placement into ENG 100 or ENG 110, please consult the Placement Tab on the FYWP website. If at any point you need additional help, please contact the First-Year Writing Program Coordinator, Dr. Darci Thoune.

For special situations, complex circumstances, conflicting information, or if your questions can't be answered with the information on the FYWP website, we recommend chatting with an advisor from the English Department at a START Academic Information Station during your visit to campus. You can also reach out to the First-Year Writing Program Coordinator, Dr. Darci Thoune if you have questions before or after your START date.

Below you will find screencasts that will help you to find answers to your questions about taking the Wisconsin English Placement Test (WEPT), how to interpret your placement results, and how placement works in the FYWP. You will also find answers to some commonly asked questions during START. 

How Do I Take the Wisconsin English Placement Test (WEPT)?

The Wisconsin English Placement Test (WEPT) is offered online, which means you’ll be taking it at home and on your own computer. For more information on how to take the WEPT, please visit the UWL Testing Center or register for your placement test at the UW Placement Testing Center.

Please note that taking the WEPT is not optional and is required for all incoming students to UWL. If you have questions about your placement score or your placement into ENG 100, please consult the Placement Tab on the FYWP website.

Finding Your Placement Scores in WINGS

If you have already taken the WEPT, you may find your scores on your START Registration Form. However, if you've only taken the WEPT this week, it is likely that WINGS contains the most up-to-date information regarding your placement test results. As soon as they are available, your WEPT test results will be available in WINGS. 

To find your WEPT results in WINGS, first log into WINGS and then go to your Academics homepage. In the selection bar, choose "Test Score Results" and click the blue button to confirm. 

WINGS screen capture

Then, you'll see your page that looks similar to this, depending on the tests (AP, ACT, EPT, etc) you have taken. Look for the category "Wisconsin Regional Placement" and then the "ENGL" line.  If you have not taken the WEPT test or if your WEPT scores have not yet been imported, this block will not show up in your WINGS account.

WINGS screen capture (2)You'll also have scores from any of the Wisconsin placement exams you've taken. Your WEPT (ENGL) score information will dictate which first-year writing course(s) you'll be taking.

What Is the Difference between CST 110 and ENG 110?

In high school, you may have studied oral or spoken presentations (like speeches) as part of your English Language Arts classes. However, at the university level, oral communication is studied in Communication Studies, and written communication is studied in the English Department .

Every UWL student is required to take a General Education first-year course in writing (ENG 110 or ENG 112, through the English Department) AND in speaking (CST 110, through the Communication Studies department).

You can take them in any order, as long as you take them both within your first 30 credits. Most students take one course in the fall semester of their first year and the other in the spring semester. This is why it is highly unlikely that you have BOTH CST 110 and ENG 110 on your schedule for Fall 2024 semester.

Additional Resources

UWL's Writing Center

The Writing Center is a student-funded space where you can work with trained peer tutors on any writing task, for any class, at any stage of the writing process.

Writing Center

English Department Major and Minor Programs

Visit the English Department for more information on their majors and minors

ENG 110/112 Placement

The First-Year Writing Program uses the Wisconsin English Placement Test (WEPT) to place students into ENG 100 or ENG 110. Students can retake the WEPT once, however it needs to be taken in person at UWL. For more information, please contact Criss Gilbert in Counseling and Testing.

If you feel your placement is inaccurate, you will need to make an appointment with Dr. Darci Thoune before the end of the drop/add period.

Understanding Your ENG 100/110 Placement Scores

WEPT Score < 335

WEPT Score > 340

ENG 100, College Writing I

ENG 110, College Writing II

Wisconsin English Placement Test (WEPT)

All students at UWL are expected to have taken the WEPT unless they are transferring in ENG 110 credit from another institution or they have scored a 5 on either of the AP English exams. For more information on how to take the WEPT, visit the Testing Center.

ENG 100--College Writing I

This course offers students practice in and strategies for developing writing skills in post-secondary academic contexts. Students read, write, and engage in a variety of activities that provides them with opportunities to practice effective writing processes, to develop flexible habits of mind, and to engage in writing research practices.

Students are placed into ENG 100 through the use of WEPT scores. Students placing into ENG 100 will take that course as a prerequisite before taking ENG 110 (College Writing II), the course that satisfies the General Education writing requirement. 

ENG 110--College Writing II

In this college-level writing course, students practice writing for a wide range of audiences within and outside the university. Students develop skills in analysis, work with a variety of genres, and engage in both primary and secondary research practices. This course emphasizes revision, reflection, collaboration, research ethics, and the use of rhetorical strategies as key components of the writing process. (Students who qualify with a grade of "C" or better in ENG 110 are exempt from further writing requirements in the general education skills category, but this does not exempt students from the writing emphasis course requirements. Students receiving a grade less than "C" must repeat ENG 110.)

Students are placed into ENG 110 through the use of WEPT scores. 

Advanced Placement 

Students who score a 3 or a 4 on either AP English exam will receive General Education credit towards graduation. However, the First-Year Writing Program  also uses these scores to place students in the appropriate level of first-year writing. An AP English test score of 3 or 4 places students into ENG 110. Students who score a 5 on either AP English exam will be exempt from the first-year writing requirement. For more information about how AP credit transfers to UWL, visit the Admissions website on AP/IB/CLEP Credit

Transfer Students

If you are a transfer student and you believe that you have already satisfied the first-year writing requirement at UWL, please contact Dr. Darci Thoune.  Be prepared to share transcripts, course descriptions, syllabi, and/or writing samples from previous courses.

Is ENG 110 Offered Online or in a Hybrid Format? 

Yes, we do offer hybrid and online sections of ENG 110. However, while we do offer hybrid sections of ENG 110 in the fall, we typically only offer online sections of ENG 110 in the spring and in the summer. We do not offer sections of ENG 110 over the J-Term.

My Friend Is in ENG 110 and Their Class Is Different than Mine--Why?

One of the many strengths of our First-Year Writing Program is that our instructors have complete autonomy over their courses. Therefore, while we all share the same student learning outcomes for ENG 110, there are many approaches to teaching this class--and that’s a good thing! If you have questions about the work you’re doing in your first-year writing class, please have a chat with your writing instructor or make an appointment with Dr. Darci Thoune.

When Should I Take ENG 110?

You are required to take ENG 110 within the first 30 credits earned at the University. It is recommended that you do not enroll in ENG 110 and CST 110 at the same time.

Can I Take ENG 110 and ENG 2XX at the Same Time?

No--ENG 110 is prerequisite for ENG 200-level courses.

ENG 100 (College Writing I) Student Learning Outcomes

Student who complete this course should be able to

  • describe, discuss, and reflect on their reading, writing, and research habits and practices. 
  • identify specific skills and techniques for developing recursive and flexible writing processes. 
  • evaluate and incorporate feedback from peers and instructors. 
  • practice writing as a collaborative activity. 
  • engage in a full writing process including invention, drafting, and revision. 
  • use primary and secondary resources in writing research. 

ENG 110 (College Writing II) Student Learning Outcomes

Genre 

Students who complete English 110/112 with a C or better should be able to 

  • Explain how genre characteristics shape and are shaped by readers’ and writers’ practices and purposes.  
  • Read and write a variety of genres (both academic and non-academic). 
  • Write effectively in response to a variety of situations, contexts, and audiences (within and outside the university) that may call for shifts in voice, tone, formality, design, and medium. 

Critical Inquiry and Research  

Students who complete English 110/112 with a C or better should be able to 

  • Ask and investigate complex questions through inquiry, critical thinking, and analysis. 
  • Read and write to learn and communicate in various contexts. 
  • Describe how to conduct primary and secondary research. 
  • Engage in substantial research activities that include using ethical research practices, evaluating the quality of primary and secondary research materials, and designing and refining research strategies. 
  • Integrate their own ideas with those from primary and secondary research materials through interpretation, synthesis, response, critique, and/or design of texts. 

Composing Processes 

Students who complete English 110/112 with a C or better should be able to  

  • Apply flexible strategies for reading, drafting, reviewing, collaborating, revising, rewriting, rereading, editing, and using tools and technology to practice writing as a recursive process. 
  • Engage in the collaborative and social practices of writing communities, including giving and using feedback from peers and their writing instructors, using reading to consider and reconsider ideas, and using discussion to support the writing process. 
  • Reflect on the development of their composing practices and how those practices influence their work as writers. 

Adopted by The English Department spring 2024.

Writing Center

The University of Wisconsin La Crosse's Writing Center located at the Learning Center in 256 Murphy Library, is a major resource to all students. Anybody can go to the Writing Center to get help whether you need help with an ENG 110/112 writing assignment or editing a Senior Portfolio piece.  
Writing Center

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

The Purdue OWL is one of the best writing resources available online. The OWL offers several resources including writing and teaching writing, research, grammar and mechanics, style guides, ESL (English as a Second Language), and job search and professional writing resources.  
OWL

Murphy Library

The campus library has many resources for students that include online article databases, course reserves online and offline, books for research and pleasure reading, newspapers, government information, interlibrary loan, computers and printers, quiet study areas, and reference librarians to help students find hard to find information. 
Murphy Library

UWL FYWP and WC Joint Position Statement on GenAI and Writing  

We understand that for many faculty we’re at a terrifying crossroads—do we contend with Generative AI (GenAI) in our classrooms even though it seems to shift by the minute and we’re all already so overwhelmed by the task of simply teaching writing? Or do we decide, not in my backyard—not in my classroom—and draw a firm line in the sand? In many ways, the decision has already been made for us and some aspects of GenAI are already certain. 

With each innovation, we’ve had to decide whether our stance toward our students will be disciplinarian or collaborative – will we police their writing processes or guide them? Will we spend our time ferreting out errors and missteps or offering feedback and instruction? The futility of “catching” students aside, this decision will determine our perspectives on our jobs, our roles as educators, and our abilities to do our work with heart and with balance. GenAI has revealed longstanding weak points in our educational systems—from the highest levels to the classroom and we are at an inflection point where we can (re)examine both our writing pedagogy and our overall philosophies for higher education. 

Given the above we must acknowledge that 

  • GenAI is not a fad, and our students are already using it.  
  • GenAI is a tool, but how we use it is still under discussion. 
  • Understanding how to responsibly and ethically use GenAI will be expected in future workplaces.  
  • Writing instructors should expect that students and colleagues will come to us with questions about GenAI and we should be prepared to share resources and perspectives on GenAI use and writing.  
  • Because we are the recognized disciplinary and pedagogical experts on writing it is the responsibility of writing instructors to teach students how to use GenAI ethically, responsibly, and transparently. 

So, where does that leave us? As two sites of writing instruction at UWL, the FYWP and the WC feel compelled to respond to this moment with some expectations and guidance for GenAI use. Following the recommendations from the “MLA-CCCC Joint Task Force on Writing and AI Working Paper:  Overview of the Issues, Statement of Principles, and Recommendations” and their “call for faculty involvement in the formation and evaluation of policies about AI rather than a top-down approach (11),” we’re making the first of what is likely to be many attempts to articulate our expectations for the ethical, responsible, and transparent use of GenAI in FYW classes and in the WC.  

Ethics 

  • We are ethically obligated to discuss GenAI in some form in our writing classes and in the WC.  
  • We are ethically obligated to make sure that all our students have an adequate education on how to use writing tools—including GenAI. 
  • Taking a punitive stance on GenAI places us at odds with our students and affects our relationships. Ethical teaching requires that instructors resist approaching students from a “deficit” perspective – a belief that our job is to find where the student is weak, unreliable, dishonest, or deceptive. 
  • Uploading student work to plagiarism detectors is unethical because students have not given consent for their work to be shared with the AI machine.  
  • GenAI should not be an opportunity for student surveillance and surveilling students may reinforce existing biases faced by many of our students, especially BIPOC students. 

Responsibility 

  • Faculty are responsible for providing students with guidance on how GenAI is used in their classes. (More about this under “Transparency.”) 
  • Students are responsible for communicating with faculty when they have questions and/or are uncertain about if their use of GenAI meets course expectations.  
  • Faculty are responsible for helping writing students to develop critical literacy skills, including how to use GenAI as a tool for intellectual and ethical exploration of ideas at any stage of the writing process.
  • The Writing Center’s stated mission is to support students from all disciplines in becoming more effective and confident writers; this mission includes meeting students where they are and not judging how they approach writing tasks, which may mean helping them see how and when to ethically and effectively use supports like GenAI or other technologies.
  • The Writing Center works with students from many disciplines and must help students understand and abide by their professors’ guidelines and policies regarding GenAI. 

Transparency 

  • Faculty are responsible for creating accessible policies in their syllabi and course assignments for the appropriate or expected use of GenAI, including how students should cite their use of the tool. Failure to acknowledge or discuss GenAI with our students may lead to misuse of this tool. 
  • Faculty should also be clear about their own gaps in knowledge and understanding of new technologies and, therefore, open and responsive to learning from students about them and negotiating with students about how these new tools can and should be used in their classroom.  
  • If faculty choose to limit or restrict use of GenAI, they should be clear about why and identify what skills and concepts they value that would be undercut by using the tools.  
  • The Writing Center should regularly ask clients to talk about how they have used GenAI and what their assignment guidelines say about it to promote productive and ethical use of the tools.  
  • Writing Center tutors should describe how the tutor used GenAI writing assistance during a tutoring session if a client is required to verify their use of the Writing Center (via reporting slip or email to professor). 

Approved by the Composition Committee spring 2024.

What is it?

  • The College Writing Symposium is an annual event that showcases the incredible writing taking place in UWL's First-Year Writing Program. Students from ENG 100/110/112 share pieces of writing from their classes with audiences of their fellow students in this day-long celebration of student writing. Students submit proposals to present and then are organized in panels to present throughout the day. See the call for papers below for more information! 

When is it? 

  • The 12th Annual College Writing Symposium will be on November 20th.
  • Submit your proposal by November 6th.

College Writing Symposium Decision FlowchartDirections for submitting to the College Writing Symposium

Why propose?  

  • Receive feedback from a broad audience.
  • Build your résumé--employers love to hear about class projects and public speaking experience.
  • Gain practice in writing proposals and public speaking.  

Who may propose?

  • Any UWL student enrolled in ENG 100/110/112.  

How does it work? 

  • Step 1: Submit a brief proposal in response to the FYW Symposium Call for Proposals by November 6thSubmit your proposal here.
  • Step 2: Once you are accepted, prepare your presentation. Use the Writing Center and the Public Speaking Center to support your presentation.  
  • Step 3: Present your work at the College Writing Symposium on November 20th! Each presenter will be scheduled for a 10-15-minute presentation as part of a one-hour session with other presenters. 

Want additional information or help?