First-year writing program

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Welcome to the First-Year Writing Program

The First-Year Writing Program offers two courses that satisfy the General Education first-year writing requirement: ENG 110 (College Writing) or ENG 112 (College Writing, AP). After completing one of these courses, students move on to two additional writing emphasis courses before they graduate.

We also offer ENG 100 (College Writing Workshop), which provides students with additional practice in and strategies for developing writing skills in post-secondary academic contexts. Students will enroll in this class based on placement scores.

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

Rhetorical Knowledge

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

  • Learn and use key rhetorical concepts through analyzing and composing a variety of texts
  • Read and compose  in a variety of genres to understand how genre conventions shape and are shaped by readers’ and writers’ practices and purposes
  • Write effectively in response to a variety of situations, contexts, and environments that may call for purposeful shifts in voice, tone, level of formality, design, medium, and/or structure

 Critical Thinking, Reading, and Composing

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

  • Read and compose as methods of inquiry, learning, critical thinking, and communicating in various rhetorical contexts
  • Read a diverse range of texts, attending especially to relationships between assertion and evidence, to patterns of organization, and to the functions of these features for different audiences and situations
  • Locate and evaluate appropriate secondary and/or primary research materials
  • Use strategies such as interpretation, synthesis, response, critique, and design/redesign to compose texts that integrate their ideas with those from sources


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

  • Develop flexible strategies for reading, drafting, reviewing, collaborating, revising, rewriting, rereading, and editing to practice writing as a recursive process
  • Use composing processes and tools as a means to discover and reconsider ideas
  • Practice the collaborative and social aspects of writing processes, including, but not limited to, learning to give and to act on productive feedback to works in progress 
  • Reflect on the development of composing practices and how those practices influence their work

 Knowledge of Conventions

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

  • Explain why genre conventions for structure, paragraphing, tone, and mechanics vary
  • Develop knowledge of grammatical structures, as well as conventions of mechanics,
  • including punctuation and spelling, through practice in composing and revising
  • Apply citation conventions systematically in their own work
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the concepts of intellectual property that motivate documentation conventions, such as copyright and the fair use of ideas


Adopted by The English Department spring 2016

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 he needs 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.  

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

How does placement into English courses work at the UWL?

UWL utilizes both the Wisconsin English Placement Test (WEPT) and a multiple measures placement (MMP) system to place students into ENG 100 or ENG 110. If students participate in MMP, this process occurs during and around START registration in June.

What is Multiple Measures Placement?

Multiple Measures Placement (MMP) is a system designed to better place students into courses by utilizing more than one measure for placement. MMP stems from the belief that writing ability and potential is best shown through more than a timed, standardized exam. For example, instead of only using a WEPT score to place students into ENG 100 and 110, MMP utilizes a survey that includes a reading and writing prompt and questions about past writing experiences. The reading and writing prompts used in MMP are more similar to the work expected in ENG 110, which creates a more authentic indicator of  a student’s writing potential. 

After they’re submitted, MMP responses are then reviewed  by faculty in the English Department to determine whether or not students will also co-enroll in ENG 100. The student is notified of their placement prior to the beginning of the academic year.

When will I find out my placement for first-year writing?

You should receive placement information during the summer after the START registration process and before arriving on campus. Most students are notified in July.

What is ENG 100?

ENG 100 is a co-requisite course, which means it is designed to be taken alongside ENG 110. ENG 100 is designed to complement the work and writing being done in ENG 110.

Why do I need to take both ENG 100 and ENG 110? Isn’t that a lot of writing credits?

Because first-year writing is foundational to many of the other courses you’ll take at UWL, we want you to have as much support as possible. If you have been placed into ENG 100 and ENG 110, we believe you will be more successful in writing at UWL by taking both courses simultaneously.

Is ENG 100 the same as UWL 100? Should I take both?

ENG 100 and UWL 100 are separate courses with different learning goals and curriculum. You’ll benefit from being enrolled in both!

What if I don’t think I need ENG 100? Can I drop ENG 100?

There are some special situations in which a student’s academic record or test results may not accurately reflect their academic experiences or writing abilities. We review each student’s case individually to be sure that transfer situations and/or extenuating circumstances have not been overlooked. 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 to discuss placement options. 

How do I take the English Placement Test?

Can I retake the English Placement Test?

Yes, but only once and you will need permission from Dr. Darci Thoune (

I took AP English (Lit or Comp) in high school, why do I still have to take ENG 110/112?

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 or ENG 112. Students who score a 5 on either AP ENGlish exams will be exempt from the first-year writing requirement. For more information about how AP credit transfers to UWL, please consult this website:

What is the difference between ENG 110 & ENG 112?

ENG 110 and ENG 112 share the same learning outcomes. However, ENG 112 is a course comprised entirely of students who have earned a score of a 3 or 4 on one of the AP English exams. This course will challenge students to move above and beyond the AP curriculum and will encourage students to work at a higher level than the typical first-year writing course.

I’m a transfer student and I think I satisfied the first-year writing requirement there. Who can I talk to at UWL?

Please contact Dr. Darci Thoune (  Be prepared to share transcripts and writing samples from previous courses.

Do you offer ENG 110 online or hybrid? In the summer? J-term?

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 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 he or she is doing something completely different. How could this be?

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 110/112, 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 100 and/or 110/112?

You are required to take ENG 110 or 112 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 and 2XX at the same time?

No--ENG 110 is prerequisite for ENG 200-level courses because of the focus on writing in those courses. However, you can take ENG 112 and ENG 200 concurrently.

What is it?

  • The First-Year Writing Symposium aims to create a fun and engaging atmosphere for all students from ENG110/112 classes to share, reflect, think, and inspire through presenting their critical, creative, and insightful work! 

When is it? 

  • The 9th Annual College Writing Symposium will be on November 25th.
  • Submit your proposal by November 11th.

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 110 or ENG 112.  

How does it work? 

  • Step 1: Submit a brief proposal in response to the FYW Symposium Call for Proposals by November 11thSubmit 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 FYW Symposium on November 25th! 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?