University Composition Program

Preparing students to succeed in writing at CSU and beyond

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University Composition Program

Composition at a Glance

The University Composition Program is a vital part of The Department of English at Colorado State University. Over 6,000 students enroll in lower- and upper-division writing and rhetoric courses focused on preparing students to succeed in university and professional writing contexts. We offer ten lower-division and upper-division courses in writing and rhetoric, including College Composition (CO150), Writing in the Disciplines: Sciences (CO301B), Writing in Digital Environments (CO302), and Principles of Digital Rhetoric and Design (CO402).

Our courses, which fulfill the All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC) requirements, prepare students to write, research, and design documents across audiences, genres, and contexts. The English department also offers an undergraduate degree in Writing, Rhetoric, and Literacy and a graduate degree in Writing, Rhetoric, and Social Change.

Program Vision

Our courses provide students with opportunities to expand their critical thinking, reading, analysis, and writing abilities. Each course approaches writing as a rhetorical act accomplished through the effective use of writing processes and strategies. Students develop their research, argument, and writing skills, and use them to compose texts written for both academic and public audiences. Our courses focus on varied writing strategies and situations: composing for college, writing arguments, writing for the web, writing and style, and writing in the Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Social Sciences and Education.

Program Mission

In alignment with CSU’s land grant mission, the University Composition Program cultivates the intellectual work of writing by teaching students both to develop and deepen their written communications practices and to value writing and rhetoric as vital tools for global engagement:

  • Our curriculum fosters critical curiosity as students develop agility with both academic research and writing and the public discourses that will prepare them for success as university students, professionals, and citizens.
  • Our faculty support students as they become critical imaginative thinkers by teaching them to navigate rhetorical situations that value inclusive language practices.
  • Our courses focus on varied writing strategies and situations: composing for college, writing arguments, writing in digital spaces, writing and style, and writing in the Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Social Sciences and Education.

Principles & Goals

We aim to design, teach, and assess our composition curriculum and initiatives guided by these strategic principles and goals:

  • Curricular Innovation: Craft innovative composition curricula informed by contemporary research on the teaching of introductory and advanced writing in the field of composition and rhetorical studies and informed by the values of our land grant university.
  • Inclusive Design: Align composition curriculum and classroom experiences with CSU’s Principles of Community by actively engaging in inclusive and anti-racist teaching practices and creating and supporting contextually- and culturally-rich learning opportunities.
  • Pedagogical Excellence: Cultivate a culture of active learners in the science and art of teaching writing by recruiting and engaging composition faculty through innovative, responsive professional development and program assessment.
  • Reflective Practice: Strengthen opportunities for students and instructors to incorporate metacognitive reflection and revision practices into formal and informal writing work and evaluation practices.
  • Program Accountability: Foster a strong and supportive community by advocating for equitable and sustainable working conditions for composition faculty and by actively and regularly enlisting administrative feedback from faculty.

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Composition Placement Program

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