Guide to First-Year Writing

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Teacher’s Guide to First-Year Writing

UT Arlington English Department

AY 2011-2012


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Program 5

About the Teacher’s Guide 5

About the First-Year Writing Program 5

About the Graduate Teaching Assistant Program 5

Training 5

Evaluation and Mentoring 6

Class Visitations 6

Practicum for New GTAs 6

Review of Teaching Evaluations 6

Teaching Portfolios 6

In-Service Training 6

Provisions for Emergency Evaluations 6

Team Teaching 7

About the Lecturer Program 7

Course Descriptions and Learning Outcomes 8

ENGL 1301 8

ENGL 1302 9

First-Year Writing Assignments and Texts for 2011-2012 10

Chapter 2: Getting Started at UT Arlington 11

Resources 11

Important Contact Information 11

First-Year Writing Administrators 12

English Department Office Staff 12

Office Assignments 12

Messages 12

Mail Room and Lunch Room 12

Photocopying and Supplies 13

Computers and Typewriters 13

UTA Email, MavSpace, and Other Instructional Resources 13

Departmental Listservs 14

Accessing Buildings and Classrooms 15

Computer Classrooms 15

Ordering Textbooks 15

Creating Course Packs 15

Submitting and Posting Syllabuses 15

Professionalism 15

Instructional Librarians 16

Writing Center 16

Classroom-Related Policies 17

Instructor Absence Policy 17

Office Hours 17

Add/Drop and Census Date 18

Grading 18

Questions from Parents 19

Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct 19

Problem Students 21

Returning Student Work 22

Using Student Writing 22

Teaching Evaluations 23
Chapter 3: Teaching ENGL 1301 24

Guidelines for Teaching ENGL 1301 24

Reading 24

Writing 24

Revision 24

Peer Work 24

In-Class Essay 24

Textbooks 25

Resources for Teaching ENGL 1301 26

ENGL 1301 Syllabus Template 26

Diagnostic Essay Prompts 35

Paper 1: Discourse Community Analysis 37

Discourse Community Analysis Peer Review Prompt 41

Sample Discourse Community Analysis 42

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Questions 46

Paper 2: Rhetorical Analysis Prompt 49

Rhetorical Analysis Peer Review Prompt 53

Sample Rhetorical Analysis 54

ENGL 1301 Essay Clusters for Papers 2 and 3 58

Sample Claims Lesson 60

Paper 3: Synthesis Essay 61

Synthesis Essay Peer Response Prompt 65

Sample Synthesis Essay 66
Chapter 4: Teaching ENGL 1302 71

Guidelines for Teaching ENGL 1302 71

Reading 71

Writing 71

Revision 71

Peer Work 71

In-Class Essay 71

Textbooks 72

Resources for Teaching ENGL 1302 73

ENGL 1302 Syllabus Template 73

Paper 1: Issue Proposal 82

Issue Proposal Peer Review Prompt 85

Sample Issue Proposal 86

Annotated Bibliography 90

Paper 2: Mapping the Issue 92

Mapping the Issue Peer Review Prompt 96

Sample Mapping the Issue Paper 97

Paper 3: Researched Position Paper 102

Researched Position Paper Peer Review Prompt 106

Sample Researched Position Paper 107

Chapter 5: Mini-Lessons and Pedagogical Strategies (by Dr. Jim Warren) 114

Framing Texts Rhetorically 114

Incorporating Sources Effectively 119

Evaluating Proofs 121

Discussion Pedagogy 122

Composing Writing Assignments 126

Responding to Preliminary Drafts 128

Grading Student Writing 130

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Program
Welcome to the First-Year Writing (FYW) Program at The University of Texas at Arlington. The FYW Program introduces students to academic discourse and argumentative writing and develops the reading, writing and critical thinking skills that are essential to students’ social, intellectual, and academic growth.
About the Teacher’s Guide

The Teacher’s Guide explains the philosophy of the FYW Program, describes the curriculum, and spells out relevant policies and procedures of the Program, English Department, and University. The Guide, which was written for UTA’s FYW instructors, is a collaborative effort that spans departments and programs. We are indebted to TCU WPAs Carrie Shively Leverenz and Charlotte Hogg for giving us permission to incorporate materials from TCU’s Guide into ours. Much of the section on “Classroom-Related Policies” is taken from or adapted from the TCU Teacher’s Guide. Thanks also to Jim Warren for his help in developing every aspect of the Guide, from the learning outcomes to the assignments to the pedagogical strategies. Our UT Arlington professors and Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) developed the syllabuses and assignments contained within the Guide. Those materials demonstrate the dedication, enthusiasm, and creativity of our Program’s instructors.

About the First-Year Writing Program

The Program teaches reading, writing, and critical thinking as integrated and mutually dependent processes. These processes are not viewed as skills developed merely with an eye to “getting it right,” but as productive engagements between self, other, and world through the medium of texts. Students write essays as projects over several weeks’ time, during which they read texts, write texts of their own, and discuss their work with teachers and each other. This approach is student-centered; classroom activities involve little lecture and much class discussion and group work. One-on-one student/teacher conferences are also an important part of the approach.

About the Graduate Teaching Assistant Program

The English Department’s GTA program is a competitive program that admits between five and fifteen new GTAs per year.


Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) are appointed by a committee composed of English Department faculty. GTAs may not hold another job either on or off campus while they teach for the Program. Reappointment is based upon satisfactory participation in training and supervisory programs, satisfactory progress in University degree programs, a minimum grade point average of 3.0, and generally satisfactory performance as an instructor.


All Graduate Teaching Assistants participate in an extensive training program that introduces them to the field of composition studies, prepares them to teach ENGL 1301 and 1302, and provides them with ongoing mentorship and support. The semester before they begin teaching, GTAs enroll in ENGL 5389, a three-hour graduate course team taught by the Director of First-Year English and a member of the graduate faculty. ENGL 5389 introduces them to composition pedagogy, familiarizes them with First-Year English program policies, and prepares them to teach ENGL 1301. Students also establish a mentorship relationship with the Director of First-Year English during this course. In the fall of their second year as instructors, GTAs enroll in ENGL 5359, which prepares them to teach ENGL 1302 by introducing them to argument theory. Senior GTAs who are ABD and ready for the academic job market may teach sophomore literature after successfully completing ENGL 5337; they may teach technical writing after successfully completing ENGL 5359 (when technical writing is the special topic for the course). Class assignments are dependent upon course availability and approval of the Director of First-Year English.

Evaluation and Mentoring

The English Department has adopted a formative approach to GTA evaluation that includes evaluations by self, peers, students, the Director of First-Year English, members of the graduate faculty, and other instructors.

Class Visitations

During their first semester as GTAs, the Director of First-Year English visits the classroom of every new GTA and provides written and oral feedback about their teaching. Before the class, the Director and GTA discuss the goals for the class and the aspects of teaching about which the GTA would like feedback. The Director meets with the GTA after class to discuss what went especially well and to make suggestions for improvement. Thereafter the Director visits classes on request, or when she sees a problematic pattern developing (based on student complaints, student evaluations, requests for help from GTAs, recommendations from the supervising professor or department chair, etc.).

During their second semester as teachers, GTAs are responsible for observing and being observed by a peer. GTAs provide each other with typed feedback and meet in person to discuss their observations. Copies of the observation forms are given to the Director of First-Year English. After their first year as teachers, each GTA will have at least one formal class observation each year by a faculty GTA Mentor; a member of her/his M.A. or Ph.D. committee; the Director or Assistant Director of FYW; or a peer. All observation forms will become part of the GTAs’ personnel files. The Director of First-Year English will report on the observations to the Director of Graduate Studies and the GTA Committee.
Review of Teaching Evaluations

GTAs are evaluated by their students at the end of each semester; the Director or Assistant Director of First-Year English reviews the student evaluations for ENGL 0300/0301, 1301, 1302. Short summaries of those teaching evaluations become part of each GTA’s personnel file.

Teaching Portfolios

GTAs submit a comprehensive teaching portfolio during the spring of their first year. The portfolio includes a self-assessment of their strengths and weaknesses as teachers, teaching philosophy, review of student evaluations from the fall, sample assignments, and student papers with comments from the teacher. The Director of First-Year English reviews the portfolios and provides feedback to the GTAs.

In-Service Training

The Director of First-Year English convenes all GTAs at least once each semester to provide ongoing training and support.

Provisions for Emergency Evaluations

Our objective is to help GTAs become the very best teachers that they can possibly be. The atmosphere is non-threatening; GTAs look at and discuss everything that goes into their personnel files. Because they know that our objective is to help them improve their teaching, they often request class visits when they are having a problem with some aspect of teaching. Even more often, they drop in to talk with the Director or Assistant Director of First-Year English to discuss problems and successes and to seek advice on an informal basis. The open lines of communication are our most effective evaluative tool. If serious problems do arise (based on complaints from students, unsatisfactory student evaluations, request of department chair or supervising professor, etc.), the Director of First-Year English or supervising professor will visit the GTA’s class and meet regularly with him/her to address the problem. Serious or ongoing problems can be grounds for dismissal.

Team Teaching

GTAs who have not completed at least 18 hours of graduate coursework in English will be required to team teach with another instructor who has completed 18 or more hours of coursework. There are two types of team teaching pairs: 1) an experienced GTA and a new GTA; 2) two new GTAs, one of whom has 18 hours of graduate coursework. In the first scenario, the experienced GTA serves as the lead teacher and mentor. In the second scenario, the instructors function as more of a team, making decisions together and consulting the Director and Assistant Director for help as necessary. In both scenarios, the lead team teachers are the teachers of record through MyMav and are responsible for reporting grades.

In recent years, GTA teams have taken two approaches to team teaching:

  1. Split the class during or after the first week. In this situation, the two instructors meet regularly to plan classes, compare grading, etc., and they often bring the classes together for peer review, major presentations, speakers, etc.

    1. Pros: Classes are smaller and more manageable.

    2. Cons: New instructors have fewer opportunities to observe their more experienced teamers in the classroom.

  2. Keep the class together for most of the semester. In this situation, the teachers are truly a “team” in that they plan and teach together for the majority of the semester.

    1. Pros: New instructors have many opportunities to observe their more experienced lead teachers in action and to work closely with the lead team teacher. During class, both members of the team can take full advantage of their individual strengths and have another instructor to cover for their weaknesses.

    2. Cons: Classes are much more difficult to manage. Instructors must have very strong classroom management skills to make this approach work.

Regardless of which model the team chooses, team members should meet at least once a week to plan classes, compare grading, discuss successes and concerns, etc. Moreover, the syllabus, course content, assignments, and readings should be the same.

About the Lecturer Program

Lecturers are part-time/occasional faculty who teach between one and five courses per semester on semester-to-semester contracts. Lecturers must have an MA in English or a related field (with 18 credit hours in English) and experience teaching college-level composition courses. Lecturers are required to attend departmental meetings; participate in university and departmental professional development opportunities; subscribe to departmental listservs; and attend departmental functions. Lecturers who teach four or five courses per long semester have biennial reviews that involve a teaching observation and submission of a teaching portfolio that includes a teaching philosophy, student evaluations, and instructor’s response to student evaluations.

Course Descriptions and Learning Outcomes

ENGL 1301 RHETORIC AND COMPOSITION I: Introduction to college reading and writing. Emphasizes recursive writing processes, rhetorical analysis, synthesis of sources, and argument.
ENGL 1301 Expected Learning Outcomes. By the end of ENGL 1301, students should be able to:

Rhetorical Knowledge

  • Use knowledge of the rhetorical situation—author, audience, exigence, constraints—to analyze and construct texts

  • Compose texts in a variety of genres, expanding their repertoire beyond predictable forms

  • Adjust voice, tone, diction, syntax, level of formality, and structure to meet the demands of different rhetorical situations

Critical Reading, Thinking, and Writing

  • Use writing, reading, and discussion for inquiry, learning, communicating, and examining assumptions

  • Employ critical reading strategies to identify an author’s position, main ideas, genre conventions, and rhetorical strategies

  • Summarize, analyze, and respond to texts

  • Find, evaluate, and synthesize appropriate sources to inform, support, and situate their own claims

  • Produce texts with a focus, thesis, and controlling idea, and identify these elements in others’ texts


  • Practice flexible strategies for generating, revising, and editing texts

  • Practice writing as a recursive process that can lead to substantive changes in ideas, structure, and supporting evidence through multiple revisions

  • Use the collaborative and social aspects of writing to critique their own and others’ texts


  • Apply knowledge of genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and mechanics

  • Summarize, paraphrase, and quote from sources using appropriate documentation style

  • Control such surface features as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling

  • Employ technologies to format texts according to appropriate stylistic conventions

ENGL 1302 RHETORIC AND COMPOSITION II: Continues ENGL 1301, but with an emphasis on advanced techniques of academic argument. Includes issue identification, independent library research, analysis and evaluation of sources, and synthesis of sources with students’ own claims, reasons, and evidence. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in ENGL 1301.
ENGL 1302 Expected Learning Outcomes

In ENGL 1302, students build on the knowledge and information that they learned in ENGL 1301. By the end of ENGL 1302, students should be able to:

Rhetorical Knowledge

  • Identify and analyze the components and complexities of a rhetorical situation

  • Use knowledge of audience, exigence, constraints, genre, tone, diction, syntax, and structure to produce situation-appropriate argumentative texts, including texts that move beyond formulaic structures

  • Know and use special terminology for analyzing and producing arguments

  • Practice and analyze informal logic as used in argumentative texts

Critical Reading, Thinking, and Writing

  • Understand the interactions among critical thinking, critical reading, and writing

  • Integrate personal experiences, values, and beliefs into larger social conversations and contexts

  • Find, evaluate, and analyze primary and secondary sources for appropriateness, timeliness, and validity

  • Produce situation-appropriate argumentative texts that synthesize sources with their own ideas and advance the conversation on an important issue

  • Provide valid, reliable, and appropriate support for claims, and analyze evidentiary support in others’ texts


  • Practice flexible strategies for generating, revising, and editing complex argumentative texts

  • Engage in all stages of advanced, independent library research

  • Practice writing as a recursive process that can lead to substantive changes in ideas, structure, and supporting evidence through multiple revisions

  • Use the collaborative and social aspects of writing to critique their own and others’ arguments


  • Apply and develop knowledge of genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and mechanics, and be aware of the field-specific nature of these conventions

  • Summarize, paraphrase, and quote from sources using appropriate documentation style

  • Revise for style and edit for features such as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling

  • Employ technologies to format texts according to appropriate stylistic conventions

FYW Assignments and Texts

AY 2011-2012

ENGL 1301

ENGL 1302

Essays and Assignments

Response Journals/Summary Responses on OneBook and readings from the texts.

Response Journals/Summary Responses

Discourse Community Analysis (**formerly Lit. Autobiography and Discourse Community Memoir)

Issue Proposal

Rhetorical Analysis

Annotated Bibliography

Synthesis Essay

Mapping Essay (**formerly Exploratory Essay)

In-Class Essay

Researched Position Paper

Texts and Chapters

First-Year Writing: Perspectives on Argument (2nd UTA custom edition)

**This text includes all major essay assignments for ENGL 1301 and ENGL 1302, a sample student essay for each assignment, and the FYW evaluation rubric.

Chapter 1: A Perspective on Argument

Chapter 3: Supporting Claims: Appealing to Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Chapter 10: Reading, Thinking, and Writing About Issues

Appendix 1: How to Document Sources Using MLA and APA Styles

Assign complete text (with only a quick review of chapters covered in ENGL 1301).

They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (2nd edition)

Preface, Introduction, and Chapters 1-12

Assign and refer to particular chapters as needed.

The Scott, Foresman Writer (UTA custom edition)

**This text will include the FYW evaluation rubric and a “translation” of instructor comments that refer students to resources for more information.

Used as reference.

Used as reference.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Reading clusters: Race, Social Class; Fat Taxes; Is College Worth It?; Same-Sex Marriage. (Essays are available through Blackboard.)

Chapter 2: Getting Started at UT Arlington

Important Contact Information

English Department

Dr. Peggy Kulesz

Ms. Bethany Shaffer

Director of First-Year English

Assistant Director of First-Year English

203E Carlisle Hall

205 Carlisle Hall

(817) 272-2488;

Dr. Tim Morris

Dr. Wendy Faris

Director of Graduate Studies

Department Chair

203E Carlisle Hall

203E Carlisle Hall

Mr. Richard Gaines

Ms. Tammy Dyer

Director of Developmental English

Administrative Assistant

417 Carlisle Hall

203E Carlisle Hall; (817) 272-0952; (817) 272-0560

Ms. Dyane Fowler

Ms. Trudi Beckman

Office Assistant II

Senior Office Assistant

203E Carlisle Hall

203E Carlisle Hall; (817) 272-2692; (817) 272-0466

Ms. Tracey-Lynn Clough

Ms. Shelley Christie

Writing Center Director

Director of English Distance Education

413 Central Library

614 Carlisle Hall; (817) 272-2517; (817)-272-0165

UTA Information

Counseling Services

UTA Police Department

(817) 272-3671

(817) 272-2102

Office for Students with Disabilities

Office of Student Conduct

(817) 272-3364

(817) 272-2354

Central Library Instruction & Reference Services

Writing Center

411 Central Library; (817) 272-2601

Behavior Intervention Team (BIT)

Office of Information Technology (OIT)

(817) 272-2208

Maverick Resource Hotline

Reporting Problems with Smart Classrooms 817-272-6107

Crystal Livingston; (817) 272-2068.

FYW Administrators

The Director of FYW is Dr. Peggy Kulesz (203E Carlisle, 817-272-2488, Her office is located outside the English Office on the second floor of Carlisle Hall. The Assistant Director of FYW is Bethany Shaffer (205 Carlisle, The Directors administer the Program, including hiring and training teachers, budgeting, scheduling, and fielding questions and complaints. If you have any questions or concerns at any point in your teaching experience at UTA, please do not hesitate to contact them. Policies and procedures in this chapter are either general University policies or are instituted by the FYW Committee, which is chaired by Dr. Kulesz.

English Department Office Staff

The English Department Office, located in 203 Carlisle Hall, is open 8 AM-5 PM Monday through Friday. Try to direct questions and requests to the right English Department support staff member, or feel free to direct questions to the Directors of FYW.

  • Tammy Dyer: draws up contracts, processes budgetary/financial paperwork (such as appointments and travel reimbursements), purchases office supplies, inventories equipment, keeps department budget.

  • Dyane Fowler: routes calls, takes messages, distributes mail, completes office paperwork such as grade changes and class roll adjustments, orders keys for offices.

  • Trudi Beckman: orders class texts and desk copies, maintains copier, collects course descriptions and syllabuses, assigns classrooms, assists Director of Graduate Studies.

Please note that the office staff is not responsible for your typing, copying, faxing, or other clerical work.

Office Assignments

All GTAs will be assigned an office, and everyone is required to share with one or more instructors. Office computers should never be moved from the office to which they are assigned. All officemates will share this computer. Software should not be loaded on the computer unless it has been purchased or provided through UTA or it is accompanied by a software license kept in the office.

In order to access your office, you will have to pick up your keys at the Wetsel Building on the first floor (located on Mitchell between Davis and Fielder). There is a $25 charge for each lost key and an additional $12 fee for each lock that the lost key fits. Upon leaving any area, please be sure that the door is locked and securly closed.
Please note that blue containers in your offices are for paper recycling only. Trashcans are located near the elevators on each floor. There is a recycling bin for glass and plastic in the breakroom. The tasks of the university’s janitorial crew are very limited. They will not empty the blue trashcans. The blue containers are for recyclable material (paper). On each floor, there is a large blue bin by the elevators into which each instructor should empty the contents of his/her small blue trash can.

It is best to ask students to contact you by email. Instructors should return emails within 24 hours. Instructors do not have office telephones. You can instruct students to leave messages for you by calling the English Department (817-272-2692). Messages will be placed in your boxes.

Mail Room and Lunch Room

A kitchen/lounge is located on the second floor of Carlisle Hall in the English department office. This area is equipped with a small refrigerator, a microwave oven, and a coffee maker. Make sure not to leave food in the refrigerator for more than a couple days. The kitchen motto is: “Clean up after yourself… please.”

The mailroom is located in 204 Carlisle Hall and houses the copy machines and instructor mailboxes. Instructors should check their mailbox each day before leaving campus. Email should also be checked every day in order for all instructors to stay abreast of issues concerning the English Department. Email and mailboxes are the main sources of interdepartmental communication, so please be attentive to them.
Photocopying and Supplies

The department is on a very tight budget for photocopies. Please use the overhead projectors in your classrooms as much as possible and provide students with assignments and handouts over email in .doc/.docx or pdf files whenever possible. A very limited amount of office supplies will be available in the English Department Office. Please use them judiciously.

Computers and Typewriters

The Writing Center, located in Room 411 of the UTA Central Library, offers fully-equipped PCs for your use. When using computers in either lab, you should save your work on your own exterior drive source, MavSpace, or your J Drive (see Items saved on lab hard drives will be deleted. A typewriter is available in the Department office for you to use when completing necessary Graduate School paperwork/forms. The aforementioned equipment must be shared among all GTAs and faculty.

Many classrooms on campus are now “smart” classrooms in that the instructors has access to to an overhead projector and screen connected to the computer. Basic instructions for that equipment should be posted on the desk. Any problems or questions you have may be addressed by Crystal Livingston and her crew at (817) 272-2068 or Keep her number at hand.
UTA Email, MavSpace, and Other Instructional Resources

All GTAs have two email accounts: one student account and one faculty account. The university will assign you a student email; Tammy Dyer will assign you a faculty email. You are responsible for checking both accounts regularly. For help accessing your email accounts, contact the Office of Information Technology at

There are two options for identifying and changing your official UTA email address:

  • Through the MyMav system: once logged in, choose the Self-Service Account options from the menu on the left hand side of the screen. This option shows you all of the email addresses associated with your account and allows you to add, delete, and select the one that you want to be the "official" email address of record--this is the one that the University, Office of Graduate Studies, etc. is supposed to use as the default to make notifications.

  • Another strategy is to find out what email addresses are associated with your account: from the UTA homepage, choose current student; then choose the e-mail option under the Computing heading; scroll down to NetID self service; choose View Information About Your Accounts, which shows university email addresses associated with your account. OIT staff can help you deactivate accounts that you do not want to use and to set the default to the address you actually use.


Blackboard is the primary learning management systems (LMS) for online course material. All UTA courses are linked to Blackboard course shells. No course request or student upload is required. You will simply have to make your course shell “available” to your students. The UTA Blackboard web address is and the log-in and password are your UTA Net ID and password. To preview some of the functions of Blackboard and view tutorials for the LMS, visit Additional information and tutorials are available at:

Formal training sessions that cover such topics as Blackboard, Blogs, MavSpace, WebEx, Wikis, and Adobe Connect are offered by the Center for Distance Education (CDE). Both face-to-face training and webinars are available throughout the year. To see upcoming training opportunities go the CDE training website: To enroll or ask questions about training contact CDE training by email:

Blog space is also available to all UTA faculty members. To request blog space, go to At the bottom of the page, select “Blogs for Departments/Classes” and then complete the necessary form.


MavSpace is a web resource for publishing and storing files for students, faculty, and staff at UTA. MavSpace stores copies of important documents and makes these files remotely available via any Web browser; it also helps you share files with other users. To claim your MavSpace, visit . For more information on using MavSpace, make sure to assess the MavSpace training brochure available at departments/oit/CS/Training/MavSpace/MavSpace.pdf .

Additional Instructional Resources, Training, and Support

For more information on additional electronic resources, including requesting web space, visit: and . These links will also direct you to online support and account information for managing instructional resources administered by the UTA system.

The Director and Assistant Director of FYW are also here to assist you with instructional resources and technology. You may also contact Shelley Christie, the Director of English Distance Education, at
Departmental Listservs

You will be subscribed to several departmental listservs. Please note that you will be addressing large numbers of faculty, staff, and graduate students when posting to the lists.

  • GTA-L: All new GTAs, Director and Asst. Director of FYW, Director of Graduate Studies (owned by Peggy Kulesz)

  • ENGGTA-L: All GTAs, Director of FYW, Director of Graduate Studies (owned by Peggy Kulesz)

  • ENGDEPT: Entire English Department (owned by Johanna Smith)

  • ENGGRAD: English Department graduate students (owned by Tim Morris and Trudi Beckman)

  • FYW: All First-Year English instructors (owned by Peggy Kulesz)

  • ENGLINFO: Entire English Department (owned by office staff)

Make sure to observe guidelines for appropriate email decorum when posting to the lists. Also, please notify the lists’ owners if you are not receiving listserv emails.

Accessing Buildings and Classrooms

A MavID card will access the main entrace of Preston and Carlisle before and after official office hours. A Mav card will also access 204 Carlisle Hall (the Mail Room). Most UTA classrooms (including all Preston Hall classrooms) are also accessed by swiping your MavID and entering a pin number. Mav cards are issued by Mav Express located in University Center. You can find out your pin at Tammy Dyer will try to ensure that you have access to your classroom on the first day. Sometimes, however, GTAs do not have pin access to their classrooms during the first week of school. Please plan to arrive early to ensure that you can access your classroom. Contact Tammy Dyer if you have a problem.

Computer Classrooms

The Preston Hall 310 Computer classroom is designated for use by the English Department and includes Intel Core Duo Apple iMacs featuring Microsoft Office, Dreamweaver, Adobe Creative Suite 3, ProfCast, CSSedit, etc.; Dell OptiPlex PCs featuring Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite 3, Adobe Premiere Elements and Audacity; an instructor station equipped with Apple Mac Mini and DVD playback capabilities; and additional resources including camcorders, digital cameras, digital voice recorders, tripods, microphones, headsets, speakers, memory sticks, SD card readers, etc., available for checkout. Instructors may reserve the room for their classes on a first-come, first-served basis by contacting Trudi Beckman.

Ordering Textbooks

Trudi Beckman is in charge of all textbook orders. Once your courses have been assigned, Trudi will order your books. All ENGL 1301 and ENGL 1302 instructors are required to use the assigned texts.

Creating Course Packs

We discourage the use of printed course packs in FYW and ask instructors to provide electronic copies of all material through Blackboard or by email to students. UTA no longer has a print shop to produce course packs for the UTA Bookstore. If you must provide a course pack you will have to contact a local company near campus to arrange for printing and production. You will be 100% responsible for copyright clearance and permissions. Students who receive financial aid for textbooks will not be able to use their funds at a private copy service. You may create an online course pack and make documents available to students through Blackboard, your MavSpace account, or the Central Library’s e-reserve ( E-reserve is the best bet in terms of copyright issues because the library assumes responsibility for copyright.

Submitting and Posting Syllabuses

All syllabuses must be submitted for review to the Assistant Director of FYW one week before classes begin. Once syllabuses have been approved, electronic copies must be emailed to Trudi Beckman and posted online to instructors’ ReSearch Profiles ( All instructors must provide the course syllabus (whether hard copy, electronic format, or both) on the first day of class.


Although UTA does not have an official dress code for faculty and staff, instructors will have an easier time asserting their authority in the classroom if they are dressed professionally. We do ask that instructors not wear hats or caps while teaching and to consider other aspects of clothing and accessories that might be offensive or distracting to students. Other professional behavior includes: arriving to class on time, or a few minutes early; limiting or avoiding profanity; refraining from off-color jokes; refraining from commenting on students’ appearance; not engaging with students socially; and not meeting with students after regular business hours, unless one teaches at night and must hold office hours in the evening.
Professional interaction with students requires that instructors are a aware of professional boundaries and conduct. Social media often blurs the lines of professionalism, and instructors should think very carefully about the implications of having students as “friends” on Facebook or other sites.
FERPA protects the privacy of students, and public conversation about students should never be conducted in public areas, via social media, or in offices with open doors. Even if you do not mention a student by name, referring to any specific writing, conduct, or interaction with students via a public venue is strictly prohibited by federal law and as common practice of professionalism. If you must discuss student issues with colleagues, please take these conversations inside an office and close the door. Hallways, outdoor meeting areas, and any place where one might be overheard are never appropriate sites for conversation about students.
Additionally, posting on Facebook or other public online sites about students is considered highly unprofessional, even when students are not named. Quoting from their writing, even when amusing to us, is considered a violation of FERPA. Facebook (and other social media) is not considered a private space.
Another issue to consider is what students should call you. Opinions on this matter vary widely. The safest option is to ask students to address you as “Ms.” or “Mr.” Although some of your students may default and refer to you as “Dr.” or “Professor,” you should not instruct them to do so unless you have a Ph.D. If you ask students to call you by your first name, keep in mind that you must make clear to them in other ways that you are their teacher, not their friend.
As of August 1, 2011, UTA is a tobacco-free campus. Use of any tobacco product on campus is prohibited except for in one’s own vehicle. As employees of UTA, all instructors are expected to comply with this policy.
Assistance from Instructional Librarians

UTA’s instructional librarians provide multiple resources for ENGL 1301 and ENGL 1302 instructors, including classroom workshops in the Central Library, libguides for ENGL 1301 and ENGL 1302, and online and in-person support for students. For more information, please see or contact Gretchen Trkay, Instructional Librarian, at

Writing Center

The English Writing Center, Room 411 in the Central Library, provides support to FYW students and instructors. Undergraduate and graduate student tutors in the Writing Center are trained to help student writers at any stage in their writing processes and are familiar with the course objectives, assignments, and pedagogical methods of the FYW Program. They are trained to attend to the same rhetorical and organizational issues that FYW instructors value in student writing. Although tutors will assist students in identifying and correcting patterns of grammatical or syntactical errors, they are taught to resist student entreaties to become editors or proofreaders of student papers.

The Writing Center offers tutoring for any writing you are assigned while a student at UT-Arlington. During Fall 2011, Writing Center hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday; and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. You—or your students—may schedule appointments online by following directions available at, by calling 817 272-2601, or by visiting the Writing Center.
The Writing Center Director, Assistant Director, or tutors are available to make classroom presentations describing Writing Center services. The Writing Center also offers workshops on topics such as documentation and will design specialized workshops at the request of instructors. To schedule a classroom visit or inquire about a workshop, please e-mail or call Tracey-Lynn Clough, Writing Center director, at or 817-272-2517.
Classroom-Related Policies

Instructor Absence Policy

Instructors are required to attend their scheduled classes and to be on time. Instructors must meet their classes in person instead of online. Instructors should not cancel more than two classes per semester because of instructor absences. If you must be absent, you should arrange in advance for another instructor to teach your classes. If you wish to attend a conference or schedule a job interview during the semester, it is your responsibility to find someone to cover your classes. Prior notification of an absence and plans for covering classes must be given to both the office staff and Dr. Peggy Kulesz.

If you know in advance that you will miss class:

  1. Find a colleague to teach the scheduled content of your syllabus OR

  2. Design an assignment that students can complete in your absence that is verifiable and equal to the work of a typical class period. If students complete the assignment online or submit it to you online, you can respond before the next class meeting.


  1. online discussion

  2. online submission and response to drafts

  3. library research assignment

  4. small group activity

If you have to miss class because of an emergency, you should always notify the following people:

  • English Department office staff (call 817-272-2692) and ask them to post a walk sign for students),

  • Peggy Kulesz (email or call 817-272-2488),

  • Students in the class (email them through MyMav).

If you are going to be tardy to class, you should call the English Department office and ask the office assistants to notify the students.
In general, keep classes for the full scheduled time; avoid canceling multiple classes for “library work” (does not include library tutorials) or conferences. Failure to follow the instructor attendance policy could result in the loss of teaching privileges.
Office Hours

Instructors are expected to keep at least three office hours a week. Students and the English Department should be advised of your office hours, and, obviously, you should be in your office during those hours. Your office door must always be open when you are meeting with students. Please include your office hours on your syllabus. Make sure your students know how to reach you. Always notify the English Department office staff if you change your office hours so that they can inform your students if the need should arise. You should also notify your students.

Add/Drop and Census Date

The university has an official Add/Drop period that generally lasts through the first week of classes. Students may add or drop classes during that time as long as there is space available in the sections they plan to add. FYW courses are currently capped at 22 students. Instructors are never allowed to add students beyond the cap. Adding beyond the cap cheats students of individual attention and feedback, and also means additional uncompensated work for instructors.

After the add/drop period, students may drop without penalty until Census Date, which is generally during the third week of classes. If your class is not full, you may allow students to add until Census Date. It is important to note, however, that allowing students to add after the official add/drop period has ended means more work for both instructors and students. Please think carefully before allowing students to add after Census Date.

Z Grade

Grades in FYW are A, B, C, F, and Z. (There is no D in FYW courses.) It is the policy of the FYW program that students must be capable of producing C grade work in order to succeed in the kind of academic writing required at UT Arlington. Therefore, a student earning a final averaged grade lower than C will be required to repeat the course.

Please make sure the grades you assign for course work during the semester reflect the overall FYW grading philosophy. For example, if you use number grades, make it clear that any number grade less than 70 is considered a failing grade. If you use letter grades, you might consider using A, B, C, or F grades only. If you do award “Z” grades on assignments during the course, make sure your students understand this as a failing assignment grade. There are differing philosophies on using the “Z” as a course assignment grade. When you are making decisions about grading practices in your course, think through what you want to communicate to students with the grades you assign.
Awarding a “ Z” as the final course grade is reserved for students who attend class regularly, participate actively, and complete all the assigned work on time but simply fail to write well enough to earn a passing grade. If students do not meet these criteria, they are NOT eligible for the Z grade. This judgment is made by the instructor and not necessarily based upon a number average. The Z grade is intended to reward students for good effort. While students who receive a Z will not get credit for the course, the Z grade will not affect their grade point average. They may repeat the course for credit until they do earn a passing grade.
The “F” grade, which does negatively affect GPA, goes to failing students who do not attend class regularly, do not participate actively, or do not complete assigned work.


Essays in FYW are written as part of a process of guiding students through several drafts. Revision is an integral part of the pedagogy of the Program and students generally respond well to the idea of using criticism from teachers and classmates to work on their essays before receiving a letter grade. However, because some students have abused the process, the following guidelines have been adopted. While instructors are not required to allow students to re-write every major essay, at least two major essay projects should offer this opportunity. The number of times an essay may be revised and resubmitted is up to individual instructors. Some instructors allow only one re-write per project; others allow students to re-write given essays until a semester ends. Neither the last essay project, however, nor the essay exam may be re-written.
Because some students—secure in the knowledge that they can re-write later—subvert the intention of the re-write policy by handing in very cursory efforts on due dates, the Department recommends announcing that original grades and re-write grades will be averaged. The Department wants to encourage students to put their best efforts into assignments from the beginning. Students may, of course, seek advice in the Writing Center or from their instructors before turning in final projects; however, since judgment is part of the writing process, students should make every effort to make the last project as “good” as they are capable of making it by the final due date.

Grade Appeals

Students have the right to appeal their grades if they feel that they have earned a higher grade than an instructor assigned. They should begin by talking to the instructor, asking for an explicit justification of the grade. If they fail to reach a satisfactory result, they should take their grievance to the Director of FYW. If the instructor, student, and the Director fail to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion, the Director will direct the student to the next step in the grievance procedure.
Grade Reports

Instructors are required to submit three grade reports each semester through MyMav: one early in the semester (for all students with fewer than 30 credit hours), one at midterm, and one at the end of the semester. More specific instructions about how to post grades will be distributed via email close to when grade reports are due. By the first reporting period, be sure you have evaluated enough work that you can communicate an accurate picture of the student’s progress or the danger of failing the course. Instructors are not allowed to enter an I grade for the first or second grade reports. It is imperative that grades be submitted by the deadlines. The Provost has stated that instructors jeopardize their GTA positions and travel funds if they fail to submit grades on time.


Do not give a student a grade of Incomplete without prior approval from the Director of First-Year Writing. A grade of Incomplete is appropriate only when students have been making satisfactory progress (a grade of “C” or better) and experience difficulties that could not have been anticipated or prevented such as an extended illness, documented family emergency, etc. Instructors who give students Incompletes are obligated to follow through with the student until he or she completes the course and should draw up Incomplete contracts with the students that outline the assignments the student must finish and the timeline for completion of the work.

Questions from Parents

From time to time, you may be contacted by parents asking you to report on a student’s progress in your course or inquiring about why a student received a failing grade. In such cases, please refer the email query to the Director of First-Year Writing rather than answer it directly. Because of the Privacy Act (FERPA), we are not allowed to reveal grade information without permission regarding students who are over the age of 18. I typically tell parents that we can’t release grade information without a student’s permission, but that I am happy to talk to the student himself or herself about a grade or progress in the class.

Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct

Plagiarism is a very complex term, the meaning and significance of which continue to be debated within academe. In writing classes, plagiarism tends to refer to the use of material written by others but submitted by the student as though it is his or her own work. Under this general definition, any of the following could be considered plagiarism:

1) submission of a complete text not written by the student, which may have been downloaded from the Internet or taken from other sources such as student paper files;

2) liberal cutting and pasting of sources into the student’s text without attribution;

3) liberal cutting and pasting of sources, which may include close paraphrase or adoption of whole sentences, mixed with the student’s own language, with attribution but without the use of quotation marks to indicate language borrowed from other sources;

4) occasional misuse of sources, with or without attribution, for example, occasional sentences that do not “sound” like the student writer’s typical prose that may include citation at the end of the paragraph but no quotation marks indicating a direct quote;

5) work done by the student for another class but passed off as new, original work.

In general, this program makes a distinction between cases of academic dishonesty in which students intend to deceive by submitting material they have not written as though it were their own (numbers 1 and 2) and cases that involve the misuse of sources (number 3 and 4). At the same time, we recognize that such distinctions are not easy to make. Because individual cases of plagiarism/academic misconduct/misuse of sources vary widely, penalties are determined on a case-by-case basis. However, all suspected cases must be reported to the Director of First-Year Writing. Please follow the procedure below if you receive a text from a student that you suspect includes unattributed material not written by that student.

  1. Photocopy student materials, making one copy for yourself, and one for the Director of FYW OR submit a copy of the Safe Assign report from Blackboard.

  2. Consult with the Director immediately to decide on a plan of action to address the particular case. A case of academic misconduct is most easily proven if you can find the source the student is borrowing from. Finding borrowed sources is not as hard as it once was:

-- Use and type in the exact words of a sentence that does not sound like the students’ language. Try this on a few sentences in case the student has altered the words of some sentences.

-- Check the students’ Internet sources to see whether portions have been cut and pasted into the student’s draft without attribution.

-- Check the UTA library catalog to see if the sources the student used are owned by our library.

-- Ask teachers in the FYW Program if they have received a paper on the same topic.

  1. If you do find the source (or sources), highlight the borrowed passages that have not been attributed on both the source and the students’ text.

  2. Refrain from accusing the student of plagiarism prior to a scheduled conference with a witness present. You may give back other students’ papers, letting this student know that you can’t return his or her work until you have a conference about it.

  3. During conferences with students to discuss incidents of possible academic misconduct, present the student with evidence and ask the student to explain the use of sources, etc. Generally, if the student admits to academic misconduct or if adequate evidence is present (e.g. copies of the paper or the misused sources indicating that the work is not the student’s own), the minimal penalty will be an “F” for the assignment.

  4. During the conference fill out and submit the Student Conduct form for plagiarism, which is available online at, and have the student sign it.

    • Students who admit to plagiarism must be made aware that the form will go on file with the university and that a second penalty will likely result in suspension from the university for one year. The form should be submitted to Student Conduct with the student’s essay and evidence within two weeks of the conference with the student.

    • If the student does not admit to plagiarism, you have the responsibility to persuade Student Conduct that the student’s work is plagiarized. Be careful to provide all documentation and to submit the essay and paperwork to Student Conduct immediately. You cannot give the student a grade on the assignment until Student Conduct meets with the student and resolves the issue. In this case of suspected plagiarism that happens at the end of the semester, you must give the student an incomplete until Student Conduct makes a decision.

Problem Students

The Composition Program recommends that teachers take a proactive stance with disruptive students. It is the teacher’s responsibility to do everything s/he can to insure a safe and pleasant learning environment for all students. Any behavior that disrupts the teacher’s ability to teach or other students’ ability to learn should be addressed. Such behavior may include but is not limited to the following:

  • talking at inappropriate times

  • class clown behavior

  • excessive tardies that disrupt a class in progress

  • inappropriate comments to other students on their drafts, during small group workshop, on a class discussion board, or in a large class discussion. “Inappropriate” in this case may refer to any comments that other students find offensive or harmful.

  • openly disrespectful behavior directed to the teacher or others in the class

  • sexual harassment of the teacher or other students

  • threats of violence of any kind

  • the submission of texts that mention thoughts of suicide, violence, criminal behavior

Many of these behaviors can be resolved simply by bringing the behavior to the student’s attention and asking that the behavior stop. Depending on the severity of the problem, you can address the student directly during class, speak to the student circumspectly at the end of class, or schedule a meeting with the student in your office. Deciding how to respond can be challenging, especially in the heat of the moment. While it can be less effective to openly confront a student during class, since doing so may be equally disruptive, the other students in the class need to see that you are responsive to the problem. When meeting with a disruptive student in your office, it’s a good idea to have an office mate present or in an office next door with the door opened slightly. In general, avoid e-mail responses to students, which are easily misinterpreted.

If you have any questions about how to handle a student problem, you should contact the Assistant Director or Director of FYW for advice. Keep in mind that there are resources on campus that we can call on to help resolve problems with students (as well as to help students resolve their problems). It is better to acknowledge the disruptive behavior, consult with someone regarding how to proceed, and come up with a plan of action rather than ignore the disruption and hope that it goes away—it almost never does. The Office of Student Conduct can be particularly helpful in dealing with student difficulties.
A word of advice: It is not unusual for students in first-year writing classes to treat their teachers like counselors or confidants by writing about or talking to you about deeply personal, sometimes disturbing experiences. Although as teachers, most of us care about our students’ well-being, we are not qualified to help students with their personal problems. Tell students in your syllabus and in your opening remarks that everything they write in this class is public and will be open to critique. Advise them to choose topics that they feel comfortable talking about and can accept criticism on. If students persist in writing about disturbing experiences, you should feel free to suggest that they do so only for their private benefit and not as work to be graded in your class. You may also let the student know that there are counseling services available to students. If you are ever concerned about a student’s well-being, contact the Director of FYW and/or the Office of Student Conduct right away.

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