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First Year English Curriculum

Curricular design

FYE teaches academic argument over a year-long sequence that scaffolds the processes of college-level reading, writing, and researching. The assignments in ENL 101 and 102 mirror each other in places to build in deliberate practice of key skills, such as analysis, evaluation and synthesis. 

In ENL 101 and 102, students practice skills in:

  • Argument analysis and issue synthesis
  • Discussion and research
  • Revision and workshopping

Beginning with the UMassD Believes project, the FYE curriculum asks students to analyze what others say individually, synthesize diverse responses into shared perspectives, and respond to the conversation with their own grounded argument. Students also reflect on their own work and that of their peers. FYE courses approach writing as an iterative, collaborative activity.

FYE courses

ENL 101 courses are built around a literacy theme, in which students read selected texts that argue and question academic, professional and social literacy practices. In ENL 102, students select from a diverse array of themed courses designed by our instructors. Students build out from a focused set of class readings to develop research that allows them to frame an academic conversation and make an informed contribution.

After completing the FYE sequence, students are be able to:

  • Produce college-level academic arguments 
  • Analyze and respond to arguments
  • Incorporate and accurately document outside sources.

Traditional sequence

Argument-focused course that introduces students to scholarly reading and writing strategies. Students practice widely-applicable methods of reading, writing, and revising arguments. Students read college-level arguments from diverse popular, public, and academic genres in order to develop their academic skills of analyzing single arguments, synthesizing multiple perspectives, and composing informed responses to an ongoing conversation.

Synthesis-focused course that builds on ENL 101. Students sharpen analytical skills by reading complex texts across public and academic genres. Students also create individual research questions, build college-level research skills, compose sophisticated syntheses, and revise their own argumentative, academic contributions to a defined conversation. Students leave the course prepared for intermediate reading and writing tasks in a broad variety of disciplines, as well as with improved research skills and the reflective habits of successful, life-long learners.

Special programs

Students who are part of the Honors Program may choose to complete Enl 101 and 102 at the honors level. Honors FYE courses take up all the University Studies outcomes for each course and provide further challenge and enrichment by meeting Honors Program outcomes. Honors sections are also smaller classes, providing more time for student participation and one-on-one interaction with the professor.  

First-Year English collaborates with other University programs to support learning initiatives for our diverse student population. Some partner programs are congruent to the traditional FYE sequence while others offer students additional preparation to enter the ENL 101 classroom.

Connect courses

Every semester the FYE reserves some ENL 101 and ENL 102 sections for Connect cohorts. Only Connect students may enroll in these classes. They are typically smaller classes, providing more time for student participation and one-on-one interaction with the professor.

Students who enter the University through the College Now/START Program may take ENL 100 and/or BRF 107, depending on their placement exams results. These small courses are reserved for College Now students and help students develop foundational skills in college reading and writing. Following successful completion of ENL 100, students then enroll in their choice of Enl-101 sections. Students may take BRF 107 alongside either ENL 100 or ENL 101.

English 100 | Basic English Review

This course develops rhetorical awareness and effectiveness, as well as fluency in standard English, through focus on essential features common to any writing situation (purpose, audience needs, content, organization, style and correctness) at the level of the paragraph and basic essay. Requires one hour per week in the Writing/Reading center in addition to three class hours. Preparation for ENL 101.

BRF 107 | Introduction to Humanities and Social Sciences

BRF 107 prepares students for the college-level study of humanities and social sciences by improving students’ reading comprehension, vocabulary, critical thinking and particular reading skills necessary for understanding and interpreting college-level humanities and social science materials. The course introduces students to important questions raised by the study of the humanities and the social sciences and to ways of thinking about these questions. 

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