The UCCS First-Year Rhetoric and Writing Program exists to help students become stronger critical thinkers and more confident, successful writers. Our courses are grounded in rhetorical theory. The lens of rhetorical theory provides students from any discipline powerful and broadly transferable heuristics and conceptual frameworks for reading, writing, research, and critical thinking applicable to their academic, civic, personal, and professional lives.
Our courses equip students with tools that will help them negotiate the complexities and interactions of audience, exigence, purposes, and so on in any writing situation. We use the term “writing” broadly here insofar as we construct situations and subjectivities through language, spoken or unspoken, written (in the narrow sense) or otherwise. The rhetorical abilities students learn as writers in our options for completing their first core writing requirement (ENGL 1300, 1305, 1308, and 1310) provide a foundation for the writing they do in their second required writing course (ENGL 1410, TCID 2080, TCID 2090, or INOV 2100), in their upper-division writing intensive courses, and in writing they do in their majors and their lives outside of school.
These rhetorical tools—tools for analyzing and evaluating texts and understanding multiple perspectives and arguments inherent in complex issues—additionally shape the student’s process of being human among other humans and communicating in and through all our human interactions.
Faculty in the First-Year Rhetoric and Writing Program at UCCS are full-time professionals who are continually working to grow as teachers and writers. Our professionalization includes robust professional development work, both collaboratively in large group workshops on rhetorical theory and composition pedagogies and individually and in small groups through “Flex PD” options each faculty member selects. Our faculty group represents diverse teaching philosophies, styles, and experiences.
Signature features of our courses include writing instruction in a computer-mediated classroom, low course caps of 19 students, extensive small group and whole class discussion, and one-on-one writing conferences for all students.
Details of ENGL 1300, 1305, 1308, and 1310
UCCS students can complete their first core writing requirement in 3 ways: ENGL 1310 (3 credits), ENGL 1308 (4 credits), ENGL 1300 + ENGL 1305 (6 credits over 2 semesters). In these courses, students learn and practice rhetorical analysis. Faculty have the freedom to assign a variety of non-fiction text types, so long as they meet the required number of readings from the course reader Language Acts. Students are asked to consider texts’ rhetorical situations, study the role of the rhetorical appeals, and to build analytical arguments across a variety of genres and modalities. Students move through the writing process several times to hone their analytical abilities and build their confidence as writers.
Details of ENGL 1410
English 1410 is a research writing class that focuses on stasis theory as a rhetorical heuristic inquiry. ENGL 1410 is designed with multiple aims in mind: to further students’ understanding of rhetoric and writing and development of useful habits for performing research and using library resources throughout their college careers, and to foster critical thinking and habits of engaged, deliberative inquiry in their academic, professional, civic, and personal lives. The course is taught through the lens of stasis theory because of its efficacy and broad transferability, fulfilling students’ need in a first-year writing course for concepts they can readily understand and apply to writing situations outside of 1410.