Welcome to first-year writing! Most students who attend the University of Utah will take Writing 1010 and/or Writing 2010. These courses are designed to give you a broad set of flexible concepts and practices that will support you as a writer in your academic programs and beyond. These courses will help you produce writing in ways that fit the unique expectations of the university setting. You will also learn to analyze writing situations so that you can meet the expectations of genres and contexts that you may not have encountered.
Writing 1010 and 2010 focus on academic reading and writing, but these courses will also prepare you to respond to many different writing situations both inside and outside the university. Both courses see writing as rhetorical, by which we mean that writing responds to a particular situation and audience in order to accomplish something—get a job, communicate with a coworker, develop a relationship with a loved one, demonstrate what you’ve learned to a professor, persuade a peer, report information to your employer, etc. Different situations, audiences, and goals also come with their own writing conventions—expectations about word and phrase choices, sentence style, structure and organization, and even length.
The first-year writing courses are also framed to see topics as complex and having many perspectives rather than as simply two sides—agree/disagree or right/wrong. To that end, academic arguments value research and evidence rather than opinion. Academic writing uses evidence-based reasoning that references other pieces of writing and research on the same topic. For that reason, we say that learning to write means learning to join a conversation—learning to talk to the people interested in the same topic in order to teach them something new, alter their position, join a consensus, communicate knowledge, or any number of other goals. In the end, our writing is communicating ideas about a topic to a group of individuals who are also interested in that topic.
In the first-year writing courses, you will get the opportunity to work on clause, sentence, paragraph, and paper structure, learning how to logically organize ideas in ways that clearly, purposefully, and effectively communicate your ideas to an audience. We will also discuss and practice writing process techniques such as active reading, note-taking, primary and secondary research, brainstorming, prewriting, peer review, and revision, all of which we know contribute to stronger more effective writing.
As you move through the semester, please use your instructor, the library, and the writing center as resources to develop and improve your writing. I urge you to meet with your instructors during office hours to get one-on-one feedback and instruction. I am also here to meet with you to discuss any aspect of your writing course. With that brief introduction, I join the faculty and instructors of the University of Utah Department of Writing and Rhetoric in welcoming you! We are glad you are here, and we look forward to working with you!
Best wishes for a great semester,
Dr. Jennifer Andrus