First-Year Writing Program

First-Year Writing Program

First-Year Writing Program

Rowan’s Writing Arts department is home to the First-Year Writing Program, a program designed to foster and strengthen the critical reading and writing skills that students need to succeed at the university and beyond. The First-Year Writing Program’s courses not only fulfill part of the university’s Rowan Core (general education) requirements for communicative literacy but also develop students’ awareness of the many forms of discourse happening all around them and engage students’ voices in those public conversations. Students learn to become rhetorically adept writers who can respond to a variety of academic, personal, civic, and professional writing situations. 

Through a curriculum that recognizes composition beyond the printed page, Rowan students develop writing skills through critical reading and thinking and by analyzing and communicating complex ideas in varied genres. Students grow as thinkers and writers through the synthesis of research skills, information literacy, critical rhetorical awareness, and creative insights. As a result, students become more effective and more powerful communicators.

first year writing award

The First-Year Writing Program won the 2018 Rowan Values Team Award for Student Centeredness



The First-Year Writing Program seeks to help students discover that they are already writers, while acknowledging that all writers have more to learn. The curriculum as a whole is shaped by the five Core Values of the First-Year Writing Program, which align with the current best practices in the discipline of writing studies and the Council of Writing Program Administrators’ specific learning outcomes established for first-year composition. Specifically, the program guides students to understand that writing is a practice and a process, that writing and research involve joining an ongoing conversation, that writing is rhetorically situated, that information literacy is an essential part of writing, and that writing comes with ethical responsibilities. All of our courses are portfolio-based, which emphasizes the growth and development of student writing through ongoing revision. Learning outcomes for individual courses uniquely build the skills of writers at each level, and these outcomes, based on the Core Values, fortify writerly sensibilities.


In addition to College Composition I (COMP 01111) and Composition II (COMP 01112), the two required courses in the Rowan Core composition sequence, the First-Year Writing Program also offers Foundations for College Writing (COMP 01103), a basic writing course that earns free elective credits, and Intensive College Composition I (COMP 01105), a 4-credit version of Composition I that offers additional weekly support at the Rowan Writing Center.  More information on courses and placement is available here.


Effective communication occurs when writers understand the impact/effects of language and make linguistic choices that are rhetorically situated and appropriate to a writer’s purpose. 

The choice to use gender inclusive language, for example, more accurately reflects and respects the multitude of gender identities in the classroom and in the world. Likewise, our program recognizes that “standard” or “edited academic” English, the dialect of English historically valued by universities, originates from white, middle-class English; faculty and students may want to challenge/avoid reinforcing the idea that this “standard” English is superior, even as they acknowledge that this dialect is still expected in a variety of contexts and has been linked to power and social mobility. Our program believes the following: that linguistic diversity is an asset; that standard written English is not always the best or most appropriate choice for every writing situation, nor for every writer; and that students should be able to make their own rhetorical choices when it comes to language, taking into account context and considering both the risks and rewards that can come from potentially not aligning with audience expectations. We encourage colleagues beyond our program to do the same. Our position statement--written for faculty--is available here.


The First-Year Writing Program is located in Victoria Hall, at 260 Victoria Street, Glassboro, NJ, 08028. Students, advisors, administrators, and Rowan faculty with inquiries can email or contact one of the following people from our office.

For Fall 2020, please contact us by email rather than calling, as our hours on campus are often more limited.

       Program Coordinator: Amy Woodworth (, 856-256-4313

       Asst. Program Coordinator: Jude Miller (, 856-256-4345

       Secretary: Rose Attanasi (, 856-256-4096

       Secretary: Dawn Schulde (, 856-256-4345

FYW faculty with inquiries about specific courses can reach out to our fantastic program leaders.

       Foundations for College Writing Coordinator: Doreen Fera (

       Intensive College Composition I Coordinator: Anna Bassiri (

       College Composition I Coordinator: Kristine Lafferty (

       College Composition II Coordinator: Tiffany DeRewal (