First Year Writing Position Statement

First Year Writing Position Statement

Rowan First-Year Writing Position Statement on Language and Correctness

Gender-Inclusive Language

Faculty and students are encouraged to use gender-inclusive language, including the singular “they.” We recognize that language evolves and that binary approaches to gender as strictly male/female are socially and biologically inaccurate. The choices we make around language can reinforce the inclusive classroom spaces we want to create for our students. 

Other gender-inclusive moves faculty may consider include:

  • moving away from gendered nouns. For example, using “people” instead of “mankind” or “first-year students” instead of “freshmen.”
  • using pronouns such as “one” and “who” rather than “he” and “she.”
  • using gender-neutral terms to address a group of students, such as “students,” “folks,” or “people” rather than “you guys” or “ladies and gentlemen.”   

For more on gender-inclusive language, please explore the following resources: 

Language Issues Pertaining to Race, Culture, and Power

Rowan’s First-Year Writing Program affirms linguistic diversity as a strength. We seek to empower our students by recognizing and developing this rhetorical resource in their written expression.

We understand that the discourse community of the academy reinforces white supremacy by focusing on “Standard” or “Academic” English to the exclusion of linguistic diversity. We aim to make these power dynamics visible for our students so that they may make conscious choices about when to push back against genre conventions and when to strategically deploy diverse Englishes in their writing.

Faculty are encouraged to establish instructional and assessment practices that incorporate antiracist pedagogy and affirm linguistic diversity. The Core Values and outcomes detail our curricular priorities and should serve as a guide for faculty, rather than any culturally constructed notions of what “good writing” looks like or sense of obligation to the institution. 

For more on language diversity and antiracist writing pedagogy, please explore the following resources: