About First-Year Writing

The First-Year Writing (FYW) Program helps UConn undergraduates build the foundation they need to progress as writers and as college students.

UConn students must complete a first-year writing course as a prerequisite for satisfying the General Education Writing Competency requirement. Our program administers these introductory courses at UConn and in Connecticut high schools through the Early College Experience (ECE) program.

Offered through the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, our classes give students the tools they need to succeed in a university setting and beyond.

Our program is also a key part of the writing community at UConn. Through connections with affiliated programs and campus partners, we recognize student achievement, sponsor events, and provide professional development to educators across the state.

What We Do

The First-Year Writing Program:

  • Serves all first-year students as they expand their thinking, communication, and research skills.
  • Supports students’ development through engaging, hands-on classroom experiences.
  • Offers professional development to first-year writing instructors at all UConn campuses, as well as ECE English course instructors at Connecticut high schools.
  • Designs innovative curriculum as a leader in the field of rhetoric and composition.

Our Philosophy

The first-year writing curriculum engages students with hands-on, collaborative experiences. Courses prioritize making and doing over passive absorption of knowledge. Students determine the direction their writing takes and contribute to the body of academic knowledge.

Our program designs its courses to make students engage with important questions and themes, such as:

  • What does an education do?
  • How do we inhabit the world?
  • Why do we think the way we do?
  • What does it mean to be human?

Our students produce diverse work they can use in their portfolios, including academic essays, videos, interviews, infographics, podcasts, sound maps, promotional materials. In addition, they gain practical experience they will use throughout their careers. By the end of our courses, all students will:

  • Design text and graphic materials.
  • Plan and develop sophisticated projects.
  • Conduct field work.
  • Visualize data.
  • Demonstrate advanced research skills.

Affiliated Programs and Campus Partners

The First-Year Writing Program collaborates with a variety of organizations across UConn.

Affiliated Programs

Aetna Chair Of Writing

The Aetna Chair of Writing and its associated funds support writing initiatives for students, educators, and the UConn community. It promotes several hands-on opportunities for first-year writing students, as well as several writing prizes that recognize excellence in writing.

Creative Writing Program

The Creative Writing Program offers students the chance to develop their skills in genres such as poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, and writing for children. First-year writing students can enhance their studies by attending frequent visits by award-winning and emerging authors.

Connecticut Writing Project

The Connecticut Writing Project is a professional development network that serves teachers of writing at all levels, from primary to university. It aims to promote student achievement by improving the teaching of writing and improving learning in our nation’s schools.

Department of English

The UConn Department of English educates students about literature and literary history, helping them to develop the writing and critical thinking skills required for literary interpretation. The Department houses the First-Year Writing Program, and many English graduate students serve as FYW instructors.

Early College Experience

The UConn Early College Experience program allows motivated high school students to take UConn courses for both high school and college credit. By taking ECE English courses while they’re in high school, UConn students can get a head start on completing their General Education requirements.

UConn Writing Center

The UConn Writing Center is committed to the long-term development of all UConn student writers. It offers free tutoring services to UConn students through in-person, online, and asynchronous appointments.

Campus Partners

Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) provides resources to first-year writing instructors, including help with designing courses, professional development, teaching and learning assessments, and more.

Common Curriculum Committee

The Common Curriculum Committee (CCC+) works with academic departments to ensure that UConn courses align with the new Common Curriculum for Leadership and Global Citizenship.

Learning Community Program

The Learning Community Program provides students with opportunities to investigate areas of interests through guided courses and co-curricular activities. Students in learning communities take a suite of courses with their cohort, which often includes a FYW course that focuses on their area of interest.

UConn Library Information Literacy Program

The UConn Library Information Literacy Program provides students and instructors with an understanding of today’s global information environment, focusing on evaluating and using information resources competently and ethically.