First-year writing courses are taught at UConn by graduate students and adjunct faculty and in Connecticut high schools by certified teachers. Together, they provide first-year writing students with the education they need to succeed as writers in a university setting and beyond.

About Our Instructors

Graduate Teaching Assistants

Most first-year writing instructors at UConn’s main campus in Storrs are graduate teaching assistants. The majority of our graduate assistants come from the Department of English.

Graduate students who instruct a course for the First-Year Writing Program receive:

  • A graduate assistantship. Graduate students in the Department of English receive a full-time assistantship (20 hours/week). Graduate students from other departments receive a half-time assistantship (10 hours/week).
  • An instructor of record designation. First-year writing graduate assistants (GAs) lead all aspects of the class, from developing the syllabus to collecting student evaluations for their teaching portfolio.
  • Teaching support and professional development from the program.

All new first-year writing GAs must complete a course in the Theory and Teaching of Writing (ENGL 5100) and participate in a Practicum in the Teaching of Writing (ENGL 5182) during their first teaching semester. All GAs must also participate in an intro week prior to the first week of fall semester classes.

How to Apply

Graduate students in the Department of English. Students admitted to the English graduate program will receive an email from the Director of the First-Year Writing Program. The email will outline responsibilities and ask recipients to respond with their eligibility.

Graduate students from other departments. UConn students in other graduate programs must apply to become a first-year writing instructor. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The First-Year Writing Program makes hiring decisions for the academic year during the preceding fall semester.

Adjunct Instructors

The First-Year Writing Program offers adjunct teaching positions at UConn’s main campus in Storrs most semesters. The program maintains a pool of interested applicants for consideration and screening when openings appear.

Adjunct instructors in the First-Year Writing Program are protected under the UConn American Association of University Professors (AAUP) bargaining agreement. They can teach up to eight credits per year.

The program has a shared framework and set of goals for instructors. Adjunct instructors may teach either our baseline syllabus or use their own inquiry/theme, or the question around which the course is built, subject to approval by the program directors.

How to Apply

If you are interested in becoming a first-year writing adjunct instructor, please email with the following materials:

  • A cover letter stating which courses you are interested in teaching.
  • A curriculum vitae.
  • Sample teaching materials (syllabi, one or two assignment prompts, and student essays with your commentary or responses).
  • A statement of teaching philosophy.
  • Three reference contacts.

Those interested in being a part-time faculty instructor at a regional campus should contact the writing coordinator for that campus.

Early College Experience Instructors

UConn certifies high school teachers to serve as UConn Early College Experience (ECE) instructors. The First-Year Writing Program provides resources and professional development for ECE English instructors, including the Conference on the Teaching of Writing.

Find out more and become an instructor.

Information for Instructors

First-year writing instructors teach one of several first-year writing courses. The majority of our instructors teach ENGL 1007. We also offer a few sections other courses each semester.

All of our courses are based upon the same core assumptions:

  • Students benefit the most from small classroom sizes and individual attention from instructors.
  • Students can and should be expected to do serious intellectual work in their writing courses.
  • Students should come to understand writing as an intellectual process that requires continual development and revision.

We encourage instructors to develop a multitude of different approaches that build on these assumptions. As a result, teachers find that our courses are eminently flexible, and can be adjusted to fit their own teaching styles and interests, as well as the learning styles and interests of students.

Nonetheless, there are certain core components that instructors should know about and incorporate as they plan their courses. More about our curriculum.

Information, Digital, and Media Literacy

Basic information literacy is an integral part of the first-year writing curriculum. First-year writing instructors introduce students to information literacy through activities and projects throughout the semester. As a result, students learn how to access, evaluate, synthesize, and incorporate information into their academic materials.

More about information, digital, and media literacy in first-year writing courses.

Classroom Activities

Rather than using the traditional lecture format, first-year writing courses emphasize active learning and hands-on collaboration. Students engage in exciting class activities — and with each other. Instructors use cutting edge classroom approaches to help diverse students master learning objectives, as well as give and receive constructive feedback.

Browse sample classroom activities.


Find resources and teaching forms for instructors and an overview of relevant University policies.