• 6500 words of writing during the semester. This word count includes drafts.
  • 3 major papers plus a short, in-class writing sample at the beginning of the semester and a reflective/portfolio final paper.
  • The papers must make up at least 80% of the final grade. (The papers can be worth more than 80%)
  • The other 20% or less of the final grade can come from daily grades, homework, journals, etc.
  • Instructor Eligibility: Must have at least 18 graduate hours in English. 103/104 teachers are selected through a course proposal process.


(See 101 Outcomes)

EN 101 is the first half of a two-course sequence. In this course, students should be introduced to several important concepts about reading and writing in general: critical reading skills, how to identify and state the argument in any particular reading and how to recognize its unstated assumptions, the writing process, the importance of peer editing, and how to evaluate and integrate peer advice. In addition, students should become aware of the differences between informal writing and academic writing, paying specific attention to audience, purpose, and voice. In EN 101, students should learn the combination of elements that make an essay successful: meaningful content, logical organization, awareness of stylistic concerns, the basics of citation formatting, and control of mechanics or surface-language issues. See the standard syllabi for examples of how to accomplish these aims, and use a textbook from the FWP approved text list to determine a sequence of appropriate assignments to accomplish the course outcomes.


(See 102 Outcomes)

EN 102 is the second half of the First-year Writing sequence. In this course, students should be introduced to more in-depth research skills, including library, database, and web research. Students should work to create their own arguments supported by research. At the same time, students in EN 102 classes should work to reinforce and further develop the writing and reading skills they studied in EN 101, including correct citation and documentation practices.

103 / 104

(See 103 Outcomes / 104 Outcomes)

EN 103 and 104 are one-semester courses that combine the outcomes of EN 101 and EN 102. Generally these classes are themed and are more challenging that EN 101 and  102. See the 101 and 102 descriptions above for information on the skills that should be covered.

  • The FWP requires that all 101,102,103,and 104 sections adopt the UA custom edition of A Writer’s Reference handbook and a rhetoric from the program’s approved book list.
  • A separate reader may also be adopted if the instructor chooses.
  • The approved book list is updated each semester and sent via email shortly after course assignments have been made. Contact the FWP if you need the most recent version of the list.
  • You may check out exam copies of approved texts from Melinda Fields in Morgan 207. Desk copies to keep should be ordered from the publisher’s reps listed on the book list.
  • Any selections not on the approved text list should be approved by emailing the FWP director prior to adoption.
  • Book orders are submitted by following the link and instructions in an email from the SupeStore after course assignments have been made.

Your course syllabus should include all required course policies (see course policy checklist and course policy templates) and a complete calendar that lists major grade due dates, rough draft dates, homework and reading assignments, and some indication of in-class activities.

  • Each teacher must upload the accurate syllabus (policies and calendar) for each of their sections to OIRA resources in the faculty tab of mybama during the first week of classes each semester. The OIRA syllabi are evaluated for program requirements and used in SACS accreditation records. The syllabus uploaded to OIRA and the syllabus given to students must be the same. See information about using OIRA resources.
  • Teachers must also create a BBL shell for each section and at least use the BBL course to upload the syllabus there as well. See instructions for creating a BBL shell.

You may also want to consult

The Class Calendar

  • Know the program requirements for all FWP classes: 4 major assignments plus a diagnostic essay, 80% (or more) of the final grade must come from papers, 6500 words of writing per semester.
  • Start with the student learning outcomes for your course and think about how to accomplish those outcomes throughout the arc of the semester.
  • See 101 and 102 standard syllabi and the class calendar templates which include class dates, important UA dates, holidays, etc. See also, the UA academic calendar
  • At UA, you might also want to consult the football schedule to be aware of dates for homecoming and major home games (when your students might not be as focused on writing a paper as they might need to be.) This is not to say you should create your syllabus around football, just that you might want to be aware of it.
  • Once you have a list of all the days your class meets and you’ve inserted academic calendar dates, you can then subdivide into units and begin to fill in with daily readings, class assignments, and paper deadlines for each unit for the entire semester.
  • Each unit should focus on process writing with instructor guidance at each step of the process (invention/content development, organization, drafting, revising).
  • The FWP advocates active learning techniques such as peer review workshops, small group tasks, and division of each class session into modules or time blocks that each focus on a different aspect of student writing.
  • Readings and discussions of readings may be part of the FWP classroom, but remember that the focus of every class should be student writing.

Diagnostic Essays (also called writing samples) are written in class within the first few days of the semester as a way to orient the teacher to students’ writing abilities. Teachers should provide a personal, written response to the diagnostic essay as a way of starting a semester-long conversation about writing between the teacher and student. These papers are informally graded for completion, unlike the major papers of the semester. Teachers award a certain number of daily points for completing the writing sample.

Reflections (or portfolio overview/reflection essays) ask students to reflect on the work they’ve completed over the course of the semester. Students can make assertions about what they’ve learned and support those assertions with evidence from their previous essays. The Norton Field Guide also provides a list of points that students can cover in this type of assignment (see chapter 29). These reflections or portfolios are typically given as the final exam for first-year writing courses, and they are graded like a typical essay.

As a FWP teacher, you must administer two separate sets of online student opinion surveys: one from the College of Arts and Sciences and one from the first-year writing program. Every 100-level class should set aside time during the evaluation period for giving these evaluations in the classroom. Have students bring wi-fi enabled technology (laptop, smartphone, etc.) to class to take the surveys.

  • The FWP student opinion survey is provided as a link on the student’s “End of Semester Survey” page each semester.
  • The A & S survey is accessed through the student tab of mybama. Students also receive email reminders of these surveys in their crimsonmail accounts.

All EN 101, 102, 103, 104, 120, 121 classes should have students complete BOTH the A&S and FWP surveys during the evaluation period.

Please follow these guidelines:

  • Give students plenty of advance notice and reminders about when to bring their wi-fi device.
  • Have a back-up plan in case some students forget their devices. (you might ask if any students are willing to share once they have finished their surveys)
  • On the day of the survey, provide the FWP student page URL and instructions for accessing the A & S survey.
  • Leave the room while students complete the surveys.

How to access the student opinion survey results

Results of A & S evaluations and FWP surveys can be accessed through mybama, faculty tab, OIRA resources box. Click on “Student Opinions of Instruction/Course Evaluations”

To see the FWP questions (revised in Summer 2014), download a copy of the survey.

If you have problems accessing the program surveys contact the Associate Director Jessica Kidd.

  • You are required to meet your classes during study week.
  • Major-grade assignments (papers or tests) may not be due during Study Week. Homework is fine.
  • Final exams may not be given during study week.
  • In your course policies, do not allow the final paper / final exam to be turned in late. (You can make individual exceptions, if warranted by extenuating circumstances, but don’t allow the whole class the option of turning in these papers late.)
  • Be aware of the tight grading deadlines for the final papers. Plan ahead to get that grading done in a timely fashion.
  • Final grades must be posted by the deadline advertised by the Registrar’s office. The Provost monitors final grade submissions and makes note of anyone who has not posted grades by the deadline.
  • Please keep final exams for one year.
  • Use one of two methods for giving a final exam in FWP classes:
  • OPTION 1: The traditional 2.5 hour exam given during the University-scheduled time for your class. Your exam must be given AS SCHEDULED by the University.
  • OPTION 2: A reflective or other final essay that is assigned before or during study week so that you can walk students through the process of writing as with previous essays. This essay should be due at the same time as your University-scheduled exam would have be given. Students can meet you during the exam time to drop off papers, or you can have students submit electronically (turnitin, BBL, etc.).

  • You are required to email your students and notify the main office by phone as soon as you are aware of your need to cancel. The English main office phone number is 205-348-5065. Email students, but CALL the main office. Please do not email the main office about your cancellation.
  • The office needs your first and last name, the courses you are canceling (including section number- EN 101-003), what day and time the classes meet (2:00pm, Thursday, 11/1), and what room the class is taught in (136 Morgan). The main office has voicemail, and you may leave a message.
  • If you know that you will need to cancel more than one day of classes: Start the process with contacting our Department Chair. If you are teaching a 100 level class, also notify our Director of First Year Writing. Then, follow the procedures above.
  • Note: For reporting purposes, “moving” a scheduled in-person class online counts as a class cancellation. If you plan to tell students in an in-person course that the class will not meet in person but rather students will complete activities online, you must follow the procedures detailed above.
  • Your first course of action is to email your students and post in Blackboard. Office staff does not post notices on classroom doors when there is a class cancelation. That being said, the main office does need that phone call with all of the information requested above to not only keep the mandatory records, but to help lost students.
  • According to the Faculty Handbook, “Faculty members are expected to conduct their classes as scheduled. A faculty member normally must receive prior approval from the department chairperson before missing or rescheduling classes. The faculty member must arrange for a suitable substitute for missed classroom time and must discuss such arrangements with the department chairperson to ensure that the plan is acceptable.”
  • You are expected to meet all of your classes. However, if you find that you must be absent, you are REQUIRED by the conditions of your employment to notify the English Department as outlined above. This procedure applies even if you have arranged for a substitute.
  • You are responsible for finding your own substitute, someone who is able to work through the appropriate lesson on your syllabus in your stead. For a last-minute cancellation (illness, emergency, etc.) providing instruction and taking homework via BBL can be a good way to keep the class on track.

  • EN 101 and EN 102 classes are generally capped at 24 students per section.
  • EN 103 and EN 104 classes are generally capped at 18 students per section.

As a rule, we do not allow overrides. If there is a rare override necessity, these override requests MUST be approved through the First-year Writing Program office.

Official Class Rosters can always be found through My Bama: Academics or Faculty tab, Banner Self Services box, Faculty & Advisors link, Summary Class List link; or Faculty tab, Faculty Dashboard box and can be downloaded and/or printed. To help you learn student names, there is also a photo class list (Banner Self Services box, Faculty and Advisors, Photo Class List).

If you choose to replace class meetings with individual conferences, 2 weeks worth of class is the official maximum. You should meet with students in your office or another on-campus location such as the library. Do not hold conferences off campus, on weekends, or outside business hours.

If you hold conferences, make sure students know what it expected of them (bring a rough draft, questions, etc.). You should also outline the penalty for missing a required conference (i.e., missing a conference is equivalent to 2 absences since class has been cancelled for the conference or the conference is worth x number of daily grades).

According to the Faculty Handbook, faculty members are expected to maintain grade records for all registered students and may use any system they choose for keeping such records. The University expects each faculty member to leave all grade records with the department chairperson or dean at the end of employment at the University. First-year writing requires that each teacher turn in grade records at the end of each semester. Watch for the end-of-semester email/memo with directions on how to turn in these records.

  • If you choose to keep student digital grade records, please back up ALL of your postings.
  • Final exams should be kept for one year in case there are grade disputes.

  • Teachers are expected to hold at least 3 office hours per week and be reasonably flexible in scheduling individual appointments as needed.
  • Your office hours and a “by appointment” statement should be listed on your course policy and syllabus, which should be uploaded to OIRA resources and BBL.
  • Office hours should be held in your office or in another campus location during regular business hours. You should not set up meetings with students off-campus or after hours.