/ General Education

Expository Writing

The ability to write persuasively is essential to professional life, personal reflection and participation in society. It has been a core goal of the liberal arts since ancient times.

The four-credit expository writing (EW) requirement prepares you to succeed with the writing involved in other college courses and in life beyond college.

The EW requirement is fulfilled by English 113, a four-credit course usually taken in the first year. Students who have earned a 4 or 5 on the AP English exams, or who score a 60 on the CLEP test in college composition, receive credit for English 113. 

Additionally, all FOCUS (provisionally admitted first year students) must take English 113 in the fall semester. The course serves as foundation for additional writing instruction in other courses and develops skills in critical reading and thinking, gathering and evaluating information, and using the resources of Hope’s award-winning library. It is offered every semester and the class limit is 18 students.

See descriptions of English 113 courses currently being offered.

Learning Goals for English 113

English 113 aims to prepare students to write successfully in college courses and beyond, especially in careers where writing is essential. The instructors emphasize — through process and practice, engagement and understanding — the following aspects of the written composition:

Self-Understanding as Writers

Students will:

  • Recognize writing as a process of self-discovery, in which through reflection they come to understand their own strengths and areas for improvement as writers
  • Approach and practice writing as process consisting of prewriting, drafting and revising
  • Recognize that good writing is self-expressive and hinges on articulation of a writer’s position that is a product of both self-reflection and critical knowledge
  • Understand that a writer’s experience helps provide the context for interpretation and articulation of ideas
  • Understand that reading and writing are tools of self-definition and expression that extend beyond the classroom into career development, and that with curiosity, they can contribute to any community of writers and idea-makers
Academic Rhetoric

Students will:

  • Learn how a writer deals with the purposes, audiences and genres of writing
  • Use reading and writing as tools of academic inquiry, for engaging with and responding to the ideas of others
  • Learn to choose among various strategies for effectively using ideas, original thoughts, logic, thematic evidence, rhetorical clues and discourse markers
Critical Literacy

Students will:

  • Learn to acquire, assess, and use information in their writing and gain greater familiarity with library catalogues, databases and search engines
  • Develop skills and strategies for generating and organizing ideas, collaborating with peers, receiving feedback, revising, editing and proofreading
  • Understand that curiosity and creativity are required for critical thinking and good writing
  • Understand writing as dialog between writer and reader to achieve writing purpose with a given audience
  • Develop and articulate responses to readings according to the demands of varied requirements and purposes within academic writing
Writing Conventions

Students will:

  • Recognize the logic and necessity of academic citations, especially the MLA style
  • Emphasize knowledge of standard vocabulary in crafting strong thesis statements, paragraphs and sentences to structure and develop papers based on persuasion
  • Focus on knowledge of academic conventions such as structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Understand choices of voice and style and when they are appropriate

Teaching English 113: Selected Voices from the Classroom

Ernest Cole
ernest coleIn my section of English 113 titled “Seminar in Academic Writing,” I conceptualize and locate first-year composition within the context of self-discovery. This process can be achieved through exploring a philosophy of writing through texts, which mean that rather than writing about texts, I ask my students to use course readings as bases for discussion, analysis and exploration. I emphasize that students must see themselves as engaging in conversation with writers, situating themselves in a conversation with other writers, working with them in meaningful ways and developing new ways of approaching texts. I work with my students to discover new ways of thinking about complex ideas expressed and developed over a considerable number of pages, and help them formulate their own thoughts through close reading, critical thinking and intellectual inquiry
Pablo Peschiera

PabloAbove all, I hope my students leave class with an awareness of control. Control comes through the process of revision. This means that they can handle their words like a sculptor handles clay, reshaping it again and again until it takes the proper form. I don't ask my students to become great writers. I only want my students to know the joy of working with language and getting it right, so that they can feel some confidence in their ability to write clearly and purposefully. That way they'll know their thoughts and ideas appear correctly and accurately on the page, in the way they intended.

When students know they can take control over their language and truly communicate in a way that is both of their choosing and satisfies the context of their writing (the audience, the assignment, etc.), they've found their "voice." Having that "voice" doesn't mean they will always find writing easy — far from it, in fact. That "voice" means they can revise with confidence, working through the difficult drafts, knowing that through the reshaping power of revision, they can eventually communicate their message clearly.

So I see a writer's "voice" as coming only through learning how to control language. When students feel control over their language through revision, they start to feel control over their message, control over themselves and even control over their destiny