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English First-Year Composition Program

Want a job? Have a calling? Hope to change the world? From the perspective of the first-year composition (FYC) program, the answer to these questions is the same: Write.

Our two-course sequence, consisting of ENG 100 and ENG 101, gives you access to the college and the marketplace because it teaches thoughtful use of a powerful tool: writing that makes an evidence-based argument. ENG 101 with a C or better fulfills the General Ed requirement for written expression.

What Will I Learn?

Students who successfully complete the first-year composition program courses:

  • research a topic, develop an argument, and organize supporting details;
  • demonstrate coherent college-level communication (written and oral) that informs, persuades or otherwise engages with an audience;
  • evaluate communication for substance, bias and intended effect; and
  • demonstrate the ability to revise and improve written and oral communication.

You will learn evidence-based writing — traditional and digital — in the FYC program’s courses as you work to become a more knowledgeable, influential evidence-based writer.

What Is Unique About Our Program?

SUNY Plattsburgh’s FYC program is focused on making academic writing inclusive and meaningful, two attributes that can keep you going as you pursue the hard-won skill of writing well. ENG101’s core product is a research project that asks you to create an autoethnography, or do self (“auto”) culture (“ethno”) writing (“graphy”)*. Taking ENG100 first will teach you about this research method’s foundations, giving you the confidence to write a quality study in ENG101. From news segments on Formula 1’s growing female fan base to studies of adoption experiences, autoethnographies are everywhere, and they are enabling writers, speakers and filmmakers to address gaps in public understanding.

*Source: Autoethnography: Understanding Qualitative Research, Tony E. Adams, Stacy Holman Jones, and Carolyn Ellis

What Are My Career Opportunities?

Today, writing is essential to every area of study and nearly every profession. In 1900, 10% of the workforce consisted of “knowledge workers”; today, that number is 75%*. If you are a SUNY Plattsburgh undergraduate, you are preparing to be a part of that 75% as future engineers, social workers, teachers, nurses, accountants. 

*Source: The Rise of Writing, Deborah Brandt

Publish Your Work

Students in the FYC program are creating award-winning, published work. A few of these scholars include:

  • Brenna Strickland’s “The Right Teacher Can Make a Difference: How School Music Communities Create Better Socioeconomic Opportunities for Students in Need — Al Mihalek Composition Prize (2021)
  • Maura Beale’s “COVID vs. Family Dinners” — Published in North Star, Plattsburgh’s Undergraduate Multimodal Literary Arts Journal (2022)
  • Summer Tierney’s “Exploring Inequality in Music Education” — North Star (2022)
  • Keller McGowan’s “An Explanation, Not a Condescension” — Mihalek Prize (2023)
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