Our program is devoted to maintaining an innovative, flexible, outcomes-based approach to the teaching of writing and rhetoric. USF, Department of English First-Year Composition (FYC) faculty, and administrators believe our practices should be:
- guided by research and theory in rhetoric and composition;
- centered on an outcomes-based pedagogy and coursework that is relative and dynamic to students’ lives;
- led by best practices in the field and enhanced by a collaboratively-developed curriculum which is vital, progressive, and stimulating for our teachers; and
- influenced by our response to program history, and strengthened by valuable efforts to put rhetoric in action.
Our programmatic principles are guided by research and theory in rhetoric and composition and are achieved by promoting peer-production of curricular resources, engaging in advanced methods of student assessment, and committing to collaboration among all FYC teachers, including graduate assistants, adjuncts, visiting instructors, and professors of all ranks. We provide a demanding and exciting program for both students and teachers by emphasizing higher-order critical reading, writing, and researching skills, allowing students to work and write collaboratively using a variety of technologies, and providing opportunities for students to have their work circulate outside the classroom. The FYC Program (and its outcomes) are process-based, much like writing itself, changing to meet student needs and always subject to revision and further development.
In line with our committment to produced a collaroatively-developed curriculum, all FYC courses at USF use the same custom textbook, most often developed by graduate stduents. Additional
financial support that has in the past come from custom-designed
textbooks means that new computers can be purchased for FYC teachers, travel
to academic conferences can be funded, and guest speakers who add
learning opportunities for our faculty can be sponsored. Rather than a
compilation of other people’s work, our textbooks are written,
researched, and based on composition and rhetoric best practices by our
instructors for our students, and these texts also include
student-written essays and perspectives.
More recently, the FYC program at USF has been the driving force behind the free, online, peer-reviewed writing textbook at WritingCommons.org.
Our program has also saved over $100, 000 total for all FYC students in
the 2012-13 academic year by moving to an online textbook.
2005, USF’s FYC Program has received funding from the General Education
Council to support its Mentoring Program, which enables each new
composition teacher to work closely with a mentor on a 4 to 1 ratio. Due
to the collegial FYC mentoring program, teachers can interact with
their peers and receive the support they need. The
mentoring program provides ongoing professional development for all
beginning TAs, a returning faculty (who chose to work with a mentor),
and other faculty who become involved in the interviews or workshops
that the facilitators organize. This year's mentors are (from left to
right): Megan McIntyre, Ellie Bieze, Jason Carabelli, Barbara McLain,
Jenni Nance, and Whitney Templeton.
In 2012, Quentin D. Vieregge, Kyle D. Stedman, Taylor Joy Mitchell (former USF graduate students), and Joseph M. Moxley published as part of the Studies in Writing & Rhetoric (SWR) series with NCTE/CCCC Agency in the Age of Peer Production, a book that traces the development and impact of My Reviewers and its peer-production tools on the programmatic engagement of graduate students, adjuncts, and faculty. The authors explore how peer-production technologies play a role in negotiating the power structures that frame the relationships between teachers, students, and administrators, ultimately arguing that the effective integration of peer-production technologies on an administrative level stems from strong face-to-face relationships and offline ethos.
The FYC Program at USF recently won the 2011-2012 CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence for its dedication to teaching and technological innovation. For more information, head over to the CCCC website.
WRITING WITH TECHNOLOGY
SharePoint 2010, our instructors collaborate to co-design a shared
pedagogy, which is focused on specific outcomes that we developed in
collaboration with USF's General Education Council (1101 Outcomes, 1102 Outcomes). Over the past four years, over 100 instructors have submitted teaching resources to http://fyc.usf.edu.
We are innovative in the use of technology to support our collaborative
efforts and to improve student thinking, reading, and writing in the
Another important innovation of our program is the My Reviewers
tool: an online student evaluation program designed specifically by and
for FYC at USF to help teachers, review, grade, and provide feedback
for students on their essays.
tool provides students with a wealth of information on how to improve
on the elements of an essay (i.e., focus, organization, evidence),
giving concrete examples and even multimedia resources to facilitate
this learning process. Students are able to review the resources
available to them, upload their paper, receive feedback and grades, and
also conduct peer review all using the same software tool developed by
staff, faculty, and students within the program and English