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English Honors


Course Outline

Honors Composition:

Course Description:

Honors Composition is an honors course that provides students intensive study and practice in analytic reading and writing, argument, and research methods. Honors Composition requires students to write a minimum of four formal essays in a range of forms, from analytic to persuasive, or three formal essays and an annotated bibliography. The final paper for the class is a research paper. Students will also learn to incorporate primary and secondary sources into their work according to the rules of MLA style. The total page count for formal writing assignments must be at least 20 pages for the semester.

Honors Composition will consider perspectives on culture and community. Many of our readings and our assignments will ask students to think and write critically about various viewpoints on urban, suburban, rural, and global communities. Whether in contrast to each other or as topics by themselves, communities are subjects that we can view theoretically, practically, and creatively through a myriad of lenses. Students will explore this broad theme using a range of approaches or methodologies. The course will culminate with each student studying, researching, and writing about a current or past community using primary and secondary research techniques.

Required Texts:

1. Lumberjacks Write (to be supplied by the English Department)

2. What It Takes: Writing in College by Laurence Behrens and Leonard J. Rosen.

3. It Takes a Village Idiot by Jim Mullen

4. Prentice Hall Reference Guide edited by Muriel Harris (preferably the 6th edition)

Student Learning Outcomes:

Honors Composition learning outcomes are the goals that students must meet as part of the Freshman Composition core curriculum requirements, which include:

1. Ability to apply and independently use all phases of the writing process, including invention, drafting, revising, and editing, and producing and presenting formal expressive, explicatory, analytical, and persuasive essays and other non-fiction prose genres.

2. Ability to identify the elements of the rhetorical situation inherent in the arguments and research of others, including the purpose of the speaker, the needs of the audience(s), and the content and the context of the argument or research itself.

3. Ability to analyze the rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, logos) and the rhetorical fallacies related to the different types of rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, logos) in each text or work.

4. Ability to identify, judge, and manage the rhetorical situations of their own compositions, including their own constraints as speakers, the needs of their audience(s), the most effective rhetorical appeals for their arguments, and the contextual limitations and opportunities impacting their work.

5. Ability to work effectively in teams on projects involving critical-thinking and problem-solving and to collaborate and report on solutions.

6. Skill and increased sophistication in explaining and developing topics at the paragraph and sentence level; the goal is continued improvement in writing complete, unified, clear, and coherent paragraphs composed of grammatically correct sentences.

7. Ability to independently apply critical thinking, composition, and document design skills to arguments and other persuasive genres of writing across a range of disciplines.

8. The ability to conceive, write, and present a research-based argument and/or academic inquiry related to their own interests and academic goals, using both primary and secondary sources.

Course Outline:


This assignment requires you to write a detailed 3 to 4-page personal narrative of a significant experience that you have had in relation to urban and/or rural life.


This assignment requires you to write a detailed 4 to 5-page rhetorical analysis of a magazine and its target audience.


This assignment requires you to write a detailed 4 to 5-page evaluation of It Takes a Village Idiot. Your review should preview and evaluate the book in a way that is both entertaining and informative for prospective readers.


The argument will consist of an 8 to 10-page collaborative essay in response to recent public claims about some learning loss among American students. You will work with a partner on this essay.


The targeted academic argument will consist of an 8 to 10-page research paper of your own design, written to a specific audience, and focused on some aspect of community.


This is the average of all your graded homework and in-class work completed throughout the semester.


The final exam will consist of an in-class essay. To prepare for the exam, reflect on the skill and types of writing you have practiced this semester.


Honors Intermediate Composition:

Course Description:

Honors Intermediate Composition is a course in expository writing. Instruction focuses on how to select and narrow a topic, frame a thesis statement, and organize the content into a logical, coherent composition. Original essays, increasing in level of difficulty and in length, are developed through a process approach (See Course Outline).

Required Texts:

  1. Reading Critically, Writing Well A Reader and Guide, 7th Edition

  2. Rules for Writers

  3. Into the Wild

  4. Any dictionary

Student Learning Outcomes:

The intent of the course is that students will learn how to successfully:

  • select and narrow an essay topic

  • Formulate a thesis statement

  • Select a pattern of organization appropriate to the topic and the thesis of an expository essay

  • Structure an essay with attention to the three major components: Introduction, development, and conclusion

  • Write unified and coherent paragraphs using a variety of methods of development

  • Write coherent, focused sentences exhibiting a variety in sentence structure

  • Create coherence in the essay through the effective use of expository transitions

  • Exhibit a command of college-level vocabulary appropriate to the essay subject

  • Write on a variety of topics using Standard Written English (SWE)

  • Use a variety of prewriting activities to generate ideas, focus a topic, and formulate a method of developing an essay

  • Edit an essay for content, organization, style, and mechanics

  • Evaluate essays using content, organization, style, and mechanics

  • Analyze the structure, development, and features of writing style in expository writing

  • Write 4-5 page analytical, argumentative, or persuasive papers


Course Outline:

  • Prewriting and peer-editing techniques.

  • How to select and narrow an essay topic

  • How to formulate a thesis statement

  • How to select an appropriate pattern of organization

  • Essay structure: Introduction, development, conclusion

  • Review of paragraph development

  • Techniques for creating variety in sentence structure

  • Effective use of transitions

  • Discussion of diction and Standard Written English

  • Prewriting strategies to generate content and pattern of development

  • Peer editing techniques to respond to essays

  • Evaluation techniques using content, organization, style, and mechanics

  • Identify structure, development, and features of writing style in expository prose

  • How to develop a 4-5 page analytical, argumentative, or persuasive paper

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