Learning Goals in First-Year Writing at UVA

In our courses, students and teachers focus on student writing—its struggles, possibilities, and accomplishments—that converses with audiences within and beyond the university. 

As teachers, students, and writers, we are committed to:  

Participating in Critical Inquiry 

We write to examine and reflect on what others have written; to identify and address questions that require complex responses; to explore our uncertainty and discover what we think; to enter and advance a conversation in which we engage with the ideas of others. 

Developing Rhetorical Agility 

We write and read in a variety of rhetorical contexts, genres, and media to consider the relationships among audience, form, and context; we attend to structural and stylistic choices and to the clarity, rhythm, and tone of the prose we write and read; we examine and employ various writing technologies. 

Engaging Diverse Communities  

We write to understand our relationships with others; to make and cultivate connections both within and between communities; to represent other people and their ideas fairly and accurately; to recognize and potentially challenge existing hierarchies of power. 

Attending to Writing as Process 

We recognize writing as a process and ourselves as writers in process; we seek and give feedback on writing in progress and revise with that feedback in mind; we develop a vocabulary for discussing our own writing and that of others with insight and nuance; we consider how writing circulates and reflect on its reception among different readers. 

Common Features of First-Year Writing Courses at UVA 

Each section of first-year writing is unique; instructors choose their own subjects and the genres in which their students write, and they take different approaches to classroom activities. But students in all sections will: 

  • write at least three major assignments over the course of the semester, 
  • devote time each week to writing to explore and discover as well as to communicate, 
  • engage in drafting, feedback, and revision cycles with their instructor and peers, 
  • consider expectations created by genre and audience, and 
  • give feedback on other students’ writing and receive it on their own.