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Department of Literature and Language  

First Year Writing Instructors' Handbook

This site for teachers of first-year writing is designed to provide relevant information about policy and practice and answer some basic questions that Composition faculty in UNC Asheville's Department of Literature and Language may have about the program.

The Writing Program at UNC Asheville

Erica with student writing

The Writing Program at UNC Asheville, an example of cross-campus collaboration, consists of Language 120, Foundations of Academic Writing, and three additional Writing Intensive courses. The program is supported not only by the faculty of the Department of Literature and Language, but by all other academic departments and the University Writing Center, located in Room 216 of Ramsey Library. Dr. Blake Hobby is Director of UNC Asheville’s First-Year Writing. The Writing Intensive Committee provides support and reports to the Integrative Liberal Studies Oversight Committee.

Goals of UNC Asheville’s Writing Program

At the heart of UNC Asheville’s Integrative Liberal Studies Program is the conviction that liberal arts students should experience the ways in which various disciplines investigate, understand, and construct bodies of knowledge differently, through a range of concepts and methods. Central to this philosophy is the recognition that writing is a means of learning. Language 120, like the Writing Intensive (WI) courses across the curriculum that supplement it, provides students with opportunities to develop their skills in writing and critical thinking. The content of a writing course involves an exploration of the ways we use writing to think and understand, to explore questions and to discover ideas.  


Most students are required to take Language 120. Students may exempt the course if they have equivalent (4 hours, with a grade of C- or better) transfer credit or have earned a 5 on the Advanced Placement exam. All questions and appeals for exception should be directed to Dr. Blake Hobby, Director of First-Year Writing.

Class Rolls

A detailed or summary class list – including photos - for each course section is available through OnePort.

Working in a Computer Lab

If you wish for your class to work occasionally or regularly in a computer classroom, contact Silke Crombie and ask if she can schedule you into a computer lab during the time that your class meets. She is at, phone 828.250.3832.

Stephanie and Julia in class


Password-protected classroom technology is available to all instructors. Workshops in getting started using this technology, as well as using specific functions such as forums, wikis, gradebooks and setting up assignments and quizzes are offered frequently by John Myers of the Classroom and Instructional Tech Support staff.


Other Opportunities for Student Writing Experiences

Service Learning

Each section of Language 120 may participate in community service projects (usually to a non-profit agency or a school) to enhance the academic goals of the course. Ten to fifteen hours of service is usual; and the essential linking can take place in a number of ways, written, oral, or other (see below).

Reflecting on the connections between their service project and their other class assignments gives students an excellent opportunity to experience an important aspect of liberal arts education: the creative application of “book-learning” to life and to leadership. Service-learning is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about the complex society, and complex culture, in which they will be working, raising families, and serving as leaders. Not only will students be helping others--which is in itself a good thing -- but they also will be realizing a core value of their UNC Asheville education: the ability to make connections and to use the mind creatively.

How can performing service increase students’ understanding of what they’re learning in class? The Key Center for Service Learning has found that their experience on-site affects how students interpret related texts and how they analyze their interpretations. Service-learning projects help students become more conscious of their own -- and others’ -- world-views and biases. The service gives them questions to ask the texts; the texts challenge them to see the fuller reality of the people at their service-site; as a result, both their learning and their world become more real to them. To explore the possibility of adding a service-learning component to class, contact or visit the Key Center in 212 Highsmith Union. A representative of the Key Center will visit your class to talk with the students, explaining the process and the options available to them.

The Olivia J. Gudger First Year Writing Contest

Students with no more than thirty hours of college credit are invited to submit one essay from their Language 120 class to be judged in this annual contest for first-year writers, sponsored in memory of former Literature and Language Professor Olivia J. Gudger.
Prizes are awarded in two categories, Narrative essays (personal essays with no research component) and Research papers (essays that showcase information literacy.)
In each category, judges will determine three awards: the Winner will earn $100; the Runner-up will win $75; and the Honorable Mention will win $25.
  • Recent Winning Essays are available in the Unity Files for the Literature and Language Department. The student-writers have given their permission to have them copied and used as models in the teaching of Language 120.

Gudger Winners 2004

Last edited by on September 7, 2012