FYW Program
Why a Shared Text?

Committee Mission

Department of English

ENGL 1101 and 1102
General Policies
In-Class Writing Assessment
Out-of-Class Writing Assessment
ENGL 1101 -
ENGL 1102

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The Writing Center
Library Workshops
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Chronicle of Higher Education
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The Director of First-Year Writing is Prof. Brandy Robinson (brobinso@westga.edu).

Why a Shared Text?

For more information about the FYW's decision to use shared texts, please read these notes compiled by Jane Hill from departmental discussions on 10-2-02 and 10-3-02.

Reasons for a shared text
  • National movement toward common text(s) for first-year students to create sense of community and a common knowledge base that can be assumed by all faculty
  • UWG’s movement toward Learning Communities, programs to enhance retention, strengthen core curriculum
  • Opportunity to expose students to a writer of renown and to create literary events on campus (despite limited funds for doing so)
  • Create more substance for workshops and mentoring experiences
  • Train students to read, analyze, and write about a full-length work by a single author (“Basic Skills” section of core)
  • Support writing-across-the-curriculum by engaging faculty in other disciplines in the subject matter of the shared text(s)

Reasons for a specific shared text
  • Challenging and accessible to students
  • Availability  (and affordability) of author for campus appearance
  • Potential for “connecting” texts—other works that can be used with the shared text to create a course that is coherent and unified
  • Instructor enthusiasm and experience with teaching the text

Complications of having a shared text
  • Need to “remake” our courses (repeatedly)
  • Possibility of teaching a book we don’t like
  • Sense that we are being told what to do, how to teach
  • Discomfort with our preparation for using the chosen text
  • Increased cost of course texts for students

How adding a shared text(s) alters a course
  • Material must be cut from existing course to accommodate new material
  • Material and assignments for existing course must be rearranged to accommodate new material
  • Two options: a) Standard texts—1101, for example, a handbook, a rhetoric, and/or a reader and 1102, for example, a handbook and an introductory literature anthology—plus the shared text; or b) a set of individual texts chosen to complement—through contrast or further development of a theme, etc.—the shared text
  • (Movement toward a specified handbook for 1101/1102 sequence, all English courses, and even as a University handbook)

How to decide which option to choose
  • Personal preference
  • How to make the most effective, coherent course that best meets learning outcomes agreed upon
  • How to model a “typical” humanities course that students might take in the core or at the upper-division
  • How to model reading and thinking in depth about a focused topic

    Sample Course Readings Integrating To Dance with the White Dog as a Shared Text

    Option 1: Standard introduction to literature anthology plus shared text
  • Read Kay’s novel and establish themes of marriage, aging, family life
  • Poetry selections from anthology to support examination of these themes: Linda Pastan, “Ethics”; Donald Finkel, “Hands”; Theodore Roethke, “My Papa’s Waltz” and “I Knew a Woman”; Alden Nowlan, “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”; Richard Hugo, “In Your Young Dream”; William Carlos Williams, “This Is Just to Say” and “To Waken an Old Lady”; Ray Young Bear, “Grandmother”; Margaret Atwood, “You Fit into Me”; Dylan Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”; E. E. Cummings, “Buffalo Bill’s”; Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess”; T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”; Tess Gallagher, “Under Stars”; Seamus Heaney, “Sunlight”; Howard Nemerov, “Storm Windows”; Wallace Stevens, “Peter Quince at the Clavier”; Mark Strand, “Keeping Things Whole”
  • Story selections from anthology: William Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily”; Katharine Anne Porter, “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall”; John Steinbeck, “Chrysanthemums”; Anton Chekhov, “Lady with a Lapdog”; D. H. Lawrence, “The Rocking-Horse Winner”; Tillie Olsen, “I Stand Here Ironing”; Ann Beattie, “Dwarf House”
  • Plays from anthology: Henrik Ibsen, A Doll House; Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman
  • Possible films: Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, Shoot the Moon, Crooklyn

    Option 2: Set of individual texts
  • Kay’s novel
  • Linda Pastan’s An Early Afterlife
  • Bobbie Ann Mason’s Shiloh and Other Stories
  • Proof, Wit, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Dancing at Lughnasa (dramas)
  • Clyde Edgerton’s Raney or Lee Smith’s Fair and Tender Ladies
  • Marvin’s Room, ‘Night, Mother (or any of the films from option 1)

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Department of English and Philosophy
1601 Maple Street, Carrollton, Georgia 30118
Phone: (678) 839-6512 - Fax: (678) 839-4849
Email: engdept@westga.edu

Last updated 09-23-2005 -- Email Susan Holland with problems or questions about the site.