November-December 2020 Announcements

The Composition Program has the following announcements, upcoming events, and updates to share for November and December.

Submissions/Nominations for Distinguished Writing from ENGL1105 & ENGL1106
In early November, the Composition Program invited all instructors and GTAs to nominate writers (and their writing) as we resume the practice of collecting and spotlighting distinguished writing from ENGL1105 & ENGL1106. The first two submissions have been published in the program’s document gallery at The first piece, by Lorena Murro, is titled “My Thinking Booth: Essential Qualities of a Reading Space.” “My Thinking Booth” was written this semester in a section of ENGL1105 taught by Annie Raab. The second piece, by Matthew Pepi, “On Weightlifting Supplements and Their Consequences,” was written in Fall 2019 in a section of ENGL1106 taught by Vickie Le Corre-Cochran.

Pathways Assessment – Postponed in Fall 2020, Resuming in Spring 2021
Pathways Assessment was suspended for both Spring and Fall 2020, but it will resume in Spring 2021. Updates to the data collection form and timeline will be posted by February 2021 at In the meantime, we can reasonably foresee a data collection deadline around mid-May. The focal assessment artifact will continue as it has in the past–the rhetorical analysis project in ENGL1105 and the sustained research project in ENGL1106.

Composition Program – Fall 2021 Activities of Note
As we continue to provide instruction in foundational academic discourses and research writing to more than 3,000 first-year students each semester, in Fall 2020, the Composition Program

  • hosted Dr. Asao Inoue for a commonwealth-wide workshop, “How to Engage in Antiracist Classroom Writing Assessment,” on October 21; hosted a pair of program-wide teaching circles designed to share ideas and to engage colleagues constructively in conversations about teaching;
  • developed and is piloting a new placement inventory, which has been integrated into Slate system used by Undergraduate Admissions for applications and acceptances;
  • resumed the practice of collecting and spotlighting distinguished writing from ENGL1105 & ENG1106 (see note above);
  • updated Canvas Blueprints for the nearly 160 sections of ENGL1105 & ENGL1106 being offered in Spring 2021;
  • sought and gained approval for reducing course caps to 19 (in Spring 2021) as a first step in a multi-year incremental cap reduction meant to bring us into compliance with national standards for effective writing instruction;
  • continued to develop a GTA Teaching Handbook.

Canvas Blueprints, Textbook Orders, and Section Counts for Spring 2021
All sections of ENGL1105 & ENGL1106 for Spring 2021 will be offered in the same format as Fall, appearing on the timetable with a designated day and time along with the note “Synchronous meetings held at teacher’s discretion.” Updated Canvas blueprints (showing Spring 2021 dates) have been copied/iterated into place. Textbooks for Spring 2021 have been ordered for all sections of ENGL1105 & ENGL1106. The textbook will remain fully digital. Enrollment adjustments are ongoing, but we anticipate offering approximately nine sections of ENGL1105 and 150 sections of ENGL1106 next semester.

Looking Ahead: 2021 Teaching Portfolio Award
The call for submissions is posted for the 2021 Composition Teaching Portfolio Award–an annual award designed to encourage the development and collection of exemplary teaching materials from instructors and GTAs. Up to four $400 awards will be made this year. Submissions may be focused on either ENGL1105 or ENGL1106. The full description of the award is available online at To be considered for the award, submit materials by Friday, March 12, 2021.

Continue to let us on the program leadership team know if you have any questions we can help with.