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First-Year English

417 Barnard Hall  

Director: Margaret Vandenburg, Senior Lecturer in English


First-Year English (ENGL BC 1201) is designed to cultivate powerful expository writing. Reading and writing assignments focus on major works of literature from one of three traditions: Legacy of the Mediterranean; Women and Culture; or The Americas. In addition to teaching critical reading and the process of writing, the First-Year English program is responsible for training students to conduct interdisciplinary research and document sources, thereby fostering proficiency in courses across the curriculum.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this one-semester course should be able to:

  • analyze the thematic structure of literary works through close reading
  • translate critical reading into elegant and persuasive expository writing
  • conduct interdisciplinary research to ground literary works in historical contexts
  • document sources and incorporate scholarship into original analytical arguments
  • avoid plagiarism and other academic violations of Barnard's Honor Code
  • develop a sense of literary history
  • gain confidence in speaking as well as writing skills in a small seminar setting
  • appreciate the value of incisive writing in courses across the curriculum