College Composition I

College Composition I - ENG 101 – A02

T 9:00- 11:45 am J 301


Barry Tomkins  201-360-4682 A copy of this syllabus will be posted at Make a note elsewhere in case you can’t find this document. Office hours in I 207B:  Mondays 3:00 pm- 4:00 pm; Tuesdays 4:00 pm- 5:00 pm; Wednesdays 1:00 - 2:30 pm; also by appointment. It’s best to call or e-mail if you intend to visit in case I have had to leave the office.


Course Description

            In this course we’ll focus on the development of composition skills, especially the various stages of the writing process, including prewriting, composing and revising strategies. We will also pay special attention to the growth of critical thinking skills by studying, discussing and writing about readings from our textbook. You will write a series of essays and summaries and exercises  for homework and there will be individual and group assignments to complete in class. Some attention will be given to common grammatical problems, but you are expected to begin the course with a good knowledge of grammar. This course develops skills needed to do well in more advanced college courses as well as in professional work.


Prerequisite:  College-level score of 6 on the CPT Writing Sample and passing Reading Comprehension score, or Exit from Developmental Reading and Writing by test or portfolio with an appropriate score.


Student Outcomes

            As a result of taking this course, you should be able to write well-organized essays of five paragraphs or more explaining a central idea, or thesis.  Your skills should include being able to:


· Develop ideas and evaluate them in the light of your own beliefs and knowledge and evidence discovered through reading, discussion and research;

· Communicate your ideas effectively to college-level readers;

· Support your ideas with well-developed examples and other evidence;

· Refer to other writers in the course of your writing, making proper use of summary, paraphrase and quotation;

· Organize your ideas and evidence effectively in a sequence of paragraphs;

· Make use of different methods of development such as narration, description, classification, exemplification, definition, causal analysis, process analysis, comparison and contrast, and various strategies for argument;

· Write well in a timed, classroom setting;

· Edit, revise and print your work in an appropriate format.


Required Textbooks

These are available from the College bookstore at 83 Sip Avenue in Jersey City:

· Diana Hacker, Rules for Writers. 7th. edition. Bedford/ St. Martin’s.

· Kirszner, Mandell, Patterns for College Writing, 12th. edition.



            Attendance is required at all classes. There are no “excused absences” in college, and each absence will reduce your grade by 5%. More than 2 absences will result in a failing grade. A 3rd. absence may be excused with documentation, but only for students current with all their work. If you are absent for a legitimate reason, given the limits above, you may erase the 5% penalty by summarizing the readings from Patterns for the week you missed (each summary = 150 -200 words) and handing them on return to class. You may also have to make up an in-class assignment if one was given on the day you were absent.

            If a serious problem prevents you from attending class, please contact me immediately by phone or e-mail. If you stop attending without officially withdrawing, you will receive an F for the course. This will be on your transcript -- for ever -- and may affect your academic standing, financial aid and transfer options. Occasional lateness will be forgiven; chronic lateness will not, and you will be considered absent if you are consistently more than 15 minutes late.



All work must be completed in order to earn a passing grade. You must also pass the WPT with a score of 7 or above.


6 formal essays (each revised once):                         60%

In-class writing assignments on assigned readings:   30%

Other in-class assignments:                                        10%


See note on attendance above.


Writing Proficiency Test

            In Week 14, you will take the Writing Proficiency Test. By college policy, you must pass this essay test with a score of 7/12 in order to pass ENG 101 and move on to College Composition II or other courses with a prerequisite of ENG 101. We will do at least one practice WPT during the semester and all assignments will help you prepare.

In rare cases, a student with a score of 6 on the WPT is allowed to pass ENG 101 after a Portfolio Appeal. I will gladly sign Portfolio Appeals for students who have attended class regularly, done all the assigned work, shown a serious interest in improving their writing skills, and consistently produced work at the “B” level.


Presentation of Essays

            Formal essays (including drafts) and other homework assignments must be word-processed, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri or Courier New type, with no cover sheet. Informal in-class work may be legibly handwritten on lined, full-sized paper in blue or black ink.



            Please keep all work for the course in a well-organized folder. This will be your “portfolio” which demonstrates the quantity and quality of your work. You should also keep a digital copy of your portfolio. I suggest you get a USB drive and create e-folders for each course you are taking. Don’t forget to back up your files.


Tutoring/ Computer Laboratories

            Free tutoring is available for this course (B building, 3rd. floor). 

            Access to computer laboratories is available at various times in North Hudson and Jersey City. Please refer to posted information about hours.

            If you do not have a computer at home, you will need to schedule time on campus so you can type, save and print your homework. Handwritten homework assignments will not be accepted.


Schedule of Assignments

            Be prepared for class! You will need to schedule plenty of time for reading and writing outside of class. The normal guideline for college is 2 hours of homework for each hour in class. You must be prepared for class by reading the assigned work by the day listed below and doing any assigned writing. The class will begin with a books closed written quiz on the homework reading. No exercises from the textbooks need to be handed in unless specifically requested.



            Each essay assignment will be explained separately.  One revision -- within two weeks of return date, with original – is required for each essay. No work will be accepted after the last scheduled class session.


Schedule of Assignments.

Page numbers refer to Patterns.  Bring Rules  to class also. We will refer to it on specific points as needed.


Week 1

            Introduction to the course. What are the qualities of good writing?

            Cisneros, “Only Daughter” (111) – handout for those without textbooks yet


Week 2 Essay #1 due

Narration (97-108)

Smith-Yackel, “My Mother Never Worked” (121)

Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant” (133)


Week 3

            Exemplification (211-225)

E.B. White, “Once More to the Lake” (194)

            Staples, “Just Walk On By” (240)


Week 4 Essay #2 due

            Process (263-280)

            Malcom X, “My First Conk” (281)

            Mitford, “The Embalming of Mr. Jones” (303)


Week 5

            Jackson, “The Lottery” (311)

            Chopin, “The Storm” (202)


Week 6 Essay #3 due

            Cause and Effect (321-336)

            Graham, “The Black Table Is Still There” (349)

            Hasselstrom, “ A Peaceful Woman Explains Why She Carries a Gun” (354)


Week 7

            Comparison and Contrast (371-390)

            Chua, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” (410)

            Tannen, “Sex, Lies and Conversation” (436)


Week 8 Essay #4 due

            Classification and Division (435-447)

            William Zinsser, “College Pressures” (450)

            Segal, “The Dog Ate My Disk….(460)


Week 9

            Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue” (466)

            Ericsson, “The Ways We Lie” (474)


Week 10 Essay #5 due

            Definition (489-500)

            Brady, “I Want a Wife” (503)

            Mahtab, “The Untouchable” (496)


Week 11

 Practice WPT in class

            Argumentation (525-550)

            Chavez, “The Case for Birthright Citizenship” (595)

            Will, “An Argument to Be Made about Immigrant Babies and Citizenship” (600)


Week 12

            Daines, “A Tax That Invests in Our Health” (632)

Engber,” Let Them Drink Water” (641)


Week 13: Essay #6 due

            Swift, “A Modest Proposal” (692)


Week 14

            Writing Proficiency Test


Week 15

            WPT Results; portfolio reviews