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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alysse Jaclyn Hotz
ENGL 121
Seattle Campus

Composition: Social Issues

Focuses on the study and practice of good writing: topics derived from a variety of personal, academic, and public subjects. Includes a service-learning component allowing students to engage with and write about social issues in applied ways.. Cannot be taken if student has already received a grade of 2.0 or higher in either ENGL 111, ENGL 121, or ENGL 131.

Class description

In this class, we will explore social inequality and the strategies that individuals, communities, and organizations working both within and outside institutional channels have used in order to address various forms of social inequality. Throughout the quarter, we’ll use our own writing and the analysis of others’ writings on social issues to see how composition can be a form of social action. To begin such an inquiry, we’ll look at and interrogate the possibilities and limits of some models for social change in the 20th and 21st centuries, including but not limited to small-scale community organizing, broad based social movements, single-issue social action campaigns, NGOs/nonprofits and the rhetorics for change each espouses.

As we investigate the ways that writing can be used as a catalyst for social change, you will complete a series of assignments that asks you to write about, for, and with the community you are serving. The first part of the quarter will focus on rhetorical awareness and analysis as we explore how various individuals, groups, and organizations have constructed critiques of social and economic inequality and worked from “outside” institutional channels to create social change. The second part of our quarter will focus on research and argument, and you will investigate causes for and solutions to a specific social issue related to your service-learning experience, taking into account both institutional and non-institutional approaches to creating social change. Your coursework will culminate in a multimodal project in which you write with the community to raise awareness about the social issue you have been investigating and call your peers at UW to action to address some aspect of this social issue.

Service Learning Please note that a significant requirement of this course is working with a nonprofit organization. You are expected to fulfill your commitment to them, and failing to do so will negatively affect your grade. Expect this to take between 20 & 40 hours during the quarter, although ultimately you will be accountable to completing your commitment to the organization, not to any exact number of hours. If you are not able or willing to do so, please take a different composition course, or register for 121 another quarter. Service-learning provides students a unique opportunity to connect coursework with life experience through public service. Offered as an integral part of many University of Washington courses, service-learning provides students an opportunity to experience theories traditionally studied within classrooms come to life, through serving with community-based organizations. Choosing to engage in service-learning is a way to demonstrate your commitment to your community and your ability to link your academic studies to practical, real-world experiences. The Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center, located in 171 Mary Gates Hall, facilitates contacts with community-based organizations and will help you to coordinate your service-learning opportunity.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Alysse Jaclyn Hotz
Date: 11/15/2013