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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Elizabeth C Brown
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

Writing For, About, and With Seattle Communities

Instead of focusing on one particular social issue, this course is designed to examine the way social issues are represented in both academic and nonacademic contexts. Because the theme of representation is applicable to a range of service opportunities, students will be able to choose from a variety of service positions based on their own interests. The common questions the course will grapple with include: How are social issues represented in academia and by community partners? How do different forms of representation affect the various stakeholders invested in these social issues? And, how can writing work toward social change while displaying sensitivity to various stakeholders and generic constraints? The class will grapple with these questions through assignments focused on writing about, for, and with Seattle communities. Students will be asked to research and write for academic audiences about community partners and reflect on their experiences working with them. In addition, they will be asked to write for or with community partners and peers to produce writing that matters outside of an academic environment. One of the major assignments will be a community-based project either (1) designed for community partners to fulfill a writing need identified by supervisors and students or (2) designed to raise awareness of a social issue relevant to community partners.

Student learning goals

The ability to write in various genres for academic, workplace, and broader Seattle audiences.

The ability to incorporate research from different sources, including (but not limited to) the UW library and participant-observer journals.

The ability to make persuasive documents that matter inside and outside the classroom.

The ability to revise in response to feedback from instructor, peers, and, if applicable, community partners.

General method of instruction

Since this course is focused on developing writing skills, class sessions will involve a combination of writing, reflection, group work, discussion, peer review, and occasional mini-lectures.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

As with all 100-level English courses that fulfill the Composition requirement, students will be required to write a series of papers over the course of the quarter. They will then select papers to revise for a final e-portfolio submitted for a final grade.


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 Elizabeth C Brown
Date: 07/06/2010