Department of English

West Chester University

Contact Info
Dr. Jen Bacon
532 Main Hall
West Chester, PA 19383

First Year Writing Program

Writing 200 class

A good university education prepares you to communicate confidently and effectively in all kinds of situations. Practice in written communication helps you to articulate complex ideas; effective writing is a most valuable asset in the job market. University professors require specialized and perfectly-executed written work in order to encourage critical thinking. If you have brothers and sisters who have attended West Chester or other good universities, they will confirm that there is a significant increase in both the expected quality and the quantity of writing when you go from high school to college. It's a bigger leap than many students expect. Therefore, students entering the university are placed in required English Composition courses according to entrance examination scores, so that every student will have appropriate course support in learning to meet the standard of university writing.

ENG020: Basic Writing, provides extra practice in grammatical skills, critical reading, and organized writing; it is the required starting point for students with SAT Writing (a score incorporating the combined essay and multiple-choice subscores) scores below 490. English 020 is considered preparatory for the more demanding writing of general-education requirements, and thus does not carry general-education or graduation credit. Click here for more information on ENG020 Basic Writing. Students with SAT Writing score below 490 may challenge their placement by taking the Basic Writing Placement Challenge Examination

WRT120: Effective Writing I, involves students in academic discourse by focusing on rhetorical strategies; it is the required starting point for students with SAT Writing scores between 490 and 619. Students with an SAT Writing score of 620 or above are exempt from WRT 120. Students in Effective Writing I read and analyze complex university-level essays, and write essays to demonstrate high levels of skill in analysis, synthesis, argument, and evaluation. Advanced Placement test scores of 4 or better in the English Language/Composition exam provide credit for WRT 120.

WRT200-level: Critical Writing Courses (200, 204, 205, 206, 208, & 220) all serve to engage students in more advanced, research-based academic discourse; a WRT200-level course is a required composition course for all students, and it is the starting point for those with SAT Writing scores of 620 or above. Students in the WRT200 courses are introduced to research with an interdisciplinary emphasis, and special attention is paid to learning West Chester University 's library-based and electronic resources.

  • WRT200: Critical Writing and Research: Read about, discuss, and research some of the academic, personal, and social purposes of "research" itself. Design, conduct and write individual and collaborative research projects.
  • WRT204: Critical Writing: Approaches to Popular Culture: Read about, discuss, and research how music, movies and advertising influence our values and attitudes. Write about these and other forms of "pop culture."
  • WRT205: Critical Writing: Investigating Experience: Read about, discuss, and research how people analyze their own and others' past and present experiences. Write about individual experiences and their social components.
  • WRT206: Critical Writing: The Multidisciplinary Imagination: Read about, discuss, and research how people get ideas in various fields of knowledge and professions. Write about theories of creativity and consider how imagination contributes to success in your personal, academic, and professional lives.
  • WRT208: Critical Writing: Entering the Public Sphere: Read about, discuss, and research how publishing happens in newspapers, magazines, web pages and other venues. Write about public issues (such as current political events) and publish your own writing in a class-produced newsletter.
  • WRT 220: Critical Writing: Special Topics: Special theme designed by the instructor-see course catalogue for details each semester.

These English Composition courses specifically prepare you to think and to communicate in the breadth and depth that the West Chester University curriculum requires. Simultaneously, they reflect skills employers demand. They are, then, the keys to your academic success and to a productive, satisfying future.

NOTE: If you took the pre-2005 version of the SAT and have a "Verbal" score rather than a "Writing" score, please contact the Office of Admissions at 610-436-3414 or the Director of the Basic Writing Challenge Exam at 610-436-2268 for placement information.

The Writing Center (Lawrence 214) provides free tutoring and editorial advice to support your work in these classes. Dr. Margaret Ervin is the Director of the Writing Center.

Dr. Hannah Ashley, Director of Composition, can provide answers and support for your questions concerning English Composition.

As Director of Composition for Faculty Development, Dr. Hannah Ashley assists faculty in developing theoretically-sound methods for teaching general education writing courses. In addition, she encourages on-going, university-wide discussions about issues in writing instruction.

Contact information:
Main Hall 543
Office Phone: 610-436-2371