Department of English

Mission Statement

The First-Year Writing (FYW) Program at Western Michigan University advocates culturally relevant pedagogy: Any writing assigned in the program must demonstrate a critical awareness and connection to the direct lived experiences of our students. More specifically, instructors who teach ENG 1050 are encouraged to meet students where they are by encouraging students to draw from personal experiences and heuristics as inventive spaces for making sense of writing composed, produced, and analyzed within different contexts and writing situations.

The FYW program firmly supports the Mission and Vision of Western Michigan University:


Western Michigan University is a learner-centered, research university, building intellectual inquiry and discovery into undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in a way that fosters knowledge and innovation, and transforms wisdom into action. As a public university, WMU provides leadership in teaching, research, learning, and service, and is committed to enhancing the future of our global citizenry.


Nationally and internationally recognized, the University aspires to distinguish itself as learner centered, discovery driven, and globally engaged.

Learner centered

Western Michigan University is a university where every member of our community is responsive to and responsible for the education of our students. We challenge and engage all members of our community with a university experience that creates skilled, life-long learners.

Discovery driven

Western Michigan University offers experiences that enable discovery, and promote creativity and research. We are committed to pursuing inquiry, disseminating knowledge, and fostering critical thinking that encourages life-long learning. Our scholarship creates new knowledge, forms a basis for innovative solutions, leads to economic development, and makes substantial contributions to society.

Globally engaged

Western Michigan University impacts the globe positively. We are a community of learners committed to human dignity, sustainability, social responsibility, and justice. Our campus embraces a diverse population of students, faculty and staff who develop learners and leaders who are locally oriented and globally competent, culturally aware and ready to contribute to world knowledge and discovery.

To achieve this mission and vision, the FYW Program employs a genre-studies approach. With this approach, students explore, critique, analyze, and produce different genres of writing, in ways that help them understand that different genres of writing transfer to different contexts and situations both inside and outside of the classroom. The process by which students understand genre transfer is a skill that requires life-long development. ENGL 1050, then, provides students with the foundation for understanding this development.

Furthermore, the genre studies approach promotes academic integrity by employing assignments that require students to engage in responsible composing and research practices that support students as they discover the processes by which they investigate inquiry, and its relationship to knowledge dissemination and meaning-making. Students in ENGL 1050 will investigate how inquiry, knowledge dissemination and critical thinking processes change shape and form when analyzing and producing genres across different contexts and rhetorical situations.

Course texts further encourage students to explore the relationships between the genres in which writing is composed, and the ways in which arguments, beliefs, and philosophies are constructed in a society comprised of people from varied cultural and ethnic heritages and backgrounds. Moreover, students are encouraged to examine these arguments, beliefs, and philosophies and how they vary across cultural contexts beyond the United States. With the genre studies approach, students investigate the decisions that various readers and writers from varied cultural, national, and political landscapes make when reading and composing in these genres.

And, finally, the genre studies approach provides students with opportunities to compose texts using different technological platforms in ways that enhance writing processes, analytical skills, and creativity. These enhancements may potentially support students’ life-long learning goals.


Department of English
6th floor Sprau Tower
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5331 USA
(269) 387-2572 | (269) 387-2562 Fax