First-Year Writing Program

The first-year writing program at Western Michigan University consists of two courses that are designed to provide students with important academic writing skills and, more generally, to contribute to student success in and beyond university coursework. These courses are ENGL 1050: Thought and Writing and ENGL 1000: The Writing Process.

Nearly 70% of all Western Michigan University first-year students will enroll in one or both of the first-year writing program's courses. This fall, over 1200 students are enrolled in just under 70 sections of ENGL 1050 and some 200 additional students are enrolled in 12 sections of ENGL 1000. A staff of 60 individuals (faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and instructors) teach these courses.      


The mission of Western Michigan University’s first-year writing program is to:

  • encourage, instruct, assess, and respond to undergraduate students as they develop proficiency in writing;
  • support, credential, and grow a dynamic group of professional educators as they develop, maintain, and apply expertise in writing instruction; and,
  • connect with the university community and beyond on conversations and initiatives involving writing, rhetoric, and literacy practices

Student Placement

The first-year writing program believes that students should have a voice in the decision made to place them in either ENGL 1050: Thought and Writing or ENGL 1000: The Writing Process. Accordingly, the program has adopted a self-direct placement process that lets students determine the most appropriate writing class for them given their personal experiences writing, their standardized test scores, and their conversations with campus academic advising staff.

Learn about Writing Placement


ENGL 1000: The Writing Process

A writing course designed to introduce students to a variety of genres, including narrative, personal, creative, analytic, and argumentative. Focus is on development and improvement in writing process skills that can be applied in all disciplines including grammar and usage, sentence and paragraph development, and organization/focus.

ENGL 1050: Thought and Writing

A writing course in which the students will work closely with the instructor to develop their sense of language as a means of shaping and ordering their experience and ideas, and to develop imagination, thought, organization, and clarity in their written work. By the end of course, all students should be able to proficiently

  • Demonstrate effective and appropriate written communication abilities
  • Demonstrate and apply information literacy
  • Develop creative and critical thinking

Course Materials

Students enrolled in ENGL 1050 "Thought and Writing" must purchase three materials for the course. Two textbooks have been customized especially for students enrolled in English 1050 have been selected for use across all sections of “Thought and Writing” and one subscription to an online writing review platform is also required. These materials and their purchasing options are detailed below.

Readings for Writers: Exploring Yourself, Your Community, and the World. Ed. Flournoy, Atkinson, Atkins, Langan, Sachs, and Perryman-Clark. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017.

Easy Writer for Western Michigan University. Ed. Lunsford. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018.

View Purchasing Options

6-Month Eli Review Subscription

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Student Writer Success Resources

In addition to the first-year writing program's instructional staff, a number of writing-related instructional and support resources are available to promote the success of Western Michigan University student writers.

ENGL 1050-I: Thought and Writing Intensive Sections

English 1050-I sections provide one-on-one instruction to students who desire to learn and be successful but are experiencing addressable academic challenges in their regular first-year-writing classrooms.

Writing Center

The Writing Center helps writers at all levels and of all abilities determine strategies for effective communication and to make academically responsible choices at any stage in the writing process and in any genre of writing. The center's hope is to empower each writer with the skills to better understand his or her own work and to more deeply engage with other writers' works as well.