Publication Date

Fall 2016

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Jane Fife (Director), Dale Rigby, and Christopher Lewis

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This thesis explores the potential for creating a composition syllabus that presents a model of good writing, is an enthusiastic invitation to the discipline, and provides a clear roadmap to success, not only for the course, but also for the students’ college career. This is especially useful for an increasingly diverse student community that arrives to college with a varying knowledge of the academic institution, with its specialized language and systems. The project explores the existing research on syllabus crafting, uses current composition studies and a survey of English 100 students to interrogate the rhetorical situation of the author’s own syllabus, and finally reflects upon a section-bysection revision of that syllabus. With a present and positive voice from the teacher that includes students in the process of their own learning, a dynamic composition syllabus can initiate trusting relationships in the classroom, and support greater success for the students.


Curriculum and Instruction | English Language and Literature | Speech and Rhetorical Studies