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Cal State L.A.


English 095 Syllabus

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Prof. Jim Garrett
Office: E & T A608
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00-9:45am, Tuesday 11:45am-1:15pm
Phone: (323) 343-4163
Course web site: 

Catalog Description

Prerequisite: English Placement Test (placement determined by student's score). Instruction in basic writing and reading. Focus on writing processes such as invention, revision, and editing. Use of personal experience and/or observation in writing narrative and expository essays. Graded CR/NC.

Learning Objectives

        Develop the ability to focus an essay upon a single assertion triggered by a writing prompt

        Use effective writing process strategies in invention, drafting, revising, and editing

        Develop critical reading strategies for both narrative and expository prose

        Use both narrative and expository structures to organize essays

        Demonstrate fluency by developing essays with sufficient specific detail

        Revise writing based on criteria articulated in the rubric and feedback from peers and the instructor

        Edit writing to eliminate major errors in English sentence structure, punctuation, and usage


English Department policy states that composition students must attend the first two classes of the quarter to retain their place in the class.  Any student who is absent either the first or second class meeting will be dropped and the space given to another student who is trying to add.

Regular attendance is essential.  Failure to attend class or arriving to class late will seriously damage your chances of passing this course.  The English Department has a firm policy that states that no student may miss more than 20 percent of the class meetings. If you are more than 20 minutes late, consider yourself absent.  If you must miss a class for a valid reason, please call the department number or email me and leave a message that includes how I can reach you so that we can make sure you don't fall behind the rest of the class. 

Required Work

There will be weekly reading and writing assignments in this class.  You will need to plan ahead carefully in order to complete the following tasks on time:

Please note that all assignments (the assigned readings, out-of-class readings and journals, the essays, and the revised essays) are required.  I will not accept a portfolio from anyone who has failed to complete all of the assignments.

Texts, Supplies and Other Helpful Advice

Textbook: The following writing handbook has been ordered for this class and is the only required textbook:

Lunsford, Andrea. The Everyday Writer. Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, Fourth Edition, 2009 (ISBN 978-0312594572)

All additional reading assignments will be supplied by the instructor.

Supplies: You will need some regular, lined notebook (8.5 x 11) paper and some dark-ink pens (blue or black).

Helpful Advice:

Reading Project

Because the acquisition of language skills associated with reading is often an essential part of writing improvement, the Reading Project is an important part of this course.  You will write reading summaries each week on opinion pieces and editorials posted online at the Los Angeles Times Online ( or at the OpinionSource ( web site. Here are the rules for  selecting articles to complete the weekly reading project assignment:

1.      You need to find two articles each week, unless instructed otherwise.

2.      Each article must be taken from one of the two sources listed above.

3.      Each article must have been published during the three weeks prior to the assignment due date.

4.      You can and should read in areas of your own interest.

After you have found articles that meet the above conditions, you should set aside 15-20 minutes after reading each article to summarize what you’ve read and what the reading made you think about. Here's the procedure you should follow:

1.      Write immediately after reading, or as soon as possible after reading.

2.      Do not worry about grammar or correctness.  I'll be looking for content only.

3.      Begin each journal entry by noting the following information:

Article Title, Author, Source (name of magazine or newspaper), and Date

Below this information write your summary and response as follows:

Summary:  In your summary, please tell me about the important points the reading makes as well as how the author establishes these points. Give me enough information so that I know what’s going on, but please don’t simply copy sections out of the article. Your summary should be about one-third of a typed page or about one-half of a handwritten page.

Response:  The response is your opportunity to express what you think about what you’ve read.  Try to connect what you’ve read with your own thoughts and experiences. You can disagree with the author, offer your opinion about what is happening in the reading, or write about what the reading reminds you of in your own life. Your response can be any length, but at a minimum it should be about one-half of a typed page or about one handwritten page.

Weekly reading project assignments are due on each Thursday of the quarter (unless otherwise instructed). See the schedule for details.

Although these reading project assignments will be done outside of class and will not become part of the final portfolio, failure to complete the required number will result in your final portfolio being disqualified.


Attendance: Attendance is mandatory. I will take attendance at the start of every class. If you are not present I will mark you absent. Arriving late will count as half of an absence. You are allowed one absence without penalty. If you miss more than four classes you will be disqualified from taking the final and therefore will fail the class.

Your Portfolio: For this class, ultimately you will be evaluated on the basis of three writing samples—two essays written during the quarter, revised and edited (with rough drafts attached beneath the revision), and your final exam.  Due dates for each revision are noted on the schedule.  (Note: You are responsible for composing essays on all of the assigned topics and completing all assigned work. Failure to complete all assigned work will disqualify your portfolio.)

Grading Policy: Course grades are determined by an evaluation of your portfolio by two current English 095 instructors. The following grades are used:

CR—Credit: You pass the course and are eligible to enroll in English 096
NC—No Credit: You must retake English 095


ADA Accommodations: Reasonable accommodation will be provided to any student who is registered with the Office of Students with Disabilities and requests needed accommodation. 

Cell Phones and Pagers: Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, portable radios, televisions, computers, MP3/CD/Disc/Mini-disc players, and any other electronic communication and/or entertainment devices before coming to class.

Preparing for Class: Please read the assigned texts before class. Often I will offer some guidelines about future reading assignments in class. For example, I might tell you to focus on a particular character or scene for the next class meeting. If you are absent, you are responsible for getting the assignment from a classmate.

Academic Dishonesty/Cheating: Collaborating with others is encouraged when you are planning your papers, reviewing each other’s work, preparing for presentations or for exams. Study or reading groups can be effective ways to study and learn. When you write your papers, however, the text needs to be your own.

You must carefully observe the standard rules for acknowledging the sources of words and ideas. If you make use of a phrase or a quote or if you paraphrase another writer’s words or ideas, you must acknowledge the source of these words or ideas telling us the source of these materials. Use MLA format for citations. If you are unsure whether you need to cite or not, please ask me. (The general rule is if you think you might need to cite, then you probably do.) Failure to cite your sources properly might be construed as plagiarism, which is a violation of the university’s academic honesty policy and grounds for failing the course, disciplinary action, and/or expulsion. If you plagiarize or otherwise misrepresent the source of your work, you will receive a zero on the assignment and be reported to the Student Disciplinary Officer. For definition and policy see statement on Academic Honesty in the current Schedule of Classes or on line at

5151 State University Drive . Los Angeles . CA 90032 . (323) 343-3000
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Last Update: 10/7/2010