San José State University
Department of English and Comparative Literature
English 1A, Composition 1 (GE A2), Sections 76 & 82, Fall 2012


Professor Noelle Brada-Williams

Office Location:

FO 110


(408) (924- 4439)


Office Hours:

Tuesday and Thursday 3:00-4:30 PM (plus additional times by appointment)

Class Days/Time/ Location:

Section 76: T & Th 1:30 -2:45 PM, Sweeney Hall 413

Section 82: T & Th 10:30 - 11:45 AM, BBC 120



Passage of EPT/English remediation completed

GE Category:

Written Communication A2


Course Description

English 1A is the first course in SJSU’s two-semester lower-division composition sequence; it provides an introduction to baccalaureate-level composition, with attention to the “personal voice” and personal experience, on the one hand, and the more formal attitudes and demands of writing at the university (expository and argumentative essays), on the other. Students will develop college-level reading abilities, rhetorical sophistication, and writing styles that give form and coherence to complex ideas and feelings.

Prerequisites: Placement by the English Proficiency Test (EPT), or passage of an approved substitute course for the EPT.

Course Goals and Student Learning Objectives

Students shall achieve the ability to write complete essays that demonstrate college-level proficiency in all of the following:


Student Learning Objectives:

SLO 1: Students shall write complete essays that demonstrate the ability to perform effectively the essential steps in the writing process (prewriting, organizing, composing, revising, and editing).

SLO 2: Students shall write complete essays that demonstrate the ability to express (explain, analyze, develop, and criticize) ideas effectively.

SLO 3: Students shall write complete essays that demonstrate the ability to use correct grammar (syntax, mechanics, and citation of sources) at a college level of sophistication.

SLO 4: Students shall write complete essays that demonstrate the ability to write for different audiences.

Online Course Guidelines

You are responsible for reading the 1A course guidelines online at

Student Technology Resources

Computer labs for student use are available in the Academic Success Center located on the 1st floor of Clark Hall and on the 2nd floor of the Student Union. Additional computer labs may be available in your department/college. Computers are also available in the Martin Luther King Library.

A wide variety of audio-visual equipment is available for student checkout from Media Services located in IRC 112. These items include digital and VHS camcorders, VHS and Beta video players, 16 mm, slide, overhead, DVD, CD, and audiotape players, sound systems, wireless microphones, projection screens and monitors.

SJSU Writing Center

The SJSU Writing Center is located in Room 126 in Clark Hall. It is staffed by professional instructors and upper-division or graduate-level writing specialists from each of the seven SJSU colleges. Their writing specialists have met a rigorous GPA requirement, and they are well trained to assist all students at all levels within all disciplines to become better writers. The Writing Center website is located at

Grading Policy

Grading: A-F. This class must be passed with a C or better to move on to CORE GE Area A2 and to satisfy the prerequisite for English 1B. A passing grade in the course signifies that the student is a capable college-level writer and reader of English.

The following statement has been adopted by the Department of English for inclusion in all syllabi:


In English Department Courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of ideas being conveyed. All student writing should be distinguished by correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs.

The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the SJSU Catalog ("The Grading System").  Grades issued must represent a full range of student performance: A = excellent; B = above average; C = average; D = below average; F = failure.


In written assignments for English 1A, this scale is based on the following criteria:

A [90-92=A-, 93-96=A, 97-100=A+] = Excellent: The "A" essay is articulate and well developed with fluid transitions and a clear and persuasive use of examples, evidence, or research materials. An "A" essay contains a fresh insight which teaches the reader something new about the subject matter.

B [80-82=B-, 83-86=B, 87-89=B+] = Above average: The "B" essay demonstrates a good understanding of its subject, a clear and persuasive use of examples or evidence, a certain level of ease of expression, and solid organization.  However, it usually lacks the level of originality and creativity that characterizes the insight found in an "A" essay.

C [70-72=C-, 73-76=C, 77-79=C+]  = Average: The "C" essay makes a good attempt at all the assignment's requirements.  It has a reasonable understanding of its subject matter but its ideas are frequently simplistic or over-generalized.  The writing style is also more bland and repetitive than the style shown by "A" and "B" essays and it often contains flaws in grammar, punctuation, spelling and/or word choice.  It may also use examples or evidence out of context.

D [60-62=D-, 63-66=D, 67-69=D+] = Below average: The "D" essay is poorly organized and generally unclear.  It has inappropriate or inadequate examples, is noticeably superficial or simplistic, and/or contains some serious mechanical and grammatical problems.  A "D" essay may also reveal some misunderstanding of the assignment requirements.

F = Failure: An "F" essay has not addressed the requirements of the assignment and is unacceptable work in terms of both form and content.



Diagnostic in-class essay

1.25 hours (@500 words) [SLO 1,2,3,4]

0% of the final course grade

Assignment One: 500-word “This I believe” (personal voice) essay, a cover letter, and resume

3 components of about 1000 words total [SLO 1,2, with a particular emphasis on 3 & 4]


Paper Two: Argument with support on the purposes and practices of education

4-5 page analysis (1200-1500 words) [SLO 1,2,3,4]


Paper Three: Comparative essay on issues related to economics and social class (must use two sources).

4-5 page analysis (1200-1500 words) [SLO 1,2,3,4]


Paper Four: Analysis/Argumentation on issues of law and government (must use multiple sources).

5-7 pages (1500-2100 words) [SLO 1,2,3,4]


Paper Five, Revision: “A major revision is defined as a significant rethinking or reworking of an assignment rather than correcting small grammatical or structural mistakes.”

Major revision of a previous essay. (@1500 or 5 pages minimum) [Particular emphasis on SLO 1, 2, & 3]


In Class Exam 1

1.25 hours (@500 words) [SLO 1,2,3,4]


In Class Exam 2

1.25 hours (@500 words) [SLO 1,2,3,4]


In Class Exam 3

1.25 hours (@500 words) [SLO 1,2,3,4]


Final Exam (Dec. 8)

1.5 hours [SLO 1,2,3,4]


Class Participation

30 class meetings with in-class activities such as informal writing, presentations, discussions, and reading quizzes [SLO 1,2,3,4]


Informal writing assignments (up to 20) [indicated by IW in the course schedule]

Brief writing tasks assigned as homework.  Expect to bring something written to class almost every day.  These will include a wide range of assignments such as reading notes, outlines, introductory paragraphs, brief proposals, 1-page essays, etc. [SLO 1,2,3,4]




100% Requirement and Late Penalties

Final drafts of formal written assignments 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 must be put on in order to receive a grade. Your course ID for English 1A 1:30, Section 76 is 5383464 and your password is Sweeney413. Your course ID for English 1A 10:30, Section 82 is 5383459 and your password is BBC120. Late penalties will be based on whether or not a paper “hard” copy has been turned in on time in class. If neither the paper nor version is turned in at the beginning of class on the day it is due, 10% of the possible points will be taken off the top of any grade the essay earns. If more than a week has passed after a due date, the paper will not be accepted. The only way to avoid such penalties is to contact the professor in writing before the due date to explain your particular situation and to request a possible extension of one or two days, depending on your situation. The professor will make the final decision on whetehr or not an extension is granted.

Classroom Behavior

You are required to be courteous and professional to both classmates and the professor.  Most people take this as a requirement in their daily lives and this statement shouldnot need to be reiterated here. However, people sometimes forget that the classroom is a professional setting and rules that govern a business meeting apply here.  For example, devices such as cell phones need to be turned off, and coming to class late is unacceptable.  If an emergency arises that requires your absence from class, please contact the professor.  Simply prioritizing your education behind other time commitments does not constitute such an emergency.  Participating in class discussions and listening to and taking notes on class lectures are absolutely necessary for the successful completion of this course. Protocol for written work requires that all quotations must be enclosed in quotation marks or, when more than three lines, put in an indented block. Full citation of the original author and source must also be included.  For all papers, review The Everyday Writer for help with quote integration, formatting, and proper citation.  Also see the University policy on “Academic Integrity” below for help defining and avoiding plagiarism of all kinds.

University Policy on Academic Integrity

Students should know that the University’s Academic Integrity Policy is availabe at Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University and the University’s integrity policy, require you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The website for Student Conduct and Ethical Development is available at

Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams or plagiarism (presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another person’s ideas without giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and sanctions by the University. For this class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise specified. If you would like to include in your assignment any material you have submitted, or plan to submit for another class, please note that SJSU’s Academic Policy F06-1 requires approval of instructors.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about adds/drops, academic renewal, etc. Current policies, including information on add/drops, are avilable at Further information on adding and dropping classes can be found at, Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for adding and dropping classes. Note that September 11 is the last date to drop without a “W.”  The instructor of this course will not automatically drop you if you do not show up. Dropping a course is your responsibility.

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the DRC (Disability Resource Center) to establish a record of their disability.

Library Liaison for English & Comparative Literature:

Contact Toby Matoush via email: or phone: (408) 808-2096 if you have library research questions that have not been answered in class.

Required Textbooks and Materials:

Michael Austin.  Reading the World: Ideas that Matter.  2nd Ed. New York: Norton, 2010 

(ISBN: 978-0-393-93349-9) [RW in syllabus]

Andrea Lundsford. The Everyday Writer. Bedford/St. Martin’s 2009.

(ISBN-10: 0-312-66486)

A paper notebook that you can write in everyday, plus various blue/yellow books for in-class essays and the final.

For class assignments, access The Oxford English Dictionary, the most comprehensive dictionary in English, online via our library with your student ID:

All books can be purchased at Spartan Books and Roberts Bookstore as well as via internet sellers which I recommend accessing through Be sure that anything you buy has these ISBN’s to ensure that you are purchasing the correct text.  You are responsible for regularly checking the email address that is listed with your MySJSU account.  If you change this address, you must contact the instructor immediately with your new address.


Required Online Readings and Resources:

"This I Believe Essays:

Albert Einstein, "An Ideal of Service to Our Fellow Man"

Errol Morris, “There is Such a Thing as Truth”

Elvia Bautista, “Remembering All the Boys”

Anthony Fauci, “A Goal of Service to Humankind”


Purposes and Practices of Education:

At, read California Master Plan for Higher Education - Major Features - 2009 (pdf) and the “Student Fees” section of A Master Plan for Higher Education in California: 1960-1975 (172-175 of the original text, @ 189 of pdf)

Scott Jaschik’s review of “Academically Adrift” at


“My Life in the FSM: Memories of a Freshman,” by Margot Adler in The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960’s, available electronically from our library at

California Voter Information Guide, November 2012 General Election:

Barack Obama delivering his 2008 speech “A More Perfect Union”:

The Oxford English Dictionary, online via our library with your student ID:


Important SJSU dates: Fall 2012

Wednesday     August 22          First Day of Instruction – Classes Begin

Monday          September 3      Labor Day - Campus Closed (L)

Tuesday          September 4      Last Day to Drop Courses Without Permanent Record

Tuesday          September 11    Last Day to Add Courses & Register Late (A)

Wednesday     September 19    Enrollment Census Date (CD)

Monday          November 12    Veteran’s Day Observed - Campus Closed (V)

Wednesday     November 21    Classes that start at 5:00 PM or later will not meet.

Thursday        November 22    Thanksgiving Holiday - Campus Closed (T)

Friday             November 23    Rescheduled Holiday - Campus Closed (RH)

Monday          December 10     Last Day of Instruction - Last Day of Classes

English 1A, Sections 76 & 82, Fall 2012 Course Schedule

This schedule is subject to change with a week’s notice given in class and via the email listed in your MySJSU account.  Expect, for example, readings in The Everyday Writer to be assigned in addition to what is listed below.  Topics for informal writings (IW) due after the 3rd week will be decided on and announced as student needs and skill sets become apparent.



Topics, Readings, Assignments, Deadlines


August 23

Introduction to the course.


August 28

DIAGNOSTIC IN-CLASS ESSAY—bring bluebook (SLO 1,2,3,4).  Read The Everyday Writer chapter 11, “Critical Reading” (105-112) and chapter 64 (552-561).  Draft a resume and cover letter using advice from chapter 64 (informal writing #1).


August 30

Read these 4 essays available online: 

Albert Einstein, “An Ideal of Service to Our Fellow Man”

Errol Morris, “There is Such a Thing as Truth”

Elvia Bautista, “Remembering All the Boys”

Anthony Fauci, “A Goal of Service to Humankind”

Plus The Everyday Writer chapter 12, “Analyzing Arguments” (113-125). Your written notes on the 4 essays are due in class (informal writing #2).


September 4

Drafts of all 3 components of Assignment One are due today.  Read The Everyday Writer chapter 1, “The Top Twenty: A Quick Guide to Troubleshooting Your Writing” (3-11), plus chapter 13 “Constructing Arguments” (126-146).

Peer editing session in class (peer editing impacts your assignment grade).


September 6


3-part Assignment One due:  A 500-word “This I believe” essay, a cover letter, and a resume.  Go to and read California Master Plan for Higher Education - Major Features - 2009 (pdf) and the “Student Fees” section of A Master Plan for Higher Education in California: 1960-1975 (172-175 of the original text, @ 189 of pdf) and Scott Jaschik’s review of “Academically Adrift” at


September 11

Read Hsün Tzu: “Encouraging Learning” (circa 250 BCE), Seneca: “On Liberal and Vocational Studies” (ca. 55 CE) and Al Ghazali: “Manners to Be Observed by Teachers and Students” (1096), pages 8-31in RW. IW #3 due.


September 13

Read Mary Wollstonecraft: “National Education” (1791), Frederick Douglass: “Learning to Read and Write” (1845) and John Henry Newman: “Knowledge Its Own End” (1852), pages 35-61 in RW. IW #4 due.



September 18

In-class exam 1.  Bring a blue book.  Read “My Life in the FSM: Memories of a Freshman,” by Margot Adler in The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960’s available electronically from our library at and Paulo Freire: “The Banking Concept of Education” (1970, revised 1993), pages 62-67 in RW. IW #5 due.


September 20

Read Richard Feynman: “O Americano, Outra Vez” (1985) and Kisautaq Leona Okakok: “Education: A Lifelong Process” (1989), pages 68-82 in RW. IW #6 due.


September 25

Assignment 2 due for Peer editing.   Reading in The Everyday Writer, TBA.


September 27

Final version of essay 2 due. Read Mo Tzu: “Against Music” (circa 425 BCE) and New Testament: Luke, Chapter 16 (circa 90 CE), pages 305-319 in RW.


October 2

Read William Hogarth: Gin Lane (1751) and Thomas Malthus: from Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), pages 320-331 in RW. IW #7 due.


October 4

Read Mohandas K. Gandhi: “Economic and Moral Progress” (1916), Dorothea Lange: “Migrant Mother” (1936), and Octavio Paz: “The Day of the Dead” (1961), pages 332-351 in RW. IW #8 due.


October 9

Read Lucy Lameck: “Africans Are Not Poor” (1965) and Muhammad Yunus: “The Stool Makers of Jobra Village” (1999), pages 352-356 and 369-380 in RW. IW #9 due.


October 11

Read Garrett Hardin: “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor” (1974), pages 357-368 in in RW.  IW #10 due.


October 16

Assignment 3 due for peer editing.  Reading in The Everyday Writer, TBA.


October 18

Final version of essay 3 due. Read The Papyrus of Ani (1240 BCE), Lao Tzu: from the Tao te Ching (400 BCE), and Abu Nasr al-Farabi: “On the Perfect State” (circa 900), pages 151-174 in RW.


October 23

Read Lin Tse-hsü: “A Letter to Queen Victoria” (1839), Leni Riefenstahl: Triumph of the Will (1935), and Martin Luther King Jr.: “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (1963), pages 193-218 in RW.  IW #11 due.


October 25

In-class exam 2. Christine de Pizan: from The Treasure of the City of Ladies (1405), and Niccoló Machiavelli: from The Prince (1513), pages 175-192 in RW. IW #12 due.


October 30

Read about one of the California State Initiatives in the Voter Information Pamphlet and write a summary (IW #13) that you will bring to class and present.(Available online, the specific ballot measure will be assigned to you ahead of time).


November 1

Read Aung San Suu Kyi: “In Quest of Democracy” (1990), Desmond Tutu: “Nuremberg or National Amnesia: A Third Way” (1997), and Barack Obama: “A More Perfect Union” (2008) at pages 219-249 in RW plus watch the last being delivered at    IW #14 due.


November 6

Assignment 4 due for peer editing. Read Aspasia: “Pericles’ Funeral Oration” (circa 387 BCE) and Plato: from Gorgias (380 BCE), pages 467-488 in RW.


November 8

Final version of essay 4 due. Read Aristotle: excerpt from Rhetoric (350 BCE), and Gertrude Buck: “The Present State of Rhetorical Theory” (1900), and Norman Rockwell: Freedom of Speech (1943), pages 489-505 in RW.


November 13

Read Chinua Achebe: “Language and the Destiny of Man” (1972), Ad for Chinese Population Policy (1980), and N. Scott Momaday, “The Power and Beauty of Language” (1987), pages 506-526 in RW. IW #15 due.


November 15

Read Gloria Anzaldua: “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” (1987), and Toni Morrison, “Nobel Lecture” (1993), pages 527-546 in RW.


November 20

Read Sun Tzu: from The Art of War (400-320 BCE), Mo Tzu: “Against Offensive Warfare” (circa 425 BCE), and St. Thomas Aquinas: from Summa Theologica (1265-74), pages 250-264 in RW. IW #16 due.


November 22

Thanksgiving Holiday—no class meeting


November 27

Read Kenzaburo Oe: “The Unsurrendered People” (1965) and Jean Bethke Elshtain: “What Is a Just War?” (2003), pages 288-304 in RW. IW #17 due.


November 29

In-class exam 3.  Bring a bluebook. Reading in The Everyday Writer, TBA. IW #18 due.


December 4

Read Rachel Carson: “The Obligation to Endure” (1962), and David Suzuki: “The Sacred Balance” (1997), pages 419-434 in RW. IW #19 due.


December 6

Assignment 5, revision due. Reading in The Everyday Writer, TBA. IW #20 in class.

1A Final  Exam

December 8th, Saturday,

8:00 AM

Location TBA.  Bring a yellow written communication examination booklet and an assortment of pens.  A paper dictionary is also allowed.