English Department Syllabus

College English II





The department syllabus is designed to help instructors put together their own syllabi for ENGL 1202 College English II.  It includes specific guidelines for teaching the course, model syllabi, suggested writing assignments, and web sites for supplemental materials.   This syllabus is available on-line (on both the 1202 Website and the Writing Faculty Blackboard Course), so faculty can save it to their computers and use it as a template for creating their own syllabi.   If you are, in fact, reading this syllabus on line, it is also available in hard copy from the Director of First Year Writing, Dr. Nancy Enright.


College English II is the second semester of the freshmen writing requirement.  Four different versions or tracks of the course are offered each semester, each one designed to link literature with readings in other disciplines:



[Instructors will be assigned courses in a specific track based on interest and availability.]


Students will achieve the following in a context that includes readings from many disciplines and that emphasizes skills that are relevant across the curriculum:


The double tasks of introducing three literary genres and guiding the writing of the research paper are the primary concerns of College English II.  The course should provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the short story, poetry, and drama.  Since ENGL 1201 focuses on the essay, College English II will concentrate on other literary forms (although expository prose will probably be the primary form for the interdisciplinary readings).  You may organize the course thematically, chronologically, or by genre.  Literature and The Bedford Handbook both contain instructive material to help guide students toward sound writing and strengthen reading, writing, and research skills.  The Handbook includes sections on writing the research paper.




Di Yanni, Robert.  Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama.  5th ed. New York:

     McGraw-Hill, 2002.

Jacobus, Lee A.  A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers.  6th Edition.  New

     York: Bedford, 2002.


The American Heritage College Dictionary. 3rd. ed. New York: Houghton, 1997.




Readings will be taken from a wide variety of texts, both literary (poetry, drama, and fiction) and non-fiction (essays and expository writing from other disciplines). 





There should be a mix of both formal (marked up and graded) and informal writing assignments:







Each progressive element of the research paper must be taught, from its preliminary stages to the finished product.  These include library skills--searching and researching-- note-taking, outlining, documenting sources, paraphrasing, eliminating plagiarism, drafting, editing, and typing the paper according to the required format.  You should collect each of these steps from students as they do them, and have them resubmit this material with the final paper.  Students are expected to adhere to the MLA format for documentation and presentation of all papers.                                            


Important information about the course—both for instructors and students—is available through the 1202 Website.  Here you will find guidelines about teaching the course, grading criteria, and useful links.  If you are using this syllabus on line, click on this link: http://artsci.shu.edu/english/1202.  Otherwise, type this url into your web browser.  You will find information on the following topics, as well as guidelines for writing assignments and a link to the University Writing Center:


For Faculty:


For Students:



Seton Hall University has made a commitment to mobile computing.  As a result, incoming freshman are equipped with laptop computers and instructors are expected to incorporate elements of information technology (IT) into their courses.  The Blackboard learning suite can be used for peer editing, group projects, discussion boards, journals, and submission of papers.  Faculty will likely also make use of email, on-line databases offered through the library, internet research, power point presentations, and computer editing.  Streaming video and audio are also available through the Teaching Learning Technology Center. 

                                                                                                                                                                            All writing faculty receive an IBM laptop computer as part of the university’s mobile computing initiative.  All 1202 sections have a corresponding section in Blackboard, the course management system used by the university.  Training in Blackboard is offered by the English Department as part of summer orientation in August and by the university in its Computer Training Center.

Faculty should make use of Blackboard for course information (such as posting the syllabus), for class discussions and assignments, for announcements, and for external links to additional course materials.  Encourage your students to check their Blackboard course daily. 

Use of information technology in class requires vigilance.  The instructor must be aware at all times what students are doing.  This means walking around the room, having students close laptops when they are not specifically in use, and giving students a specific assignment and deadline.  Students should not be checking e-mail, using Instant Messenger, or surfing the net while the rest of the class is otherwise engaged.


This year’s general syllabus is on-line and interactive, so you can use it as a template for your own class.  There is an expectation that you will incorporate technology into the course; the ways this can happen are discussed below.

The Writing Faculty Blackboard Community should be used regularly by all writing faculty.   Post your syllabus, assignments, and any other helpful materials (PowerPoint presentations, external links) to share with your colleagues.  In the Discussion Board of this course you will find the appropriate forums to post your materials.  Take a few moments each week to check out the entries of your colleagues.  This course can be but under “Community” in Blackboard (not Courses): http://setonhall.blackboard.com/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_id=_3_1.

Anyone teaching in the Writing Program will be automatically added to the Writing Faculty Blackboard Community.  



The prerequisite for College English II is College English I (some students receive AP credit for 1201 and enroll immediately in 1202).  At the beginning of the semester you will receive a list of those students who have not passed College English I.  If any of these students are registered in your class, send them immediately to the Chairperson, Dr. Mary Balkun, Fahy 362, to drop the course.   


You should administer a diagnostic essay to your students during the first class meeting to determine their writing strengths and weaknesses.  Return the essay with comments (but not a grade) and suggestions for improvement. 



Because students receive tutoring and other outside assistance, it is sometimes difficult to determine exactly what progress they are making.  Each instructor is required to administer an in-class writing assignment at the mid-term in order to get a first-hand sample of students’ writing.  One option is to have a required essay done in class.  Students can come prepared with prewriting and an outline; they can then draft the paper in class.  Once the instructor has read this draft, students should be allowed to revise the essay for a final grade.  Another option is to administer a mid-term exam that includes at least one response in the form of an essay.



Students should be encouraged to use the Writing Center for all phases of the writing process.  College English II students are required to attend the Writing Center at least twice, although individual students may be required to attend more often as needed; they will find the intervention and feedback beneficial.  The Writing Center is staffed with English faculty, peer tutors, and professional adjuncts.  It is located in A&S Hall, second floor.  The Writing Center is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  An On-Line Writing Lab (OWL) is also available for students beyond the first year, or for first-year students with the permission of the instructor.  A link to the OWL can be found on the Engish department’s home page.  For more information, contact the Writing Center Director, Dr. Kelly Shea, at (973) 761-9000, x 7501, or at <sheakell@shu.edu>



All sections of ENGL 1202 will include an advanced library orientation, building on the material the students learned in ENGL 1201.  Schedule library orientation for your class using the database created for this purpose. This orientation will introduce students to a wide range of research resources, print and electronic, and familiarize them with the search and research procedures necessary for college papers.  Your library orientation should be tied to the research paper, and your assignments should be made available to the librarians when scheduling your orientation.   Sample assignments are available.  You must give a copy of your assignment, as well as the date and hour of the session, to the Director of First-Year English, Dr. Nancy Enright.



The Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center provides support for instructors using information technology in their courses.  The English Department’s liaisons are instructional designers David Middleton and Danielle Merliss.  The TLTC offers several grant programs for faculty interested in the innovative use of technology, access to an ITV room, and support for Blackboard. 




Seton Hall is fortunate to sponsor an annual readings series, Poetry-in-the-Round, currently directed by Dr. John Wargacki of the English Department.   In the past, readings have been given by the late James Merrill, Geoffrey Hill, Amy Tan, Joyce Carol Oates, Gwendolyn Brooks, Adrienne Rich, and many others.  These readings allow students the opportunity to see literature in action


Students should be strongly encouraged to attend one of these readings since Poetry-in-the-Round offers cultural experiences that can enhance their studies. Each year’s schedule of poets and authors is posted in the fall.  You will also receive announcements for upcoming events in your mailbox.  Upcoming events are posted at the start of each semester.  Many of the speakers also offer smaller seminars in order to have greater interaction with students; please arrange attendance at these through Dr. Wargacki.





Writing Process Overview:

It is essential to continue to stress the writing process in ENGL 1202 to reinforce students’ proficiency. 


There are useful readings in each of the required texts for ENGL 1202.  The Bedford Handbook

Covers the basics of the process in Part I: “The Writing Process,” including information on prewriting, drafting, audience, topic selection, development, and revision.  Part IX: “Critical Thinking” provides a helpful discussion of writing about texts, including suggestions for how to read secondary sources.  Part X: “Researched Writing” includes an extensive discussion of citation and documentation as well as considering how to conduct research, evaluate sources, and avoid plagiarism.  It also has a specific section on writing about literature.


The course’s primary text, Literature, also includes valuable discussions of writing.  There are sections on “writing about fiction,” “writing about poetry,” and “writing about drama” in each unit.  In addition, the book begins with a chapter on “Reading (and writing about) Liteature” and concludes with a chapter on “Critical Perspectives and Research” which is more extensive than the similar chapter in the handbook.  These are written effectively and are accessible to students; they include many samples and examples for students to follow.


The supplemental reader, World of Ideas, also offers a short introductory section “Evaluating Ideas: an Introduction to Critical Reading” which can help both with reading the literature and essays and secondary material for the research paper.  It has several practical suggestions, although these are not fully explored.  They may be supplemented with the material from the handbook and class discussion.  The final chapter, “Writing About Ideas” An Introduction to Rhetoric” is particularly strong in its discussion of essay development and includes some useful questions and examples.


Supplemental Skills:

Information Literacy: It is essential that students understand that college-level research cannot begin or end with Google.  The library orientation will reinforce students’ work on electronic and print databases, but class time should also be given to evaluating sources, using sources, reading sources, and incorporating research into their writing, as well as avoiding plagiarism.


Notetaking:  Methods of note taking beyond computer “cut and paste” and “Xerox and underline” should be discussed.  While you may no longer want to require note cards (or you may), it is important to stress that students need to engage actively with the texts they read through note taking.  You may want to introduce students to several possible methods of documenting their research, such as note cards, note pages, flagging, or a research journal and allow them to choose between them.  However, some notetaking component must be required.


Documentation and Bibliography: Students must be familiar with and make use of a citation system.  For the purposes of ENGL 1201-1202, students are required to use MLA in-text and Works Cited format.  They should, however, understand that this is one of many available formats, and different disciplines will require different systems.  Therefore, they should be comfortable following guidelines and examples.  They should be familiar with the citation of books, journal articles, chapters in books, and online sources.

In addition, faculty may want to require an annotated bibliography, in which students list their research in the correct format and provide a two- or three-sentence description of the work, its approach, and its potential for use in their research essay. 


Grammar, structure, and mechanics reviews:  Students should be able to write correctly using the conventions of English Literary Standard.  This may require some reviews of grammar, structure, and mechanics.  These can take place in class or can be assigned for homework (the sections in the handbook are useful and do provide exercises); they can simply be a review, or they can be assessed in class with exercises or quizzes.  If individual students have difficulties not shared by the rest of the group, they can be requested to work on these in the Writing Center with a tutor.




As you approach the literature in ENGL 1202 through the lens of your particular focus (Nature, Humanities, Public Life, or the Human Psyche), you may choose to work generically, thematically, or chronologically.  That is, you may divide the literature into genres—poetry, prose, and drama—and focus on each one separately, you may work through the material chronologically and consider various periods/movements, or you may choose to work thematically, addressing elements of your topic through a variety of literary approaches.  For instance, a unit in a “Human Psyche” class on Courtship might read Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress,” Katherine Mansfield’s “Bliss,” and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” and Karen Horney’s “The Distrust between the Sexes” from World of Ideas, while a Nature section might choose instead to consider “Fiction about Nature,” “The Poetry of Nature,” and “Nature and Drama.”  Supplemental readings from World of Ideas should be chosen to work with the particular topic under consideration and should be discussed in concert with the literature.


In designing the reading list, instructors may decide to take a comprehensive approach to the larger topic, examining a variety of issues under the heading of Humanities, Public Life, Nature, or the Human Psyche, or they may focus more particularly on a single, rich topic (such as “Work” in the Public Life sections, or “The Family” in a Human Psyche course).  See the supplemental syllabi for examples.  You should may also consult the director of First-Year writing for suggestions and additional sample syllabi.


However, it is essential that each section cover all three genres in some way in order to provide an introduction to literature and expose students to its range.  While the course may favor one or the other, it should include at least two plays, one classic (written before 1660) and one contemporary.  Short fiction may be supplemented with a short novel, but please remember that students are already paying a great deal for the course books.  While supplemental readings may be posted in Blackboard, try to make as much use as possible of the books required for the course. 


The two major components of the course--the research paper and literature--must be interwoven to form the syllabus. There is additional information about the writing of the research paper in Literature and The Bedford Handbook including some sample critical essays and student examples. 


In addition students must do several short pieces of writing, formal or informal, beyond the research paper that deal directly with the literature and the supplemental readings.




The research paper can be either a traditional literary analysis or a paper that examines the literature or literary issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. 


The advantages of having the class treat the same literary piece are significant: the opportunity to have classroom discussions of the literature, common interests in research, accessible library and source material (many instructors put material on reserve), and teacher expertise.  Many faculty select sustained works in the text such as plays, or several short stories or poems by the same author.  Some also choose to have the students read a novel with a thematic connection to other works covered during the semester. 


The advantages of having students treat individual and varied subjects from any field are equally significant: motivation and interest are high; research may already be started.  For this approach, it would be a good idea to look at the articles on Writing Across the Curriculum in "Professional Resources for Instructors."  


The textbook suggests a third approach to a topic--the thematic.  Although this is valid, it is highly comprehensive. 

Once you have decided upon a method, be sure to adapt your syllabus to that of the department.


The department guidelines for the research paper are flexible, but these are the basic requirements:


The following may not be used as sources: Cliffs Notes, Monarch Notes, Barrons, or the like.  Use of on-line sources should be restricted to full-text databases in most cases.  Evaluating on-line sources should be part of the teaching of the research paper. 




Plagiarism is a serious problem.  It undermines the scholarly enterprise; it can also cause students to fail the assignment and possibly the course.  The English Department has a detailed plagiarism policy.  You must distribute this policy with your syllabus on the first day of class and review it with your students.  (Copies will be available in the department by the first day of classes.)  You should also have a statement about the consequences of plagiarizing on your syllabus.  Research has demonstrated that instructors who address the consequences of plagiarism head-on and discuss the ramifications with their students have fewer incidents overall. 


What appears to be plagiarism is often students’ inability to paraphrase and summarize correctly.  Reviewing these two skills in class can help alleviate the problem.  Having students practice paraphrasing and summarizing before the paper is due will teach them how to use their research validly. 


To help students during the entire research process, collect all preliminary pieces--notecards, outline, bibliography, drafts--in stages, as they are written. Providing feedback at each step will also help students focus their writing, will reveal potential problems at an early stage, and will eliminate the last-minute or eleventh hour crisis. Collecting all the materials again at the end with the final paper will also help prevent plagiarism and give you a sense of the students’ overall work on the research project. 


Plagiarism Resources

The English Department has two resources to help you prevent and deal with plagiarism and cheating.  Turnitin.com is a web-based database which allows you to check a student paper against papers on line and the turnitin.com database of papers.  SecureExam allows you to administer tests on the students’ lap tops in class in a secure environment. 



A final exam is required in College English II.  This may be an in-class exam, a take-home exam, or final piece of writing that students submit.  If you choose one of the latter options, you are still required to be available during the scheduled final exam period to meet with students.  Many instructors have students submit the final piece of work at the exam period.



Be sure to include your policies on grading, attendance, participation, late papers, missed tests/quizzes, and whatever else you think is important for your students to know in your course syllabus in the Course Requirements section of your Blackboard syllabus. You cannot make or change your policies midstream.  Please follow the departmental policies as outlined above.


All teaching assistants and adjuncts must give the Director of Freshman English, Dr. Nancy Enright, a copy of their syllabi and have them approved before the semester begins.  If possible, please submit these via email or post them in the Writing Faculty Blackboard Course.  TAs must submit their Fall syllabi for approval one month prior to the start of the semester, and their Spring syllabi by the end of December.  Adjuncts must submit their fall syllabi for approval at least two weeks before the semester begins.  All other faculty should provide copies of their syllabi to the Director, either in electronic (preferred) or paper copy, during the first week of classes each semester.  Although changes to accommodate individual classes are expected, the University requires that each faculty member distribute a syllabus during the first week of classes.


Note: During the course of the semester, teaching assistants must also provide the Director with a copy of all hand-outs--whether assignments, tests, quizzes, or informational hand-outs--before distributing them to the class. This should be done early enough for the Director to review them for approval or to make suggestions for change.  Your College English II plans must reflect the use of Literature, World of Ideas, and supplemental readings, along with the departmental requirements for the course.  Although it is tempting to let the literature become prominent, please don’t forget that this is a writing course.  Schedule time for the discussion of writing, particularly the components of the research paper. 


In designing your syllabus, be sure to cite specific works, chapters, and writing assignments. If you wish to make a daily syllabus with readings for each date your class meets, be sure to note that the readings are “subject to change,” as you will likely need to adapt your list as the term wears on—whether because you get behind or because the semester is interrupted due to weather or other emergency conditions.  By using units or weeks instead, you can slow down the pace when your students need reinforcement and attention, and speed it up when they master the work easily. 


Your submitted syllabus must include formal and informal writing assignments, a schedeuled library orientation, and a final exam.  Quizzes, tests, in-class writing, and exercises need not be dated, but be sure to indicate that they are a part of the course.  A mid-term exam is optional. 


If you have any questions about your syllabus, please feel free to contact the Director at any time:


Director: Dr. Nancy Enright

Office: Fahy 359    

Ext.: 2545

Email: enrighna@shu.edu


Please contact Dr. Enright if you have any questions, concerns, or problems during the semester.  She is  available to help you with any difficulties you may be having with your teaching or with individual students.