The First Amendment of the Constitution protects freedom of expression, and first-year composition is in part designed to enhance students' competence to exercise that freedom in writing. Part of our mission in first-year composition is to encourage the understanding that writing is not just self-expression, that it is not a value-free skill, but that it is a process central to the discovery of self-identity within the larger body of knowledge, ideas, and values that constitute American and international culture. The best writing recognizes the value of free expression which in our country exists in the first place as a guarantee of diversity. While we must be committed to freedom of speech, the Carnegie report argues that we must also be prepared to denounce "in the strongest terms possible" expression that denies or limits the perspectives and individuality of others. In a more positive light, we can support the values of unity in diversity, the importance of understanding and respecting the broad range of cultural differences that have historically constituted a strength of the American experiment.
A copy of the guidelines for submission can be obtained in the English department office, Reavis Hall, Room 215, or from this Web Site.