First and Second Year English Program (FSE)

The FSE Program coordinates English 101, English 102, and 200-level English courses. These courses are essential to the mission of the university; the 101-level courses fulfill university’s core goals for written communication, while the 200-level courses also fulfill the goals for critical thinking and introduction to humanities. The administrators of the FSE program provide support to the students enrolled in these courses and to the instructors teaching these courses. They set course goals, create curriculum, supervise policies, and manage professional development for instructors.
Students in classroom seated at desks in pairs reading from books
Teacher receives award, shaking hands with presenter, while other teachers watch at tables in background
Students in classroom seated at desks in pairs reading from books


In general, English 101 and 102 are central to the core curriculum of the University and are designed to help students to build on their core skills of written communication. English 101 and 102 fulfill this learning outcome for the KU Core, which reads as follows:

Upon reaching this goal, students will be able to generate, explore, organize, and convey ideas in writing, using language, presentation skills and other media (for example, digital texts, images, and graphs) to present those ideas clearly, confidently, and in a manner appropriate to specific communication situations.

FSE also staffs and oversees other 200-level writing courses that further develop the reading, writing, and critical language skills from 101 and 102.

Course Goals

For Students

Everyone in the FSE Program and at KU wants you to succeed! That’s why our university offers a wealth of resources to support you through your writing, academic plans and habits, language needs, and mental health.

Find answers to frequently asked questions, as well as a video from one of our Writer's Faire events, below.

Student FAQs

Have other questions about first year English? Email us at

First, you should check the Transferring Credit page to see if the course should automatically transfer as an equivalent KU course. If the course is on the list and should have transferred, you need to contact the Admissions Office at (785) 864-3911 or If the course is not on the list or is on the list as not transferring, and you think the course is the equivalent of a KU course, you should follow the Transfer Credit Review and Appeals Process.

If you have been accepted to the honors program, please contact them for placement information.

English 105

The following scores will qualify you for completion of the first three hours of the written communication outcome. Students who receive these scores can enroll in English 105.

  • ACT English Scores 31-36
  • SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Scores 650 or above
  • AP Literature and Composition or AP Language and Composition Score of 3 or above
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Scores of 5 or above

*Additionally, students with eligible AP or IB scores will earn credit for ENGL 101.

English 102

The following scores will qualify you for completion of the first three hours of the written communication outcome. Students who receive these scores should enroll in ENGL 102. 

  • ACT English Scores 27-30
  • SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Scores 630-649
  • AP Literature and Composition or AP Language and Composition Score of 3 or above
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Scores of 5 or above

*Additionally, students with eligible AP or IB scores will earn credit for ENGL 101.

English 101

The following scores require that completion of the 6-hour written communication learning outcome. Students who have received these scores should enroll in English 101.

  • ACT English Scores 0-26
  • SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Scores 0-629
  • AP Literature and Composition or AP Language and Composition Score of 2 or below
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Scores of 4 or below

If the requirement you want the course to fulfill is a written communication requirement (the equivalent of ENGL 101, 102, or 200-level), you should contact Dr. Lancaster,, the Associate Director of First- and Second-year English. If you want the course to fulfill a humanities requirement or to be the equivalent of a 300-level-or-above English course, you should contact Dr. Mary Klayder,, Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of English.

As a general rule, students perform best in classes they attend regularly. This guideline is especially relevant for the required English courses because of the written work, discussion of various rhetorical principles, and peer review done in class. Students are expected to attend all regularly scheduled meetings of their class, including those directly before and after vacation periods). According to University policy, (University Senate Rules and Regulations) students may be exempt from required class activities at times of mandated religious observances. Students with a verifiable medical crisis (their own or that of a relative or friend) may be excused from being present for scheduled examinations and in-class papers. Students must follow the attendance policy outlined in the instructor’s syllabus.

First, it is extremely important that you discuss this problem with your teacher as soon as possible: either stop by during your teacher's office hours or, if those times are not convenient for you, make an appointment with your teacher to see them at another time. During that meeting, explain your problem or concern to the teacher and ask them for feedback on the situation. Frequently, students and teachers find that they can resolve problems in this way.

If you've already met with your teacher and the two of you have not managed to generate a workable solution to the situation, you may make an appointment with Dr. Lancaster ( the Director of First- and Second-year English or Dr. Reiff, ( the Director or Composition, to further discuss the situation. At that meeting, you will present your understanding of the situation and describe what steps you've taken to resolve it (such as meeting with the teacher). They will talk with you about what next steps might be taken.

Students who feel that a teacher has not assigned a course grade fairly should appeal to Dr. Sonya Lancaster, the Director of First- and Second-year English, who will mediate the case. Dr. Lancaster ( can answer student questions about documentation and the process of the appeal. For a grade appeal to be accepted, the student must make a case that the instructor did not adhere to his or her announced standards, that is, that the student was not treated fairly by the instructor’s standards.

1. No appeals will be considered for single papers or quizzes. ONLY the course grade may be appealed.
2. The student must try to resolve semester grade conflicts with the instructor first.
3. If the student and the teacher cannot resolve the conflict, the student may appeal to the FSE Director with the following materials:

a. all written work for the semester along with the original assignments
b. a statement in writing describing in what way the instructor deviated from announced or published standards.

4. No appeals will be considered without all of the above materials.

When you have compiled your materials, please bring them to the English Department office in 3001G Wescoe. Please address your letter and materials to:
Dr. Sonya Lancaster
Director of First- and Second-year English
Wescoe Hall
1445 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 3001
Lawrence, KS 66045-7590

If a student decides to go forward with the appeal after talking to the Director, the Chair of the English Department will appoint a three-person committee to hear it. If the hearing sustains the instructor's original grade, the student may then appeal to the Judicial Board.

If the Departmental hearing sustains the student's appeal, the three-person committee will review the student's work, consult with the instructor, and assign a course grade. The instructor and the student will be informed of their right to appeal to the Judicial Board.

If the Judicial Board sustains the student's appeal, the three-person committee will, in accordance with University Senate Rules and Regulations, assign the course grade for the student. If the Board sustains the instructor's appeal, the instructor will assign the course grade.

For Instructors

Current Instructors can find more information, policies, and resources in the Manual for Teachers, as well as the shared instructor Blackboard sites.


Graduate Teaching Assistants in English teach twelve credit hours (four sections) per academic year. GTAs usually teach English 101 and 102, first year composition courses. After their first two years of teaching, GTAs may have the opportunity to teach more advanced classes.

During their first year teaching in the Department, all new GTAs are required to attend a pre-semester orientation, to take “English 801: Study and Teaching of Writing” (3 credit hours) in the Fall, and to take “English 802: Practicum in the Teaching of College English” (1 credit hour) in the Spring.

The Department sets the maximum size of classes that new teachers teach their first semester at 20. In their first semester, new teachers will work from a common syllabus and will have the opportunity to discuss writing assignments and best practices in English 801, as well as receiving guidance and feedback from the Teaching Mentor, an experienced teacher in the program. In the English 802 practicum, teachers will work from a common syllabus or have their syllabi approved by the instructor of this course prior to distributing them to students.

Staff Development Sessions

These sessions provide teachers with a forum for discussing assessment and standards with colleagues. These meetings may discuss grading criteria and examine graded papers, or they may focus on issues of assessment and improving course materials to achieve better student learning outcomes. Staff development seminars each year, as well as training in the first year of teaching at KU, help teachers understand the grading expectations in the FSE program.

Professional Development Opportunities

The FSE Program proudly hosts annual Visiting Scholars to deliver workshops and talks as a professional development opportunity for our instructors and the university at large. Some of our recent visiting scholars include:

Anis Bawarshi, University of Washington

  • “Genre, Transfer, and Academic Writing”
  • “In Between Genres: Uptake, Memory, and Rhetorics of Israel-Palestine”

Anne Curzan, University of Michigan

  • “Navigating ‘Error’: Usage Questions in the Writing Classroom”
  • “Going Grammando: A Linguist’s Look at Language Peeves”

Asao Inoue, University of Washington-Tacoma

  • “A Conversation on Race and Writing Assessment”

Andrea Lunsford, Stanford University

  • Author of FSE common textbook, Everyone’s An Author

Beverly Moss, The Ohio State University

  • “Community-Based Research and Black Literate Lives in the Composition Classroom”

In addition to innovative training and development, FSE Graduate Instructors may also take advantage of opportunities like summer teaching positions, FSE projects, and scholarly travel funds.

Summer Teaching Positions

Part-time teachers applying for summer teaching positions will be appointed according to a numerical system based on a ten-point scale based on factors like whether the applicant has previous taught in the summer, if the applicant is a first-year teacher, if the applicant has made reasonable progress towards the degree, and if the applicant has passed comprehensive exams. Most English classes in the summer are taught online. GTAs are usually eligible to teach in the summer once during their degree. A second opportunity sometimes becomes available if a teacher is needed for an advanced class in the GTAs discipline.

FSE Projects

The FSE Projects provide teachers with funding to develop innovative teaching materials relevant to courses taught in the FSE curriculum that will be shared with other teachers in the program. These Projects can help the program stay current with scholarly knowledge about teaching writing, with best practices, and with changing trends and technologies of writing.

Proposals for Projects that would contribute substantially to the FSE program are solicited in the spring from current GTAs and Lecturers and those Projects selected and funded are typically completed during the summer, with the results shared on the FSE Blackboard site and in other relevant forums.

Some recent FSE Project Descriptions (2015-2018):

English 101:
Maria Dones created an English 101 course that explores public rhetoric through a focus on fan culture and fandoms. In keeping with this creative and original focus, Maria designed an engaging sequence of assignments, beginning with an analysis of public genres within fandoms and moving to creating a public genre on an issue related to a fandom, to writing a fanfiction and rhetorical reflection, to concluding with a “radical revision.”

Sarah Spicer created an English 101 course focused on the intersections of rhetoric, identity, and ideology, with assignments that ask students to produce responses across a range of genres and media. Her innovative sequence moves from a student-produced podcast on language and identity, to an analysis of multimodal texts, to writing an op ed, to a unique revision assignment that asks students to reflect on their previous 3 assignments and to present on their evolving writing identities.

Emma Kostopolus designed an original and creative unit for English 101 (unit 3: the multimodal project) that asks students to envision that they are part of a fictional disaster relief organization and to create a multimodal survival guide in the context of a zombie apocalypse. She includes a useful teacher’s guide that describes the scaffolding for the unit, moving from reflection on the rhetorical situation (a simulated zombie apocalypse), to exploring zombie rhetoric in pop culture, to planning the multimodal survival guide in response.

English 102:
Nino Cipri created a unique and engaging Unit for English 102 (Unit 3) that asks students to practice inquiry and research by focusing on speculative discourse and questions about the future. Students are asked to write a synthesis essay based on a “What if” question about the future, and they have the option to write a traditional academic essay or to utilize a creative option for writing a science fiction piece or narrative that integrates multiple perspectives.

English 101 and 102: 
Alisa Russell created a comprehensive and thoughtfully designed 101/102 course sequence, with assignments that range across teaching genres as social action (English 101) followed by asking students to explore the social actions of disciplinary inquiry and research genres (English 102).  In English 101, students move from genre analysis, to genre critique and innovation, to analyzing and producing public genres, to producing a multimodal genre. In English 102, students begin with a comparative analysis of research writing across disciplines/publics, present on research writing within their disciplines, develop a research question and proposal, and then write a research-based text. Included are a wealth of instructor resources for each unit.​

Scholarly Travel Funds

There are three opportunities for graduate students to receive travel funding for conferences or other scholarly work:

Graduate Scholarly Presentation Travel Fund – Office of Graduate Studies

The Graduate Scholarly Presentation Travel Fund is for KU Lawrence or Edwards Campus graduate students presenting their research or the disciplinary equivalent at a meeting of a learned or professional society. Reimbursements of up to $500 are made for domestic or international travel expenses. Find the application and more information

Travel Funds Committee – Department of English

The Travel Funds Committee offers travel funds to support a trip of significant distance to support graduate student research, scholarship, and writing, such as (in order of preference): (1) presenting a scholarly paper or reading from your own creative work at a regional, national, or international conference, (2) conducting research at a library or archive, (3) engaging in a project at a major workshop or institute. The amount of funds varies from year to year. To find information about recent competitions and travel opportunities.

Travel Awards – Students Association of Graduates in English

Each year, SAGE is able to offer limited travel funds to its members to help cover registration and travel to scholarly conferences. The amount of funds varies from year to year Exhaustion of resources and SAGE involvement are the primary criteria. Find the application and more information

The First- and Second-year English program has a lending library of major titles dealing with composition teaching and research. We would like to especially thank alumna Pat McQueeney for donating her collection to these holdings.

You may check out material from the FSE Library for a two-week period; see the FSE Administrative intern for more information.


The FSE Program is pleased to celebrate the exemplary work of our student writers and instructors by showcasing our yearly award winners!

The Department of English recognizes excellence in writing with certificates of achievement and cash rewards to as many as three students each year for papers written in fulfillment of assignments in English 101 and 102, in addition to as many as two students each year for papers written in fulfillment of assignments in English 203, 209-211.

The Department of English also recognizes outstanding instructors who show dedication to their students and innovation in their teaching. Additionally, the English department nominates two outstanding GTAs to the Office of Graduate Studies for University Teaching Awards, and our Department GTAs often win these awards, as well.

For the 2022-2023 Academic Year


English 101

Micki (Michelle) Shrout “Visual (selfie moment!) – Instagram Post: A Social Media Awareness Project,” Instructor: Lydia Noland


English 102

Isabel Loney “The Iconic Soundscape of Ace Attorney,” Instructor: Stephen Johnson

Adam Schnurr “Overpopulation: Not the End-of-the-World Concern We Think It Is,” Instructor: Phil Wedge


English 203

Emilia Gibbs “The False Promise of Professional Sports, Instructor: Phil Wedge

Sophie Sanders “Analyzing The Song of Achilles Through an Affective Lens,” Instructor: Abby Breyer

Office of Graduate Studies Teaching Awards

  • 2022 - Brynn Fitzsimmons (Carlin Award) and Ayah Wakkad (Carlin Award)
  • 2021 - Arnab Chakraborty (GTA Award) and Dana Comi (Carlin Award)
  • 2020 - Silvan Spicer (Chancellor's Award) and Kali Jo Wacker (Carlin Award)
  • 2018 - 2019 Alisa Russell (GTA Award)
  • 2017 - 2018 Rachel L. Brown (Chancellor’s Award)
  • 2016 - 2017 Jonathan Tim Lantz (GTA Award)
  • 2015 - 2016 Martha Baldwin (Carlin) and Rebekah Taussing (Carlin)
  • 2014 - 2015 Matthew Smalley (GTA Award)
  • 2012 - 2013 Amy Ash (Chancellor's Award) and Jana Tigchelaar (Honorable mention)

English Department Teaching Awards


Outstanding Instructor Award

  • Divya Bhalla
  • Jens Evers
  • Sarah Kugler
  • Zachary Smith

Stephen F. Evans Excellence in Course Development Award

  • Cassidy Locke

Outstanding Instructor Award

  • Divya Bhalla
  • Abby Breyer
  • Brynn Fitzsimmons
  • Charlesia McKinney

Stephen F. Evans Excellence in Course Development Award

  • Iain Ellis
  • Sarah Kugler
  • Ayah Wakkad

Outstanding Instructor Award

  • Amy Billings
  • Kristin Emanuel
  • Marcus Hoehne
  • Faith Scheidemantle

Stephen F. Evans Excellence in Course Development Award

  • Susan Duba
  • Emma Kostopolus
  • Faith Scheidemantle

Outstanding Instructor Award

  • Derek Graf
  • Gibette Encarnacion
  • Emma Kostopolus
  • Ayah Wakkad

Stephen F. Evans Excellence in Course Development Award

  • Dana Comi
  • Iain Ellis
  • Kristin Emanuel
  • Kali Jo Wacker

    Outstanding Instructor Award

  • Dana Comi
  • Alisa Russell
  • Mikaela Warner
  • Hannah Warren

Stephen F. Evans Excellence in Course Development Award

  • Leighann Thone
  • Rachel Brown
  • Charlesia McKinney
  • Kali Jo Wolkow
  • Shane Wood
2016 - 2017
  • Martha Baldwin
  • Iain Ellis
  • Garrett Fiddler
  • Jacob Herrmann
2015 - 2016
  • Joshua Canipe
  • Iain Ellis
  • Chelsea Murdock
  • Amanda Sladek
2014 - 2015
  • Iain Ellis
  • Amanda Sladek
2013 - 2014
  • Callista Buchen
  • Jennifer Colatosti
  • Iain Ellis
  • Jana Tigchelaar
2012 - 2013
  • Ann Martinez
  • Colleen Morrissey
  • Jana Tigchelaar

The Department of English recognizes excellence in writing with certificates of achievement and cash awards to as many as three students each year for papers written in fulfillment of assignments in English 101-102, in addition to as many as two students each year for papers written in fulfillment of assignments in English 203, 209-211. The work of student winners is also considered for publication in Composition and Literature (CAL).

Papers may be submitted by students or instructors to any time prior to the deadline. Papers written during the summer will be eligible for consideration the following year. Instructors should consider encouraging students to submit any paper to which they give a full A as well as any other excellent work, but only one paper per student is allowed. Each paper must contain the following information:

  • Student’s name
  • Student’s local address and phone number
  • Student ID number
  • Instructor’s name
  • Course number and line number

Members of the First- and Second-year English Committee will read and rank the papers independently.

These awards are given only once, in the spring semester, so that they can be a part of the Department’s Honors and Awards ceremony. The final deadline for papers will be announced in a memo, but it is usually the second week of April. Submissions will not be returned to authors.