First Year Composition at the Community College: Empowering the Teacher

deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Betsy Gilliland/ University of Hawaii Manoa
contact email: 

Call for Chapter Proposals

First Year Composition at the Community College: Empowering the Teacher  


Editors: Meryl Siegal, Laney College, & Betsy Gilliland, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa,


Submission Information:

  • Email a 500-750 word abstract by May 31, 2018 to the editors.
  • Include author name(s), contact information including author affiliation, address, email, and telephone number.
  • Notification of acceptance by June 15, 2018.
  • Completed chapters submitted by September 30, 2018.
    • Completed chapters should be no more than 30 pages total.
    • Follow MLA 8th edition style for citations and references.


This call solicits chapters that speak to pedagogy and policy in the teaching and learning of Community College First Year Composition (FYC).  This course serves as the last writing-related course many community college students will take toward their associate’s degree; this same course is often articulated with university and 4-year college FYC classes and increasingly attracts a student body that is multiply diverse – linguistically, racially, ethnically, cognitively, emotionally, and motivationally.

Community colleges in the United States are the first point of entry for many students to access a higher education, a career, and a new start. A recent Department of Education report found that 39% of students attaining a bachelor’s degree had attended a public community college (NSC, 2017). Community colleges in the U.S. also serve as a point of entry for international students desirous of transferring to a four-year college or university. There is wide variability from state to state as to how the 1,047 public community colleges in the U.S. are run, whether courses articulate easily to a four-year degree, and what kinds of classes and programs they offer.

Following closely on the heels of the civil rights movement of the 1950s, for many community colleges in the 1960’s, a focus on access for traditionally disenfranchised Americans has been paramount in community colleges’ mission. Today, community colleges in the United States continue to be a place of transformation. There has been increased attention to community colleges as a way to quickly train young adults to be part of the new economy. This increased attention has also included the community college first year composition course, which has been the subject of teacher meetings, curricular changes, funding changes, challenges, grants, books, and legislation. Howard Tinsberg (2015) noted that the community college FYC course is not only intended to teach students general writing skills, but also to provide writing knowledge transferrable to other courses across the curriculum.

Considering the multiple purposes of college-level transfer FYC courses, students’ various goals in taking the course, and the increasingly diverse student body attending community colleges, we believe that traditional notions of transferability of knowledge need to be reconsidered. What is taught in community college FYC courses, and why? Are students able to write coherently, cohesively, and engagingly once they finish the course? Will they successfully complete job applications and statements of purpose? What actual skills do students learn in these courses? Will students be competitive if a 4-year degree is their ultimate college goal, and will they be reading at a college level?

This call solicits proposals that speak to the above issues from a diverse range of perspectives to create a comprehensive volume to inspire instructors toward edgy innovation and an understanding of the complexity of teaching in today’s community college. The book is intended as background and practical information for pre-service and practicing community college composition instructors. We envision an equal distribution of chapters addressing pedagogy and policy related to what is taught in community college first year composition courses and how students are able to transfer that learning as they progress in their academic and professional careers.


Pedagogy Chapters

Pedagogy chapters should be immediately practical for teachers of community college first-year composition courses. Include a description of the pedagogy, your rationale behind the pedagogy, and examples of successful student writing that has resulted from the particular practice. The following are possible topics:

  • Learning communities (i.e. Umoja, Puente)
  • Curriculum on sustainable communities
  • Writing and cognition
  • Online FYC courses
  • Response to writing
  • Threshold concepts
  • Genre and FYC
  • Multilingual writers, linguistic diversity, translanguaging
  • Accelerated FYC classes, to co-requisite or not co-requisite?
  • Contextualized FYC courses for career technical education
  • Reading in the community college FYC class
  • Technology in the classroom
  • Students with learning disabilities
  • Student poverty and FYC
  • Expectations and issues when community college students transfer
  • Academic (dis)honesty and issues of integrity
  • Metacognition and composition
  • Contemplative methods for composition courses


Policy Chapters

Policy chapters are intended to clarify for community college FYC instructors why curriculum is changing. For policy chapters, describe fully the particular policy, making sure to inform the reader how the influence is experienced within the English composition course. Include a section on how instructors can learn more about the policy or context and how they can influence changes in the policy or context. Possible topics include:

  • Placement policies in community colleges
  • Funding policies in community colleges
  • Grants and scholarship influences in curriculum and student learning
  • Big Data, how it works, how it can help and hinder the curriculum
  • Legislative intrusions into the community college curriculum
  • Changing institutions, changing courses (Pathways)
  • Equity and FYC
  • Changing college policy on when students must take FYC  and effects on student learning and retention
  • How K-12 policy changes affect community college FYC enrollment and curriculum


Please feel free to email the editors with questions.


Works Cited

 The Role of Community Colleges in Post-Secondary Success. Community Colleges Outcomes Report. National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), 2017, Accessed 11 Apr. 2018.

Tinsberg, Howard.  “Reconsidering Transfer Knowledge: Challenges and Opportunities.”  Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 43, No. 1, September 2015, pp. 7-31.