What is the Department of Literacies and Composition All About?


Our Mission Statement

Students assessed by the university as unprepared for general education English courses (ENGL 1010/2020) will require the reading, writing, digital literacy, and information literacy skills necessary to succeed in their general education English courses and other writing/reading intensive courses.

To achieve this goal, the Literacies and Composition Department seeks to help students prepare for college success by building on their existing strengths and skills, acquiring new knowledge and understandings, and working to both discover and explore the critical information and abilities they will need for their unique college trajectory as well as those beneficial to all careers and degrees.

Our Educational Philosophy

The Department of Literacies and Composition understands that all students bring with them rich and diverse histories, knowledge, skills, and literacies that can be applied to the work they will take part in as college students at Utah Valley University. We are committed to providing opportunities for students to recognize their own oral, written, and visual literacies as relevant to the academic setting and helping them to develop these literacies for the work they will do in the academy in the workplace, and in their personal lives.

What does that mean?Outside shot of the entrance to the LA building

Our philosophy breaks down like this:

  • We don't want to overwrite or erase the knowledge, experience, and ways of writing that you already have because your background is important to who you are as a person and student.
  • Instead, we value your history and try to incorporate that history into the work we ask you to do.
  • We want you to discover the skills, knowledge, and abilities you already have and figure out how to use them to be a successful student in our and other classes.
  • We don't just teach or value knowledge and skills that are useful in college classes.
  • Instead, we teach writing and communication as they apply to all areas of life: school, work, and home.
  • Above all else, we are here to help you improve the ways you communicate from wherever they are to wherever you need them to be.


Our Statement on Inclusivity

The Department of Literacies and Composition values, respects and welcomes diversity in all its forms: e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, culture, age, education, religion, philosophy, politics, socio-economic status, sexual orientation and linguistic traditions and capabilities.  We have one of the most diverse student bodies and faculty and staff groups on campus; everyone has a place at our “table.” The overriding mission of the Department of Literacies and Composition is to provide access to higher education and increased life opportunities for all students, regardless of past educational experience, socio-economic status, language, age or other circumstances which may historically have prevented or currently inhibit access.


Because of our commitment to diversity and to the idea that exposure to diversity benefits students, institutions, and communities in essential ways, the faculty member assigned to your Literacies and Composition class may use accented English, may have tattoos or piercings, may have a physical disability, may not belong to the predominant LDS culture, may use language that you’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable with, or may hold worldviews that are different from yours. Or they may be very much like you.  Similarly, you will likely encounter other students in your classes who do not share your same values, experiences, and perspectives.  While the new and unfamiliar may present challenges, we encourage you to think carefully about what you can gain from exposure to and engagement with difference.


Because of our commitment to diversity, students in our classes will be introduced to a wide variety of ideas, arguments, and worldviews.  However, faculty members will always approach these discussions with respect for students, and students in our classes are expected to show respect for the divergent views of other students and teachers. Diversity of thought and expression are privileged in this department, but all teachers and students are expected to engage in discussions of diverse ideas in a professional and civil manner.


Our Courses

Picture of empty UVU classroom

The Department of Literacies and Composition teaches two different courses, ENGH-0890 and ENGH-1000. Which course you start with is determined as part of the Registration Process.

The English 0890 and 1000 series offer students the opportunity to write in multiple contexts for multiple audiences. These are portfolio-based courses, which emphasizes that writing is a process and grades are weighted towards students’ best work. These courses are also recursive, meaning the concepts presented build on and circle back to each other. English 0890 is aimed at broadening students’ understanding of what it means to write in the university. Students write in multiple genres and expand on their understanding of literacy. English 1000 also builds on those concepts, and students expand their understanding of the rhetorical nature of writing, multiple literacies, and writing as an assemblage.

Learn more about our 0890 Course here.

Learn more about our 1000 Course here.