Composition Program

As one of the earliest courses of study for most Huskies, UN 1015 Composition bridges students' reading, writing, and critical thinking skills developed prior to entering the University with those necessary for long-term success both in academia and beyond. In UN 1015, students learn to analyze and produce communicative texts for a variety of audiences, contexts, and purposes.

By studying rhetorical strategies, students learn how to recognize and assess both explicit and implicit arguments advanced in everything from political speeches, news segments, and scholarly publications to video games, films, and clothing. While the written word remains the primary mode of communication for most academic work, UN 1015 emphasizes multimodal composing—that is, communicating information and making arguments not just through writing but also through visual, audio, and other modes of communication that are increasingly common in our digital and face-to-face environments.


As they examine the persuasive techniques at work all around them, students learn to employ those strategies in their own projects. In the process, they develop a beginning familiarity with rhetoric, conventions of academic writing, information literacy, collaboration, and research. By learning to recognize and adopt the communicative practices and genre conventions employed by various discourse communities, students leave UN 1015 better prepared to successfully communicate in their classes, at work, and in other areas of their lives.


Holly Hassel

  • Professor of Composition
  • Director, Composition Program
Elizabeth Novotny

Elizabeth Novotny

  • PhD Candidate

Course Objectives 

  • Recognize and use several strategies for producing and interpreting persuasive texts that are appropriate for a particular context, audience, and purpose;
  • Know how to develop an organized text in written, aural, and/or visual modes and demonstrate a basic understanding of the conventions of a genre or discipline;
  • Develop carefully crafted arguments informed by research, critical reasoning, and persuasive techniques.

Core Assignments

While individual sections throughout Michigan Tech’s composition program represent a diverse array of themes and learning styles, all students must complete four common projects, or “Core Assignments.” There is some variation in how each section approaches these projects, but the basic requirements and learning objectives are common to all sections. As such, in addition to various section-specific daily assignments, all students will complete the Rhetorical Analysis, the Research Process Evaluation, the Researched Argument, and the Multimodal Project.

Faculty kneeling down to work with students in a lecture hall in the MonsterComp class.


MonsterComp is an unofficial name for a uniquely designed and facilitated “incarnation” of UN 1015 Composition. In addition to introducing students to college writing in a diverse and highly collaborative environment, MonsterComp serves as an introduction to college teaching for the Humanities Department’s Graduate Teaching Assistants. MonsterComp provides an environment where experienced and novice instructors, together with the Director of Composition, collaboratively deliver course content. In turn, students in MonsterComp have the benefit of interacting with and getting feedback from students and instructors in sections other than their own.

Students in MonsterComp complete the same core assignments as students in other sections of the UN 1015, but the setting and structure of instruction is different.  Early each week, multiple sections of UN 1015 (typically five) meet in a lecture hall to explore concepts in rhetoric, writing, and multimodality. Then, later in the week, each section meets on its own to practice those concepts in a more traditional and intimate setting.

In MonsterComp, both students and teachers have the opportunity to learn from a wide range of writing and teaching styles.

Advanced Composition

In HU 3015 Advanced Composition, students build on their knowledge of writing researched arguments by exploring the process of conducting both primary and secondary research and compiling their findings into written form. Multidisciplinary inquiry-based projects ask students to write for both academic and lay audiences in print and digital forms. Specific research methods, writing technologies, and topics vary by section.

Course Objectives

  • Better understand how writing functions to accomplish work in disciplinary and practical contexts
  • Demonstrate critical and creative thinking by summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing evidence from primary and secondary readings to support your own ideas.
  • Interact respectfully and productively with, and respond to, the ideas of other scholars (both the authors of the texts we will read and your fellow students).