Composition I

“This land is a poem of ochre and burnt sand I could never write / Unless paper were the sacrament of sky, and ink the broken line of/Wild horses staggering the horizon
several miles away. Even then, / Does anything written ever matter to the
earth, wind, and sky?”

-Joy Harjo (“This Land Is a Poem”)

About the Course

Together we will build on your writing skills, knowledge, and practices to better prepare you for college and other kinds of writing. We will primarily use indigenous and
related written, visual, and oral texts (primarily Oceanian) to inspire and
inform our work. To become better/more effective writers, we will identify our
own writing practices; develop other useful pre-writing, writing, and revision
processes; and hone our close reading, rhetorical analysis, and research

In accordance with UHM’s Student Learning Outcomes, at the end of the course, students will be able to:

  1. compose college-level
    writing, including but not limited to, academic discourse, that achieves a
    specific purpose and responds adeptly to an identifiable audience.
  2. provide evidence of
    effective strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proofreading a text
    in order to produce finished prose.
  3. Compose an argument that
    makes use of source material that is relevant and credible and that is
    integrated in accordance with an appropriate style guide. 

Required Texts/Reading



I strongly recommend that you meet these requirements (at a minimum) to maintain a passing grade.

  • Make an appointment to
    meet with me within the first two weeks of class.
  • Participate in class.
    Your participation is important to our learning.
  • We won’t always agree,
    but we can disagree respectfully. I encourage each of you to take
    responsibility for our community of learning, and your role in it, and
    participate accordingly.
  • Attend class on time.
  • Complete all reading, writing, and related assignments for this
  • Turn in all required
    assignments on time, at the start of class. There is a penalty for all late
    work (points will be deducted for each day that it is late). Please talk with
    me right away if you are having trouble beginning or completing an assignment;
    I am here to help you.
  • Inform me ahead of time
    if you are going to miss class by email or a phone call.
  • You are allowed to miss
    only 3 classes before your absences begin to affect your course grade. You are
    responsible for class content that you missed when absent; make an appointment
    with me to discuss this or ask your peers for their notes.
  • Please talk to me (as
    soon as possible) if you have any concerns or questions about the content of
    class, this syllabus, assignments, feedback/grading, etc.
  • Put away all phones for
    the duration of the class.
  • If I make changes to the
    syllabus, I will inform you of this ahead of time via email; please check your
    email and Laulima frequently.

Distribution of Final Grade

  • Participation and attendance (15%)
  • Reading responses (15%)
  • *4 papers/essays varying in length from 2-4 pages (approximately 20 pages of work
    by the end of the semester) (60%)
  • Presentation (10%)

*I will provide you with a grading/assessment grid for each of your papers in class.

Academic Integrity/Honesty

Academic honesty requires that you credit all sources (another person’s words or ideas) in your writing. We will cover how to do this appropriately in the course of this
class. Submitting a paper that you did not write, recycling a paper you wrote
for another course, or using quotations or paraphrasing of another’s work
without citation is plagiarism and will result in an “F” for the paper, and
possibly the course.


If you need reasonable accommodation in my course because of the impact of a disability, please contact KOKUA for support at Queen Liliu‘okalani Student Services Center #103, or at (808) 956.7511. KOKUA provides confidential assistance for students
with disabilities KOKUA. I am available to work with you and KOKUA to support
reasonable accommodations for you in my class; you are welcome to speak with me
privately about your needs.