Writing Program Home

Many NMT students have questions about the required writing courses at NMT.
Below are answers to some questions that students often have.

Quick-Jump FAQ Menu:

What must my SAT or ACT score be to place into ENGL 112 rather than ENGL 111? What about my AP score?

I took a college writing course at another institution before I came to NMT. Can I get credit for it and thus not have to take ENGL 111 (or ENGL 112 or ENGL 341)?

I am not a Junior or a Senior. May I take ENGL 341, Technical Writing, "early"?

What are the penalties for academic dishonesty/plagiarism at NMT?

I had some citation problems in a paper in a Writing Program course, and my instructor gave me a "failing" grade on the paper. What is the big deal with missing a few citations?

I think I belong in ENGL 112 even though I placed into ENGL 111. May I submit a portfolio of work for consideration by the Writing Program and potentially "portfolio out" of ENGL 111?

If I have a disability or counseling need that affects my work in WP courses, whom should I contact?

Why does attendance factor into my grade in my WP courses?

I am graduate student. May I take ENGL 341, Techncial Writing?

English is not my native language and I feel that I might need some additional language support while I take courses at NMT. Are there resources at NMT for non-native speakers (ESL)?

What grade must I get in my WP classes to proceed to the next class in the WP sequence? What is the rationale for minimum grades?

Can you offer me additional resources on plagiarism and its consequences, at NMT and in the "real world"?

What must my SAT or ACT score be to place into ENGL 112 rather than ENGL 111? What about my AP score?
As the Student Catalog states, If you received a 4 or a 5 on the English/Composition or English/Literature/Composition exams, you will receive credit for ENGL 111 for a total of three credits and proceed directly into ENGL 112. If you received a 4 or a 5 on the English/Composition and English/Literature/Composition exams, you will receive a total of six credits, three for ENGL 111 and three for a literature course. You can proceed directly to ENGL 112. Also according to the catalog, "Students who score 27 or higher on the ACT English test or 610 or higher on the SAT Critical Reading test will have English 111 waived as a requirement. Students who score 19 or lower on the ACT English test or 470 or lower on the SAT Critical Reading test are advised to begin with ENGL 103."

I took a college writing course at another institution before I came to NMT. Can I get credit for it and thus not have to take ENGL 111 (or ENGL 112 or ENGL 341)?
Often, students who took expository writing (ENGL 111) or argumatative writing (ENGL 112), featuring a ten-page scholarly research paper, can receive credit for those courses upon transfer to NMT. These decision are made by the Registrar and/or by the Writing Program Director. The Director often requests that the student provide syllabi from these courses before awarding credit. If the rigor of the courses at the previous instituion does not match NMT's standards, students are required to take these courses at NMT. It is more difficult to receive transfer credit for ENGL 341 because of NMT's unique focus on scholarly writing for non-specialist audiences in the course and the level of the course, since NMT students can only take it as Juniors or Seniors. However, if a student transfering to NMT from a New Mexico state-funded institution took a course at the previous institution that was "articulated" by the State, then such a course will transfer.

I am not a Junior or a Senior. May I take ENGL 341, Technical Writing, "early"?
In short, no. At NMT we require students to be, by total credit hours achieved, Juniors or Seniors because we expect students to be deeply engaged in research in their major field of study by the time they reach ENGL 341. The Final Technical Report in ENGL 341 requires that students write about the project in their field of study on which they are conducting primary research. Then, students in ENGL 341 write about this research for non-specialist audiences and support their claims with scholarly, secondary research.

What are the penalties for academic dishonesty/plagiarism at NMT?
As stated clearly in the Student Catalog, "New Mexico Tech must honor integrity as a fundamental value. Dishonesty, cheating, and plagiarism have no place in a respected institution of higher education. But real integrity goes further than these negatives. Integrity means having the courage to defend the truth, to act fairly and honestly in all our endeavors, and to be responsible citizens of the community" (69). The CLASS Department and the Writing Program take issues of academic dishonesty very seriously. Pages 69-76 of the Student Catalog contain information about plagiarism and its consequences at NMT, but, in short, students who use other people's work as their own (a scholar's, a peer's, an anonymous person on the internet's, etc.) will fail their Writing Program class and will be refered to Academic Affairs for further possible disciplinary action, including suspension or removal from the institution. As the Catalog states, a student cannot "withdraw without prejudice" from a course after a faculty member has identified plagiarism in that student's work. All incidents of academic dishonesty at NMT are recorded in students' files in Academic Affairs. Please refer to the Student Catalog for further information.

I had some citation problems in a paper in a Writing Program course, and my instructor gave me a "failing" grade on the paper. What is the big deal with missing a few citations?
At NMT, as the above item stresses, we take academic honesty very seriously. Once students are armed with the proper-citation information addressed in ENGL 111, students are expected to cite all secondary sources completely and thoroughly (with attributive tage, quotation marks, parenthetical citations, and Works Cited pages). There is no tolerance for "missed citations" at NMT, particularly in courses beyond ENGL 111. Citing sources properly is an issue of respect for intellectual property.

I think I belong in ENGL 112 even though I placed into ENGL 111. May I submit a portfolio of work for consideration by the Writing Program and potentially "portfolio out" of ENGL 111?
We do not accept portfolios from students who desire placement in ENGL 112 or who desire to "portfolio out" of ENGL 111 and ENGL 112. Only an extreme circumstance would alter this departmental policy. If you think your situation is unique enough to warrant an inquiry with the CLASS Department Chairperson, contact the CLASS Department Secretary to make an appointment.

If I have a disability or counseling need that affects my work in WP courses, whom should I contact?
In the CLASS Department and Writing Program, we are able to accommodate students who have documented special learning needs or disabilities. To learn more, please contact Disability Services in the Fidel Center, Room 150.

Why does attendance factor into my grade in my WP courses?
So much of what students learn about writing comes from interaction with other students, with the instructor, and with the materials directly discussed in class. Unlike some other classes where lectures are directly derived from the textbook, WP instructors develop textbook material significantly in the classroom, often having students do interactive work with materials that they have read in prepartion for class. Also, students frequently model essays in class, participate in thesis-invention exercises, and peer-review each other's work. Such activities are regularly incorporated into a student's grade and, thus, a student will miss "points" if he or she is not in class -- in addition to, more significantly, missing material that will fundamentally affect student writing performance.

I am graduate student. May I take ENGL 341, Techncial Writing?
Unfortunately, no. Periodically, the WP offers special graduate-student sections of Technical Writing and these offerings might grow in the coming year(s). As a result receiving highly competitive grants, NMT is working to improve its offerings for graduate students in the areas of presentation-delivery, writing, oral communication, and other areas associated with the particular needs of ESL students. So, in the future, NMT will be better able to serve graduate students, native and non-native speakers of English, who wish to receive further instruction in writing. At present, there are specialized writing courses for students in selected disciplines, courses that are team-taught by WP faculty and faculty from specific science and engineering areas. Ask your department whether such a course will be offered in your program in a coming semester. There is also a dedicated graduate-student-writing tutor in the Writing Center in Fitch Hall.

English is not my native language and I feel that I might need some additional language support while I take courses at NMT. Are there resources at NMT for non-native speakers (ESL)?
As the above item addresses, we are building our ESL-service capacity at NMT and we will be offering courses for non-native speakers of English in the coming semester. WP faculty member Steve Simpson is happy to speak with students who might be interested in such courses.

What grade must I get in my WP classes to proceed to the next class in the WP sequence? What is the rationale for minimum grades?
To progress from ENGL 111 to ENGL 112, and from ENGL 112 to ENGL 341, students much receive a grade of "C" or above. Because "D-level" or "C-minus-level" proficiency will not enable a student to succeed in the next course, as evidence at NMT and elsewhere has proven, we have instituded the C-or-above threshold for these classes (which is a policy that stands are many institutions across the country).

Can you offer me additional resources on plagiarism and its consequences, at NMT and in the "real world"?
News stories abound about faculty-level scholars, political leaders, and researchers who have used someone else's work as their own and have suffered public humiliation, loss of employment, or the revocation of prestigious awards. Students can learn a great deal about plagiarism from the very resource that is often abused by them to commit such acts, knowingly or unknowingly: the internet. By searching the itnernet, you will find NMT's and other institution's policies on plagiarism as well as stories about students who have had their academic careers foreshortened as a result of academic dishonesty. Also, you will learn that different countries have different understandings of what "proper citation" or "intellectual property" are. These certainly are important issues. For your career at NMT, you best resources are the Student Catalog, referenced above, and your WP instructor. Also, the library has resources for avoiding plagiarism, so be sure to check those out.