Criteria For Approval Of Alternates To English 214

Reference Number: F79-056
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, December 11, 1979


In its charge to the University Literacy Committee (contained in the Statement on Literacy Policy S77-14, approved by the SFSU Academic Senate on February 15, 1977; modification to Section 1.b. approved on September 27, 1977), the Academic Senate empowered the committee “to develop and recommend criteria for the approval of alternatives to English 214.”

Toward that end, the University Literacy Committee now wishes to delineate the following criteria.

1. Basic Requirements for Offering Alternates to English 214

A. Submission of Proposal

1. Content of proposal

Any department wishing to offer an alternate to English 214 should submit a proposal, on the Standard University New Course Proposal form, to the University Literacy Committee, that body authorized to approve 214 alternates. In addition to supplying information requested on that form, the department should include a complete course outline, detailing course objectives, content, methods, and materials.

2. Submission deadlines

For offering of a course during the following fall semester, departments should submit proposals by November 1; for offering of a course during the following spring semester, proposals should be submitted by April 1.

B. Certification of Instructor

The department should note that it must provide an instructor certified by the University Literacy Committee to teach an approved 214 alternate.

2. Course Proposal Guidelines

A proposal must adhere to the following guidelines in order for the committee to consider it.

A. Course Objectives

As stated in the committee’s Annual Report for 1977-78, itself quoting from the English Composition Committee’s description of English 214,


English 214 and approved 214 alternates are fundamentally writing courses. Subject areas, such as “literature” in English 214 (or “music” in Music 214) serve primarily as a vehicle for thinking and composition skills rather than literature (or music) study per se.

Thus, every proposed 214 alternate should focus primarily upon composition, the design of the course(s) reflecting this emphasis.

B. Course Requirements

In keeping with the specifications set forth in the Annual Report (Section 1.b.), proposed 214 alternates should stipulate (at least) “six out-of-class essays and a total of 5,000 to 6,000 words from each student” - exclusive of in-class writing. At least one of these papers should be “major”, i.e., should contain a minimum of 1,000 words.

C. Grading

1. Students must have taken and passed English 105 or 114 at San Francisco State University, or the equivalents elsewhere, prior to enrolling in a 214 alternate.

2. Consistent with the grading system in other composition courses, 214 alternates will follow the ABC/No Credit/Inc (or Credit/No Credit) grading system.

D. Course Title and Listing

All 214 alternates will be uniformly numbered and titled; e.g., “Music 214, Second Year Written Composition.” All 214 alternates will be uniformly listed in the Class Schedule in two places:

1. under the appropriate departmental heading;

2. with all sections of English 214.

E. Prerequisites

1. Students must have taken and passed English 105 or 114 at San Francisco State University, or the equivalents elsewhere, prior to enrolling in a 214 alternate.

2. Students must have completed at least 24 units prior to enrolling in a 214 alternate, but should have completed no more than 59.

F. Course Enrollment

In conformity with California State University and Colleges system normal enrollment limits for Composition Classes, course enrollment should be limited to 25 students.

3. Instructor Certification Guidelines

A. Preliminary Certification

1. How to qualify for preliminary certification

a. Successful completion of a faculty training seminar offered by an instructor from the English Department who is authorized by the University Literacy Committee, or

b. Successful completion of English 657 (the 657 course instructor should certify in writing to the Literacy Committee the qualifications of the faculty member to teach the course), or

c. Successful passage of a challenge examination to be offered by the English Department and authorized by the University Literacy Committee.

Instructors with preliminary certification may offer only one section of a 214 alternate per semester until final certification is granted by the University Literacy Committee.

B. Final Certification


The English Composition Committee of the English Department will evaluate* the instructor’s implementation of the approved course during the first semester in which that instructor offers the course. Upon the recommendation of the English Department, an instructor may be given final certification to offer a 214 alternate.

If necessary, the Literacy Committee may withhold final certification pending re-evaluation during the second semester. If the instructor does not receive final certification, he/she may not teach a course as a 214 alternate without permission of the University Literacy Committee.


*Current criteria for evaluation will be available from the Department of English.