Stretch Composition Program

Approaches to University Writing — Stretch Composition Program at CSUN


Stretch Model at CSUN

The Approaches to University Writing Stretch Composition Program includes composition courses organized over a two-semester period.

The stretch composition courses are designed to teach students to write effectively in Edited American English; to find facts to develop their ideas; to organize and present material clearly, logically and persuasively; and to read multicultural expository prose critically and accurately. In addition, students will be able to integrate cutting-edge information age technology into their writing.

  • Students do better with their writing coursework and feel better about their learning experience when given more time to write, revise, and discuss writing with a familiar cohort and instructor.
  • Those institutions that have adopted a stretch model demonstrate conclusively a rise in student retention and pass rate.
  • Students from disadvantaged backgrounds who score in the lower level of the English Placement Test are afforded greater access and opportunity to develop college-level writing with support services, such as tutoring and peer mentoring.
  • Students traditionally labeled “remedial” do best with a stretch model.
  • A stretch model recognizes that the work done in “remedial” writing courses is already legitimate university work and should not be seen as “pre-college.”
  • A one-year, two-semester stretch course removes the stigma of “remedial”; any label such as “remedial” or “pre-college” negatively impacts the student’s emotional and intellectual well-being.

Course Objectives

Students will:

  • Demonstrate competence in university writing
  • Demonstrate the ability to use rhetorical strategies that include the appeal to audience, logic, and emotion
  • Understand writing as a recursive process and demonstrate its use through invention, drafting, and revision (creating, shaping, and completing)
  • Demonstrate the ability to use conventions of format, structure, style, and language appropriate to the purpose of a written text
  • Demonstrate the ability to use library and online resources effectively and to document their sources

In addition, Stretch composition courses meet the Student Learning Outcomes of their respective departments and programs.

Participating Departments and Programs:


The Stretch composition program at CSUN is offered by multiple departments and programs specializing in diverse areas of study, including the multicultural perspective of the English department, as well as the exploration of race, class, gender, culture, sexual orientation, and queer identities by Central American Studies, Chicana/o Studies, Africana Studies, Asian American Studies and Queer Studies. The courses are equivalent but different because each addresses specific content that reflects the diversity of the student body at CSUN, and society at large.

The CSUN Stretch Video

Stretch Curriculum Overview (.pdf)

Sample Syllabi