The primary purpose of first-year writing at the University of Minnesota is to provide incoming students with the fundamental skills and knowledge about writing demanded in university study. Students write in academic genres such as essays, summaries, and research papers and learn the appropriate conventions and styles that make those forms convincing. In a workshop environment, students practice and study writing as a recursive process of critical thinking, analytical reading, and significant research, all leading to graceful written communication. Drawing on students' diverse skills, backgrounds, and experiences, instructors lead students to discern and participate in important public and university-level conversations. First-year writing offers students a foundation for development and refinement of their writing abilities throughout their college career and beyond.