English 101-12: Introduction to College Writing

English 101: Introduction to College Writing

Instructor Name

Instructions for Formal Assignment 4: Proposal Argument


Write a practical proposal that describes a problem with which you are already familiar and then proposes a practical solution to that proposal. Your proposal must be accompanied by a cover letter that includes the name and address of a specific (real) person who has the authority to enact the changes you are proposing. The proposal should be written in a formal business style and must use some form of numerical evidence such as survey results, budgets, or other data. You may wish to change this to allow policy proposals. However, I find practical proposals are usually more interesting to read.


This assignment is designed to

·  Give you practice writing one of the most common genres in professional as well as academic writing: the proposal.

·  Give you experience with multiple forms of research and provide you with practice integrating numerical as well as verbal evidence into your writing.

·  Introduce you to document design principles, such as the use of headings, tables and graphs, and other formatting issues.

·  Continue to improve your ability to respond respectfully to those who disagree with your viewpoint.

Choosing a Topic:

You are free to pick your own topic for this assignment, but you should pick a practical rather than a policy proposal. Many of you might find it useful to think of a proposal related to your life at UofL. Possible proposals include:

·  A proposal to improve safety conditions in a particular building or facility.

·  A proposal to change a rule in an organization (e.g., sorority, team, club) to which you belong.

·  A proposal to change the requirements of your major or the requirements of a specific course.

Other topics might include a proposal to change a particular procedure in your work place or a proposal relevant to your community. Make sure that you select a manageable topic: you should already be familiar with the issue and have some expertise on the topic. A proposal for solving the health care debate, for example, is not a manageable topic.

You may want to consider outlawing any arguments with which the majority of the class agrees (i.e., if everyone in the class agrees that there should be a new parking garage or that the mandatory meal plan should be eliminated then the student can’t make that argument).


Your proposal should

·  Be 4-6 double-spaced pages (at least 1200 words)

·  Include a cover letter addressed to an individual with the authority to enact your proposal.

·  Must include numeric information in the form of surveys or budgets in your proposal.

·  Make use of document design features such as headings and subheadings, bulleted lists, horizontal rules, and pictures.

·  Have a works cited page that lists any texts, interviews, or other materials that you cite in your proposal.


Be sure to include

·  page numbers (in Word, go to the Insert menu and select Page Numbers)

·  a title

·  your name

·  a cover letter address to a specific individual with the authority to enact your proposal

·  a works cited page

Evaluation Criteria:

Your proposal will be evaluated using the following criteria: (modify if needed). You may want to add weights to each of the criteria.

Criteria / Goal
Problem and Background / The proposal makes a strong argument, illustrated with specific examples, that there is a problem worth solving. The proposal is addressed to a specific audience and the introduction includes enough background information for the intended audience to understand the problem without insulting the audience’s knowledge. Where applicable, numerical evidence is provided to persuade the audience of the severity of the problem.
Solution, Costs, Benefits / The paper proposes a clear, practical and sufficiently detailed solution. The paper makes compelling arguments that this solution would actually solve the problem and that this solution is substantially better than other possible solutions others might propose.
The proposal fully considers all of the costs and potential drawbacks to the solution and makes a clear argument that the benefits of the proposal outweigh the costs. Where applicable, numerical information is provided to persuade the audience to adopt the solution.
Organization / Strong topic sentences, clear headings, and other document design features help order the paper. The cover letter provides a succinct overview of the proposal. Each paragraph contains one main idea and the order of the paragraphs is logical.
Completeness & Mechanics / The paper was turned in on time and formatted correctly. It contains no grammatical errors that interfere with the reader's ability to understand the argument. The style is efficient and clear. The essay has a correctly formatted list of works cited.

Due Dates: See the daily schedule (on Blackboard) for all due dates associated with this assignment.