Recently, it has become common to teach academic writing for first-year students in Japanese universities. However, most lectures focus on the method such as how to write an essay which is not sufficient to improve writing ability. Furthermore, the lack of fostering a student’s readiness which becomes the basis for learning academic subjects through the undergraduate education has become an obstacle for students improving their writing ability. Therefore, it is pointed out that effective instruction and assessment to develop student competencies by focusing on perspectives from theory and practice should be considered. The U.S. writing education has been working on similar issues for a long time. This paper attempts to examine the curriculum and practice of teaching academic writing in U.S. higher education. Primarily, first-year writing program at Montclair State University in terms of syllabus, assessment criteria, and interview for instructors is analyzed. This study reveals the following characteristics; additional workshop classes promote interaction among students, peers, and instructors; process writing approach is introduced in the way that students recursively write three drafts and three assessment activities in each unit; assessment criteria includes the dimension of revision for assessing the development of student’s affective disposition.