*Teaching Portfolio available upon request
FAS 1302: Writing in the Age of Digital Media
ENG 1302: Thinking & Writing
ENG 1304: Thinking, Writing & Research
ENG 2301: British Literature
ENG 3300: Technical Writing
ENG 3318: Professional & Workplace Writing
The purpose of the Freshman Academic Seminar program is to provide first year students with an integrative approach to thinking and writing that focuses on a single topic that students can explore in-depth while developing the necessary reading, writing, and thinking skills that will help them succeed in their college experiences. Specifically, this seminar aims to interrogate the potential of writing as a means for civic and social involvement in the digital age. What does it mean to "love your neighbor" when you live in an interconnected, global community?
This seminar aims to interrogate the potential of writing as a means for community involvement in the digital age. Students will learn how to compose various kinds of expository essays for different audiences, utilizing an array of traditional and digital rhetorical tools. Additionally, students will critically analyze how digital literacy might affect our perceptions of civic involvement and the ways we use “writing” in online and offline environments. Through writing personal digital literacy narratives, analyzing digital activist movements like Change.org and #FemFuture, participating in online microvolunteerism projects, and partnering with an organization in the Waco community, students will leave the course with a greater understanding of what it might mean to be a writer and citizen in the 21st century.
“Training is principally an act of faith. The athlete must believe in its efficacy; he must believe that through training he will become fitter and stronger, that by constant repetition of the same movements he will become more skillful and his muscles more relaxed.”
-Franz Stampfl, On Running
Like strength training workouts that isolate each muscle group in order to achieve maximum results, the essays in this course are exercises designed to train each composite part of argument―responding, explaining, analyzing & evaluating, and problem-solving―so that you will be prepared to handle the academic and professional challenges that will come your way. Some people possess a natural giftedness for writing, but most of us reach our goals through hard work, patience, and determination. This course is based on the premise that all of us can improve our critical thinking and writing skills if we treat the steps of the writing process as our training ground. This might not be a gym and we might not be athletes, but the same rules apply: the harder you work, the more satisfied you will be with the results.
Curiosity drives us—intellectually, socially, spiritually. We were created with a thirst for knowing. We see this most frequently in the perpetual questions posed by little kids. Over time, we lose a little of our wonder; for whatever reason, we start to feel like we have the answers (or, more disturbingly, we get lulled into a sort of trance and forget that we can ask the questions). Education ought to be more than cramming the right details or writing down everything that someone at the front of a classroom says. In the most productive learning environments, we are given space to stretch out a bit. Paradoxically, the more we learn, the more we realize the vastness of what we don’t know. Instead of feeling defeated by this vastness, the great minds of history have charged forward, seeking to, as Einstein once said, “comprehend a little of this mystery each day.”
This is our challenge for this class—to keep asking questions so that we may be able to comprehend a little more of this mystery every day. Our motivations for doing this are as diverse as we are. While continuing to build on the knowledge and skills developed in English 1302, English 1304 focuses on the relationship between critical reading and writing in an academic context and the writing of a series of argumentative essays, including a formal research project.
“To be recognized and found, we must first be lost.”
-James Simpson and Alfred David, on romances
While contemporary notions of “romance” in literature evoke the image of young adult vampire fiction or romance novels in the checkout line at the grocery store, the genre of romance has a rich heritage that taps into some of our deepest longings for order, belonging, and reunion. The earliest romances in English literature established a familiar narrative of chivalry and heroism: the valiant knight faces a series of challenging tasks and emerges victorious. Later works adapt and subvert these expectations in ways that challenge our understanding of issues related to gender, identity, and fiction.
Spanning a range of British literature, this course introduces the essential tools of literary study: paying close attention to the details of the text in order to trace a theme or image, to examine the construction of character, to recognize tone or style, and to understand how all these things contribute to the meaning and experience of a story. Ultimately, though, our main objective will be to grow as critical thinkers and writers by moving beyond these observations into clear arguments so that we can translate our private engagement with a text into something that can be shared: talked about, written about, and in that way, deepened.
English 3300 is an advanced writing course designed to meet the needs of students who are preparing for careers in engineering, scientific, technical, business and writing professions. The course emphasizes rhetorical concepts such as purpose, audience, style, and situation as well as strategies for planning, organizing, designing, and editing technical and professional communication. Specific assignments include professional correspondence, reports, proposals, technical definitions and descriptions, and instructions. As part of the work of this class, students prepare technical documentation on the repair of broken devices for the online community iFixit.com and participate in a community-based writing project for a local nonprofit organization.
English 3318 emphasizes the study and practice of professional writing in workplace contexts. Students will practice managing projects, analyzing client needs, applying principles of visual rhetoric and design, and producing a variety of workplace documents. As part of the work in this class, student teams will partner with the Waco-McLennan County Library to produce professional materials that promote literacy programs for local teens and adults. Students will also create a digital portfolio that includes a resume and other documents that showcase their work as professional writers.