I am currently teaching first-year composition courses at Case Western Reserve University in the Seminar Approach to General Education Program (SAGES). SAGES is a unique program that combines general education and writing across the curriculum in a series of seminars that Case students attend. The courses draw on subjects from all corners of the university and promote written and oral communication skills. In the Foundations of College Writing First Seminars that I teach for incoming first-year students, we explore writing as a personal process and as a social project. Foundations of College Writing (Syllabus Fall 2017) provides attention to the personal aspects of writing (processes, habits, skills) as well as to the social aspects (genres, persuasion/argument, conventions). Students learn academic writing conventions, rhetorical techniques, and various processes and methods that they might adopt and employ as they move into other writing situations.
- We explore writing from multiple positions: writer, reader, critic.
- We explore various genres of writing: alphabetic text, visuals, multimedia.
- We work to achieve the course objectives through writing: freewriting, drafting, revising, reflecting, debating, discussing, blogging, emailing.
We read about literacy, discourse, and community and consider how reading and writing affect us and the world around us, particularly in the context of academic and scholarly work that students will be expected to perform at the university.
In the spring, I teach a University Seminar on Contemporary American Rhetoric. CWRU’s University Seminars are writing-intensive, general education courses designed for second semester first-year students and sophomores and they promote further development of communication skills within the context of a particular area of study. In Contemporary American Rhetoric (Syllabus Spring 2018), we return to modern democracy’s ancient roots, using the lens of classical rhetoric to explore contemporary political debate. By learning how rhetorical devices are used, we empower ourselves to analyze policy debates and to make our own contributions. As part of this investigation, we research contemporary public policy and political issues, debate and develop positions, read and evaluate speeches, write about our own positions, participate in public conversations by writing letters to representatives and opinion pieces for newspapers, and prepare an oral presentation. We also complete a research project in which we analyze the different perspectives on an issue of interest, formulate our own positions on an issue, and reflect on our internal processes as we take on a belief and act on it.
I also teach Linguistic Analysis (Syllabus Spring 2018), a three-hundred level English course, that provides foundations in linguistics to a wide variety of students and majors, including Communication Sciences. In this course, we learn introductory analysis of modern English from various theoretical perspectives (e.g., structural, sociolinguistic, psycholinguistic, and cognitive linguistic) using methods of the field in the study of morphology, phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, and dialects, as well as writing systems and the nature and form of grammar. We also have opportunity to explore more deeply areas of linguistics that are of particular interest to our individual endeavors by researching, writing, and presenting our work in panels at the end of the semester.