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Syllabi

Here are a few syllabi that indicate my range of teaching experience. Currently, I am a co-instructor with Professor Mark Longaker in Teaching First-Year Writing, Theory and Practice, Fall 2010. The syllabus can be downloaded as a PDF (E398t Fall 2010) or entered through the course link here.

I have taught numerous first-year rhetoric and writing courses at the University of Texas. This links to my Summer 2010 course, and this takes you to Spring 2010 (both are similar, but you can see how the summer course was condensed to accommodate a reduced schedule).

Additional syllabi include Intermediate Expository Writing, a course in stylistic development; and a sophomore-level topics course, “The Rhetoric of Courtship” (a PDF is available here: RHE-309K-Summer08).

This syllabus describes a graduate course as I envision teaching it in rhetoric, public sphere studies, and composition.

Assignments

One assignment in my Rhetoric of Courtship course introduced students to rhetorical analysis by asking them to write about personals ads. A more recent assignment for my first-year writing class introduced students to Political Compass, and generated discussion on how personal beliefs contribute to collective ideologies.

The first assignment in my first-year writing course introduces students to basic research skills built around controversial public issues and asks them to develop a summary of key stakeholders. The second assignment asks students to provide a critical analysis of one key participant in a public debate while the third paper invites students to advocate for a position of their choosing within the controversy they pursued all semester.

One assignment I gave first-year students recently was to conduct interviews with local food producers and distributors at grocery stores and farmers markets (the theme of the course was based on Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food). They resisted the assignment at first, but with some practice and encouragement, they all made surprising discoveries. One student, for instance, interviewing an economics professor, was surprised to hear a critical and knowledgeable reaction to the beef industry. This helped reinforce the student’s other research findings and enabled him to write an excellent final paper. Other students also were able to incorporate portions of their interviews into a final advocacy project.

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