Over the course of my academic career, I’ve taught at a variety of institutions: community colleges, private liberal arts institutions, and public universities with extensive research activity. At these institutions, I’ve taught first-year writing within diverse curricular frameworks: some emphasized rhetoric, some composition, some writing about literature. I’ve also designed my own special-topics course in rhetoric and taught various literature courses. You can find syllabi, assignment sheets, and other pedagogical materials in the subsections below.
My most recent experience teaching first-year writing was at The University of Texas at Austin. UT’s course, RHE 306, takes a rhetorical approach to writing instruction. I’ve linked to my course syllabus below. If you’re interested in more information about the assessment schema I used for both RHE 306 and the RHE 309K course discussed below, check out The Learning Record.
Before coming to UT-Austin, I taught first-year writing courses at four other institutions, including three semesters at Tennessee State University. At the time, TSU offered a two-semester Freshman English sequence. The first of the two courses focused on written composition and included rhetorical elements. My particular iteration of the course asked students to reflect on and articulate their own relationship to education. They began the semester by writing a literacy narrative in which they reflected on their own relationship with language and literacy both inside and outside of educational institutions, and ended the semester by selecting a particular issue related to TSU and writing an argumentative essay responding to that issue. The second course emphasized writing about literature: Students read short stories, poetry, and creative non-fiction, then wrote critical essays about those texts.
My syllabi for both of the sequence’s courses are included below. In both, my course’s specific policies and assignments begin on page 6.
RHE 309K: Rhetoric of Irony
In 2012-13, I designed and taught my own version of RHE 309K, a special-topics course in rhetoric and writing. RHE 309K is targeted at non-majors, many of whom are sophomores and juniors looking to fulfill UT’s Writing Flag requirement. My course was entitled Rhetoric of Irony, and I have included a syllabus for an iteration of the course I taught during a summer session. I’ve also included descriptions of some short writing exercises that I assigned students. I adapted these exercises from the progymnasmata sequence included in Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee’s Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students.
I’ve taught literature courses at both TSU and UT. In addition to TSU’s Freshman English II, I taught World Literature II. At UT, I taught E 314L: Banned Books and Novel Ideas. E 314L serves two purposes: For English majors, it is an introduction to the modes of reading and writing expected of majors (close reading, historical and cultural criticism, etc.). For non-majors, the course fulfills a university-wide Writing Flag requirement. My syllabus for the course is included below.
In addition to the rhetorical tradition and contemporary approaches to writing instruction, I integrate a lot of digital and multimedia components into my pedagogy. Since 2013, I’ve been part of the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory’s pedagogy working group. My contribution to the group’s 2013-14 project was a lesson plan entitled “Podcast/Paper: Having Students Do One Assignment in Multiple Media.” I incorporated this plan into my RHE 309K course; an alternate version of it is available via the Digital Writing & Research Lab’s lesson plan library. I’ve also contributed three other lesson plans to that library; all three are linked to below.
- Revising/Drafting/Editing With Wikis: An online approach to collaborative composing that I used in RHE 306.
- Teaching the Enthymeme with Restaurants: Another lesson plan from my RHE 306 course. This one is designed to get students practice with logos.
- Creating Visual Models of Rhetorical Concepts with Adobe Illustrator: A plan I designed for my RHE 309K course. Inspired by the models of irony offered in Wayne Booth’s A Rhetoric of Irony, it asks students to use illustration software to create their own visual models of rhetorical devices.