Composition and Rhetoric Graduate Courses

Current Courses – Spring 2019-2020

ENG 615: TESOL Methods, Material, & Assessment
Shleykina | T 4:25-5:45

Provides teachers of adult English as a Second Language with the pedagogical tools needed to be effective instructors. Topics covered include a historical overview of TESOL pedagogy, second language learning strategies, choosing materials and designing courses for all four basic language skills, classroom management, and current research in second language assessment.

ENG 616: TESOL Practicum
Palozzi | TBA

This course will provide students with the opportunity to observe adult TESOL courses, consult with cooperating ESL teachers, and student-teach ESL classes under the guided supervision of their cooperating teachers. This course may be completed at any of Miami University's campuses which offers adult ESL training.

ENG 710: Interdisciplinary topics – Advanced-Level Reading-Writing Engagement: Theories and Methods
Hutton |  T 1:15-4:05

This special topics course investigates varied approaches to, and theories of, advanced-level reading, especially as it is imagined to support and/or reflect a learners’ writing practices. We will overview, and interrogate the ideologies undergirding, some of literary studies’ and writing studies’ most familiar theories of readerly engagement (close, “fit,” critical, “strong,” “deep,” “surface,” rhetorical, etc); we will explore how these modes of engagement have also been theorized to shape our writing—by which research methods, which conceptual frameworks, and, of course, which socio-cultural assumptions. Along the way, we will also conduct some collaborative research of our own, inquiring, through varied means and methods, into the varied reading-writing connections and assumptions we can glean in ourselves and our peers, and as are marked by our varied interests and affiliations.

This course is designed to bring English studies’ many sub-fields into conversation, including literary studies, creative writing, and writing studies. It will be relevant both to your future teaching of advanced-level reading and writing, and to your own deliberative work as a reader-writer and producer of text-based knowledge, whether you consider this work to be literary, creative, scholarly, or to challenge such traditional categories.

ENG 735: Research Methods for Writing Studies
McKee | M 1:15-4:05

In this course, we will examine a variety of methodological and ethical approaches for conducting empirical studies of writing, writers, and writing contexts. We will focus primarily on qualitative, person-based methods, but we will consider the important and productive relationship between qualitative and quantitative studies and the ways in which archival work is person-based research as well. And, of course, all person-based research involves text-based research such as analyzing transcripts of interviews, but also analyzing social media posts, multimodal projects, class writings, etc.

We will read and analyze studies of writers and writing in a variety of contexts, including k-12, post-secondary, civic, community, workplace, and online. We will also have guest researchers visit class (via web video and in-person) to discuss their research. But most importantly, because the best way to learn about research is by doing research, each person in the class will design, develop, conduct, and report on a small person-based research study. Through our research in and for this class, we will have the opportunity to not only build our own knowledge but to also contribute knowledge to the persons and communities with whom we research and to the broader fields in which we participate.

A key goal of this course is to provide the foundations on which you can build going forward in your studies and in your career. To that end, all class projects are designed so that you may tailor them to your interests and goals. If you have any questions about the class, please contact Heidi McKee mckeeha@miamioh.edu.

ENG 760: Rhetorics of Public Spheres
Simmons | R 1:15-4:05

Drawing from interdisciplinary scholarship, we will query notion(s) of public(s), the relationship of private and public spheres, and how counterpublics emerge in response to dominant publics and cultural hegemony. We will examine intersections of democracy, agency, and public rhetoric as well as consider various methodologies for analyzing and critiquing the circulating and networked discourses of the public sphere. Students will gain a broader understanding of how discursive controversies arise when communal ideals and policies are challenged in response to emerging rhetorical situations as well as how citizens in local communities become active participants in the formulation of policies that affect their lives. Ultimately we consider how to enable publics to actively participate in deliberations and the power relations, ethics, politics, economics, and history that influence these deliberations.

Course Goals:
Understand the connections between our responsibilities in the academy and our responsibilities in the public sphere; bring to light spaces where rhetoricians can identify and work to dismantle unequal power relations; create spaces where we can enable just deliberation and enact positive social change in our communities, not just our classrooms; explore how we can grant epistemological status to publics to become active participants in decisions that affect their lives.

Projects for this course include leading class discussion, a circulation project on either tracing an issue across social media or a public syllabus, an annotated bibliography, a research plan, research paper, and research presentation.

Recent Courses

ENG 770: Issues in Professional Writing, Dr. Lockridge

ENG770, Issues in Professional Writing, offers students an overview of the field of professional writing & communication, focusing on the field’s history, scope of research, theoretical orientations, and relationship to professional practice. We will consider professional writing’s disciplinary boundaries, its research questions, its approaches to methods and methodology, and its relationship to the broader field of Rhetoric & Writing. We will also take a close look at the work of professional writing in digital contexts, and we will use that lens to examine histories of technical writing as well as contemporary approaches to content management and user documentation, software studies, web authoring, and User Experience (UX).

Students will contribute to weekly discussions; write regular, substantial responses to weekly writing assignments; and produce a seminar project related to their research interests. Course readings include works by Rude, Selber, Johnson-Eilola, Spinuzzi, Potts, Sullivan, Porter, Simmons, Hart-Davidson, Swarts, and many others.

ENG 760C: Intercultural Rhetorics, Dr. Legg

While the origin stories of Rhetoric and Composition are deeply rooted in the Greco-Roman canon, this focus has left out the diverse, culturally-situated, and rich meaning-making practices of those whose stories have become “othered.” Our work in Intercultural Rhetorics does not wish to discard these roots, but rather to constellate and locate intersections of rhetorics, cultures, and disciplinary histories through a survey of non-Eurocentric historical and contemporary voices. By doing this kind of knowledge-making work, our goal is to continue to re-landscape the dappled discipline of Rhetoric and Composition, as Jacqueline Jones Royster asks us to do, and develop culturally aware practices that situate our disciplinary histories and inform our pedagogies. In this course, we will read about and examine the relationships of rhetoric to race, ethnicity, cultures, gender, class, and so on to understand rhetoric’s connection to these constructions and how they intersect and speak to one another. Ultimately, we will come away with a deeper understanding of what it means to complicate and enrich our disciplinary origin stories, what it means to engage in intercultural rhetorics as a scholarly and pedagogical practice, and what it means to understand rhetorics that speak with all our relations and inform our interdisciplinary, intercultural, and activist work.

ENG 760B: Rhetorics of Public Spheres and Civic Engagement, Dr. Simmons

Drawing from interdisciplinary scholarship, we will query notion(s) of public(s), the relationship of private and public spheres, and how counterpublics emerge in response to dominant publics and cultural hegemony. We will examine the intersection of democracy, agency, and public rhetoric as well as consider various methodologies for analyzing and critiquing the circulating and networked discourses of the public sphere. Students will gain a broader understanding of how discursive controversies arise when communal ideals and policies are challenged in response to emerging rhetorical situations as well as how citizens in local communities become active participants in the formulation of policies that affect their lives. This course introduces theories and strategies of civic engagement, how texts engage and encourage participation in communities, and how texts circulate to shape and influence publics. Ultimately we consider how to engage publics to actively participate in deliberations and the power relations, ethics, politics, economics, and history that influence these deliberations.

English 760: “Rhetorics and Pedagogies of Social Change”, Dr. Palmeri

In this course, we will explore rhetorical scholarship about a diverse range of social movements from the 19th century to the present—with a particular (though not exclusive) emphasis on feminist, LGBTQ, disability, and anti-racist activist movements. Correspondingly, we also will engage with works of composition scholarship that focus on teaching for social change—considering ways that teachers of writing might learn from and contribute to social justice movements. Some key questions we will engage include: What theories and research methods can we use to analyze the evolving rhetorical work of social movements over time in diverse contexts?  How might taking a “social movement” perspective necessitate rethinking common approaches to analyzing and teaching rhetoric? How do particular technologies both constrain and enable possibilities for social change? How might we redesign writing pedagogies in ways that challenge persistent material inequalities and enhance access for all students? Possible authors include Dolmage, Kynard, Rhodes and Alexander, Royster and Kirsch, Shor, Villanueva, and Yergeau (to name just a few). Interested students are encouraged to email the instructor to suggest possible topics and/or readings for us to explore. Writing assignments include regular research journals, reading responses / dialectical notebooks, and multiple drafts of a final research project composed with a particular conference or journal in mind.

English 735: Research Methods for Writing Studies, Dr. McKee

In this course, we will examine a variety of methodological and ethical approaches for conducting empirical studies of writing, writers, and writing contexts. We will focus primarily on qualitative, person-based methods, but we will consider the important and productive relationship between qualitative and quantitative studies and the ways in which archival work is person-based research as well. We will read and analyze studies of writers and writing in a variety of contexts, including k-12, post-secondary, civic, community, workplace, and online. Because the best way to learn about research is by doing research, we will each design, conduct, and report on a small person-based research study that we each develop. Through our research in and for this class, we will have the opportunity to not only build our own knowledge but to also contribute knowledge to the persons and communities with whom we research and to the broader fields of rhetoric and writing studies.

ENG 732: Histories and Theories of Composition, Dr. Palmeri

In this course, we will survey the evolution of composition studies as an academic discipline and a material institution—placing a special emphasis on methods of historical research in the field. Some key questions we will consider include: How can historical research in the field influence contemporary theory and practice? What does it mean to study and teach writing as a complexly situated social, material, cognitive, and aesthetic activity? What kinds of disciplinary maps and grand narratives have composition scholars employed in order to make arguments about the past, present and future of the discipline? What are the strengths and limitations of current ways of categorizing the field? How have diverse composition theorists articulated the principal outcomes and pedagogical methods of composition and writing studies curricula (at all levels)? What are—and what have been—the key areas of consensus and dissensus in the field? How can the study and teaching of composition work to reinforce and/or subvert material hierarchies of race, sexuality, gender, class, and disability? How can we critically synthesize and adapt diverse theoretical perspectives to develop pedagogical and administrative approaches that meet the needs of students and other stakeholders in particular contexts?

English 731: Theory and Practice of Teaching Composition, Dr. Palmeri

English 731 is an intensive three week summer seminar that offers an introduction to both the theory and reflective practice of teaching composition. In this course, you will learn to:

  • Apply and adapt theories of rhetoric and composing process to the teaching of writing.
  • Reflect critically about your own teaching and writing practices.
  • Design and implement inquiry-based, scaffolded writing assignments that enhance student learning.
  • Integrate digital technologies and multimodal composing into writing pedagogy in meaningful ways.
  • Respond to and evaluate student writing in ways that encourage revision and deep learning.
  • Plan and implement interactive course sessions that help students develop transferable writing skills (e.g, invention and research strategies, audience analysis heuristics, reflective habits, critical reading strategies, revision and editing techniques)
  • Adapt instruction to the individualized needs of students.
  • Develop practical skills in classroom management and course organization.
  • Design a course syllabus that achieves the common outcomes of our 111  curriculum (while also contributing actively to our collaborative culture of innovation).

ENG 730A: Writing Program Administration, Dr. Wardle

Many, if not most, faculty members with degrees in Rhetoric and Composition will at some point in their careers direct a writing program of some kind. Writing program administration, or WPA, work affects many people—students and instructors in program courses, as well as students’ subsequent instructors, advisors, and administrators responsible for general education, for example. Therefore some scholars argue that graduate programs in the field should provide graduate students with intellectual and practical preparation for doing WPA work in an informed, responsible way. This course will attempt to give you an overview of the work of WPAs as well as equip you with resources and strategies for approaching that work. Most importantly, this course will help you consider your own core principles for undertaking WPA work, and use those principles to help you consider a few of the many dilemmas that WPAs face.

English 730: English as a Second Language: History, Theory and Practice, Dr. Cimasko

Since its founding as a distinct discipline nearly seventy years ago, English as a Second Language (ESL) has grown in its scope and its scholarly and pedagogical complexity, enriched by its interactions with other disciplines and the shifting circumstances of language learners. ESL has become a significant part of mainstream writing and rhetoric studies with the increased presence of linguistically diverse students in US universities, and with the numbers of second language (L2) users of English worldwide now surpassing native users.In this seminar, we will begin our examination of ESL from a historical perspective, discussing the discipline’s roots in the surge of demand for English in the wake of World War II.  The new field soon realized the need to conceptualize its practices and the processes of language learning, and turned to linguistics and applied linguistics in the scholarship of Whorf, Politzer, and Krashen, among many others. Societal shifts toward greater diversity motivated ESL’s turn to sociolinguistics, cultural theory, and critical approaches most famously reflected in the work of Hymes, Halliday, Pennycook, Kachru, and Kramsch.  Second language writing began its emergence around this time with Zamel’s embrace of process approaches, and from this point, we will turn our focus in the seminar to the various strands of L2 writing scholarship. Silva, Raimes, Spack, and Kroll best represent L2 writing’s foundations, while Leki, Johns, Matsuda, Swales, Belcher, and Kubota represent the rise and expansion of socially-oriented and post-process literature that followed. Throughout our theoretical explorations, pedagogy will continue to play an important role, and we will devote time to the creation and administration of successful ESL programs.Students will write short response papers throughout the semester, along with three major projects: a literature review, a professional manuscript review, and a 20-page research-based proposal.

English 720 A: Issues in Digital Composition: Race, Rhetoric, and Technology, Dr. Dich

Race is a multifaceted concept and reality that can function as a representation or a mediating cultural and political technology. Indeed, Chun and many critical race scholars argue that race is a significant organizing force in our everyday lives. In effect, race is similar to rhetoric and digital technologies in the way they mediate our perceptions of and actions in the world. Conversely, both rhetoric and digital technologies have central roles in developing race and racism in the 21st century. This seminar will explore how race, rhetoric, and technology are interconnected in fundamental ways for writing. Questions we will discuss include the following:

  • What are the connections between race, rhetoric, and technology?
  • How do these “things” change each other as we subject them to different frames of analysis? For example, what is race, through rhetorical considerations? How do new technologies change they ways that rhetoric is employed and identities mediated?
  • What does it mean that race is a technology?
  • How will our insights gained from examining race, rhetoric, and technology help us think about the teaching of writing?

This course will draw on work from a variety of fields such as Communications, Media Studies, Cultural Studies, and artistic/critical productions from popular culture. Students will be encouraged to create intersections between readings and their own scholarly interests.

Intra-disciplinary Seminar in English Studies
ENG 710: Threshold Concepts and Knowledge Transfer Across Disciplines and Contexts, Dr. Wardle

In this seminar, students will be introduced to two complimentary areas of research and theory. Threshold concepts are concepts critical for epistemological participation in a discipline; they are troublesome for learners, and not easily taught or assessed. However, they are essential for learners who wish to be able to "transfer"--or, more accurately--repurpose and build on what they learn, in order to make meaningful contributions within and across disciplinary communities of practice. Graduate students from all areas of English Studies who enroll in this seminar will examine their field's threshold concepts, perhaps engaging in crowd-sourced wiki projects with scholars from across the country, and consider how to design courses and assignments in their disciplines that promote deep learning across time and contexts.

English 710: Literacy Across Communities

Dr. Sara Webb-Sunderhaus | Monday 1:15-4:05 PM

Literacy has, for at least the past 40 years, been one of the leading “buzzwords” in the popular press’s discussions of education.  There has been a good deal of metaphorical hand-wringing over alleged low literacy levels, and articles that ask “why Johnny can’t read” have appeared many times over. These “popular” conceptualizations of literacy typically define literacy as the ability to decode or encode written text—i.e., the ability to read and write.  In these conversations, literacy is an either/or possession:  either one “has it” or one doesn’t. However, the study of literacy reveals it to be a far more complicated and multi-faceted activity. Literacy studies is an interdisciplinary field that draws on education, composition, anthropology, linguistics, and history scholarship, among others, to interrogate how reading and writing are ideological activities reflective of broader societal, cultural, and political contexts. This course will seek to ground students in classic works of the field while also introducing them to today’s literacy scholars, all while focusing on one particularly rich, contested term: community. Some of the texts we will read include Heath’s Ways with Words, Cushman’s The Struggle and the Tools, Pritchard’s Fashioning Lives, Leonard’s Writing on the Move, Brandt’s Literacy in American Lives, and Epps-Robertson’s Resisting Brown, among several others.

English 733: Histories and Theories of Rhetoric

Dr. James Porter | Tuesday 1:15-4:05 PM

In ENG 733, Histories and Theories of Rhetoric, we will examine theories of rhetoric as they have developed and evolved historically, ebbed and waned, mainly, though not exclusively, in Anglo-European/Western history from the sophistic classical era up to the New Rhetoric of the 1950s/1960s (when the modern revival of rhetoric and its emergence in composition instruction begin). The chief goals of the course will be these two: (1) to expand your historical perspective on Anglo-European/Western theories of rhetoric, literacy, and communication, beginning with the conception of rhetoric as an essential practical art whose ultimate aim was the good of the polis; and (2) to enhance your understanding of what it means to do rhetoricas a distinct form of humanistic inquiry. You should emerge from the course with a deeper understanding of what it means to be a rhetoric scholar and teacher and with a deeper respect for the contributions of rhetoric history to our work as scholars and teachers of writing in the 21st-century university. The causa ultima, for all of us, is to reflect on the origins of rhetoric, understand the virtues (and sins) of our ancestors, recover what of value has been lost—and figure out how we can do and teach rhetoric better, more effectively, more justly.