Teaching Dossier
Teaching Philosophy Statement | Teaching Activity | Recent Courses | Selected Teaching Evaluations
Teaching Philosophy Statement

Over more than a decade teaching college-level classes in rhetoric and composition, I have come to think of teaching as a series of lively, intensive engagements with students in activities of inquiry, conversation, and writing. Within the conceptual and curricular frameworks of a given course, I value the learning that manifests in the orchestration of these three activities, straightforward and commonplace as they are sure to seem.  As students encounter successes and challenges in a course, conversation and writing define their paths of inquiry so that they might be re-traced and understood by others. Inquiry, conversation, and writing are three activities that reliably give shape to my teaching across a range of courses, areas of study, and modes of delivery.

As I think of it, inquiry describes our movements along the multiple, potential pathways laid out in the preliminary stages of a class. An inquisitive stance encourages us to seek insight with a high degree of engagement, pursuing lines of thought and action that combine what we already know with emerging curiosity and wonder.  Rather than setting out with a limited destination in mind, inquiry tends to be open and responsive to contingencies met along the way.  In this sense, inquiry is a productive method (a way of working) guided by processes of finding, conceptualizing, and meaning making, while drawing together a diverse mix of perspectives and materials. As a key consideration in my approach to teaching, inquiry is underscored in the framing of assignments and projects, in learner-centered activities and in various forms of collaboration that position students as participants in the shaping of knowledge.

An example of this can be seen in the series of elements ENGL527: Visual Rhetoric students created and assembled in their course portfolios. The course portfolio collected a series of attempts at doing visual rhetorics--that is, in gererating effects using definition, juxtaposition, contrast, color, spatial arrangement, and typographic exploration. In this context, I was inquiring along with students, genuinely working with them through questions about how to do things with images and words in combination. The portfolio consisted of several smaller pieces, but its accumulation reinforced the ways inquiry into visual rhetorics was sustained throughout the semester. Students created a variety of images and maps, which they produced using applications such as Photoshop, CMap Tools, and other programs.

Conversation is a second locus of activity recurring across my work as a teacher, grounding the courses I teach and the habits of interaction I value. Conversation values the dialogical construction of understanding, insight, and knowledge with students and among them; activities of listening, sharing, and negotiating our emerging understandings are, therefore, foregrounded in the classes I teach.  Furthermore, conversation is a meaningful activity that invests the learning environment with the voices of its participants, thereby opening the course to a more democratic forming of priorities, interests, and shared pursuits.  To extend conversation beyond the classroom, I value conferencing with students, whether in face-to-face sessions, by e-mail, or by instant messaging, and I often reiterate not only the importance of such sessions for learning but also do so in an effort to sustain an open, flexible, and accessible role as the teacher of the class.

Students in a recent section of ENGL121: Composition II: Researching the Public Experience, for instance, frequently shared ideas in small teams as they assembled and revised media-rich timelines designed to complicate commonplaces about hometown publics. Conversation among and across small groups allowed students chances to invent and re-invent their projects. By talking and sharing, they received support and encouragement from me and from their peers. Project-focused conversation proved generative as it opened up their provisional thinking for the project and provided opportunities for comparison, discovery, and reflection. Conversations, both in and out of class, with peers and with me, reinforced the importance of the social, participatory phases of a project's development.

A third essential activity in my teaching is writing.  I am trained as a compositionist, as one who takes seriously the combination of discourses and materials for various purposes, including tacit and focal learning (i.e., noesis), making and creating (i.e., poesis), and the compelling, persuasive, and performative uses of language (i.e., rhetoric).  For all of the courses I teach, writing is intrinsic—a productive, symbolic action that is deeply entangled with learning. Depending on the class, writing projects range from informal, spontaneous responses and explorations, to highly interconnected writing in digital platforms, from lists of questions or annotations of readings to more formal, polished, and sustained pieces of academic research and argumentation.

Inquiry, conversation, and writing might at first seem like simple ideas for characterizing my teaching, but I find that they are profoundly basic—foundational even —to the teaching I do, whether face-to-face, online, or some combination of the two. Furthermore, rather than taking these simple ideas for granted, by keeping them in mind as I develop and teach courses with varied method and content orientations in rhetoric and composition, I find that my work consistently reflects larger values I continue to embrace related to rhetorical education, practical experience with multiple discourses, and lasting habits of mind.

RECENT
Teaching Activity

  • Taught a mix of eight different courses in four years at EMU, including four at the graduate level (2009-present)
  • With Drs. Kate Pantelides and Steve Benninghoff, currently finalizing a proposal for WRTG500: Introduction to Graduate Studies in Written Communication
  • Successfully proposed as a permanent offering ENGL/WRTG540: Visual Rhetoric and Information Design
  • Taught four independent studies concerned with digital humanities, techne and craft, rhetorical genre studies, and digital pedagogy
  • Acting as faculty adviser, sponsored three successful MA in Written Communication projects in 2013
  • Guest in Dr. Sean McCarthy's undergraduate class at James Madison University, Theory and Methods in Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication (via Skype) on October 23, 2012. Focus: recent CCC article and research design
  • Guest in Dr. Jeff Pruchnic's graduate class at Wayne State University, Postpostmodernism (via Skype) on April 1, 2013. Focus: recent CCC article, recent Kairos article, and distant reading methods
  • Sponsored two graduate students for EMU's Winter 2013 Graduate Research Fair and one undergraduate student for EMU's Winter 2013 Undergraduate Symposium
  • Organized a pair of reading group series linked with EMU's Written Communication program
  • Guest in Dr. Laurie Gries's graduate seminar at the University of Florida, Digital Humanities (via Skype) on October 20, 2011. Focus: distant reading methods and in-progress draft of "Views from a Distance: A Nephological Model"
  • Successfully proposed and taught fully online versions of ENGL326: Research Writing and ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology
Recent Courses

WRTG596: Teaching Composition on the College Level (Fall 2014)
WRTG326: Research Writing (Summer 2013)
ENGL516: Computers and Writing: Theory and Practice (Winter 2014)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Winter 2014)
ENGL596: Teaching Composition on the College Level (Fall 2013)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Summer 2013)
ENGL326: Research Writing (Summer 2013)
ENGL527: Visual Rhetoric (Winter 2013)
ENGL505: Rhetoric of Science and Technology (Fall 2012)
ENGL444: Writing for the World Wide Web (Fall 2012)
ENGL121: Comp II: Researching the Public Experience (Fall 2012)
ENGL499: Independent Study: Composition as Craft (Honors Thesis) (Summer 2012)
ENGL516: Computers and Writing: Theory and Practice (Winter 2012)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Winter 2012)
ENGL499: Independent Study: Digital Writing Pedagogy (Honors Thesis) (Winter 2012)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Fall 2011)
ENGL505: Rhetoric of Science and Technology (Fall 2011)
ENGL699: Independent Study: Rhetorical Genre Studies (Fall 2011)
ENGL121: Comp II: Researching the Public Experience (Spring 2011)
ENGL516: Computers and Writing: Theory and Practice (Winter 2011)
ENGL499: Independent Study: Inquiring Into Digital Humanities (Honors thesis) (Winter 2011)
ENGL326: Research Writing (Fall 2010)
ENGL328: Writing Style, and Technology (Fall 2010)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Winter 2010)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Fall 2009)
WRT307: Advanced Writing Studio: Professional Writing (Summer Blended 2009 | Section U550)
WRT 205: Studio 2: Critical Research and Writing (Online | SP09 | Section U800)
WRT 195: Studio 2 for Transfer Students (FA08 | Section M220)
WRT 105: Analysis, Argument and Academic Writing (FA07 | Section U002)
WRT 205: Studio 2: Critical Research and Writing (Online | SP07 | Section 500)
WRT 302: Digital Writing: The Digital and Its Links (FA06 | Section M001)
WRT 307: Advanced Writing Studio: Professional Writing (FA05 | Section M080)
WRT 205: Studio 2: Critical Research (SP05 | Section M320)
WRT 105: Analysis, Argument and Academic Writing (FA04 | Section M001)

WRT 105: Analysis, Argument and Academic Writing (FA04 | Section M021)

Aggregate Evaluations

Teaching Evaluations

WRTG326: Research Writing (Summer I 2014, EMU, 54311)
ENGL516: Computers and Writing: Theory and Practice (Winter 2014, EMU, 26890)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Winter 2014, EMU, 27130) (PDF)
ENGL596: Teaching Composition on the College Level (Fall 2013, EMU, 11102)
ENGL596: Teaching Composition on the College Level (August Workshop, EMU, 11102)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Summer 2013, EMU, 54552) (PDF)
ENGL326: Research Writing (Summer 2013, EMU, 54551) (PDF)
ENGL527: Topics in Professional Communication: Visual Rhetoric (Winter 2013, EMU, 22955)
ENGL121: Comp II: Researching the Public Experience (Fall 2012, EMU, 11107)
ENGL444: Writing for the World Wide Web (Fall 2012, EMU, 16992)
ENGL505: Rhetoric of Science and Technology (Fall 2012, EMU, 15125)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Summer 2012, EMU, 54921) (PDF)
ENGL326: Research Writing (Summer 2012, EMU, 54920) (PDF)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Winter 2012, EMU, 20732)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Winter 2012, EMU, 27638) (PDF)
ENGL516: Computers & Writing: Theory & Practice (Winter 2012, EMU, 24758)
ENGL505: Rhetoric of Science and Technology (Fall 2011, EMU, 16632)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Fall 2011, EMU, 17290)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Fall 2011, EMU, 17294)
ENGL121: Comp II: Researching the Public Experience (Spring 2011, EMU, 31771)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Spring 2011, EMU, 32620) (PDF)
ENGL516: Computers & Writing: Theory & Practice (Winter 2011, EMU, 26557)
ENGL516: Computers & Writing: Theory & Practice (Midterm, Winter, 2011, EMU, 26557) (PDF)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Fall 2010, EMU, 11393)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Fall 2010, EMU, 17873)
ENGL326: Research Writing (Fall 2010, EMU, 11924)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Spring, 2010, EMU, 32565) (PDF)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Winter, 2010, EMU, 20872)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Winter, 2010, EMU, 23592)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Fall 2009, EMU, 15867)
ENGL328: Writing, Style, and Technology (Fall, 2009, EMU, 12009)
WRT105: Analysis, Argument, and Academic Writing (Fall, 2007, Syracuse)
WRT302: Digital Writing: The Digital and Its Links (Fall, 2006, Syracuse)
HU211DL: Introduction to Humanities (Summer, 2006, Park Univ. (PDF)
EN106DL: Writing Purposes and Research (Summer, 2006, Park Univ.) (PDF)
WRT307: Advanced Writing Studio: Professional Writing (Fall, 2005, Syracuse)

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