At SUNY Cortland:
Writing Studies II: Hacking the Curriculum (Class Blog) (Syllabi)
Writing Studies II: Writing for Public Benefit (Class Blog) (Syllabi)
At Onondaga Community College:
English 099: Basic Writing
Composition is the first intellectual community students are a part of when they begin their journey through higher education. My teaching philosophy seeks to best enact this community into practice through grounding classrooms in three central disciplinary traditions within composition and rhetoric. First is the student’s right to their own language, with attention being paid to diverse language usage within student writing, speaking and communication in an attempt to develop teaching strategies that explore, embrace and draw attention to linguistic diversity. Secondly, I firmly heed what Douglas Downs and Elizabeth Wardle refer to as Writing About Writing. It is my belief, and this is heavily factored into the classes I teach, that students benefit mightily from reflecting on their own compositions and composition process as they learn and in turn discover the disciplinary knowledge that is writing studies. Lastly, my pedagogical philosophy rests a pillar of its foundation on a vision put forward by Paul Lynch in a recent CCC contribution: that classrooms in our discipline are uniquely suited to and indeed should aspire to lofty yet achievable ideals that segue writing into conversations of ethics, civics, ideology and activism. Cultivating the next generation of democratic actors is a vital vocation for composition to undertake, as enhancing and nurturing strong critical thinking habits and information literacies is of vital importance as our discipline moves even further into the 21st century.
At SUNY Cortland, I teach multiple sections of Writing Studies I and Writing Studies II, my four-year regional university’s iteration of first-year composition. Empowered to design my own curricula and course themes, I’ve taught two variations of WSII subtitled Writing For Public Benefit and Hacking the Curriculum. Each course instructs critical literacy, digital communication and rhetorical skills by asking students to compose analyses, reflections, evaluations, summaries and arguments through writing in a variety of spaces, forums and genres. My classrooms write to our state’s senators to plead for greater attention to issues in higher education, construct social web accounts with activist persuasions (Stand Up!) and write for global benefit in the public humanities project Sparking Change. They work collaboratively through our class blogs, forge disciplinary identities through linguistic reflections, and formulate disciplinary knowledge through “Re-Frame” and Wiki-production assignments that ask them to define the rhetorical choices student writers like themselves make within compositions.
Aside from teaching college composition, I have extensive experience with guiding others through complex instruction. This experience is demonstrated through my time as a substitute public school teacher as well as by the academic conferences I’ve presented at, which include NeMLA, Writing Matters and SUNY Council on Writing. Additionally, I have worked as a Resident Assistant both in my undergraduate career and at a summer program at UMass Amherst in which I worked principally with international students. In each setting, I communicated to diverse audiences and engaged students to critically examine the culture and societies surrounding them. I am passionate about forging communities of valued and empowered citizens, as I’ve worked to do in all of the settings I’ve taught in. My classrooms labor to enact spaces of inclusion, mutual empowerment and shared inquiry.
My prior teaching experiences serve as a segue to that which I hope to implement as part of my future scholarly research. For me, teaching is always a research activity. I am committed to providing a learning experience that is rigorous, open-ended and empowering for students. My goal as a writing instructor is to help students mature into assertive, persuasive rhetorical actors capable of displaying critical thinking and analysis through written composition. It has been my observation that students tend to reward my commitment to their education by committing to it themselves with comparable vigor, energy and enthusiasm.