My pedagogy endeavors to connect digital composition with the prospect of social change. Throughout my career, I have served as Assistant Director of First-Year Composition at Clemson University, and have taught in a variety of roles:
Clemson University (2018-2022):
ENG 3040: Business Writing
Summer 2020- (Syllabus with Assignment Prompts) (Online)
ENG 3140: Technical Writing
ENG 1030: Composition and Rhetoric
Fall 2020– Syllabus
Spring 2020– (Syllabus)
Fall 2019– (Syllabus)
At SUNY Cortland (2016-2018):
At Onondaga Community College (2016):
English 099: Basic Writing
My Teaching Philosophy:
Building Communities of Active Rhetorical Engagement: A Statement of Teaching Philosophy
First-year composition is oftentimes the first intellectual community a student is immersed in during their college studies. I teach courses beyond first-year composition, of course, but this approach to pedagogy remains formative and foundational regardless of content: effective learning environments, in my practice, strive to foreground the needs of students above all else. With this consideration in mind, my courses tend to avoid monomodal, passive, static, or uninvolved models of learning. Following this, my teaching philosophy can be described as actively foregrounding three primary pedagogical values that influence nearly everything my students and I do in the classroom: (1) strategic and inclusive community building, (2) active engagement and learning, and (3) a deliberate, visible, and sustained valuing of the knowledges and experiences students bring to the classroom each and every day.
First, my pedagogy foregrounds the building, and continual re-building, of communities of practice that strive for openness, appreciation of difference, and expansive but healthy discussion. Communication and open dialogue are important aspects of classrooms foregrounding the affective, valued knowledges contributed by students, as are clearly-defined expectations for students as members contributing to a diverse community of ideas. It is my goal to foster a classroom setting where safe, impactful, and dynamic learning can occur. We accomplish this through scaffolding approaches to individual class sessions: we might spend one session discussing a particular reading, another in an active learning activity, another session combining the two with small group work in pre-assigned “breakout groups,” which are foundational in my pedagogy. Alternatively, many class sessions mix and layer these approaches, striving to mobilize students knowledge, enthusiasm, and interest in a variety of different ways.
Secondly, my pedagogy promotes active learning and engagement with course content in a variety of forms. In a particular rhetoric course, my students might be writing and designing visual advertisements that engage the rhetorical appeals, or working through a citation scavenger hunt, or writing emoji poetry to engage conversations on language, diction, and the power of words. Similarly, students might be collaboratively writing and peer reviewing thesis statements, creating magazine covers to cement understandings of visual rhetoric, or be engaged in visually mapping arguments using Mindmup software. My pedagogy deeply values multimodal composition, as formulated by scholars such as Shipka (2011), Selfe (2007), and Arroyo (2013), working to actively demonstrate commitments to the habits of mind identified in the “Framework For Success in Post-Secondary Writing” jointly endorsed by the NCTE, CWPA, and the NWP. This commitment is demonstrated in action by the multimodal projects my students and I have completed, which include a “Retold Histories of Clemson” documentary filmmaking initiative as well as a “History of Clemson” podcasting project. Similarly, my pedagogy values active engagement with rhetoric, writing, and composition, as demonstrated by initiatives using collaborative writing software such as the network composition platform Yellowdig.
Lastly, I seek always to embody an active commitment to valuing students both as Clemson community members as well as experts in their own histories, experiences, and perspectives, especially along lines of race, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. My pedagogy endeavors to extend classroom commitments toward appreciations of experiential, vernacular, and emotional knowledges, which Cheryl Glenn (2018) contends are essential to helping foster environments capable of empowering the agencies of students in rhetorical learning environments (145). Infused into all aspects of my courses, this commitment manifests in course content, such as a commitment to appreciating diverse spectrums of linguistic practices in the composition space (Young 2010), as well as in course practice and activities, which foreground classroom issues of accessability and inclusion (Dolmage 2017). Ultimately, I strive to value the needs, principles, and aspirations of students above all else.
In summary, I am committed to providing a learning experience that is rigorous, open-ended, and empowering for students. Above all, I treat my students and their backgrounds with the utmost respect, and believe that even the most experienced teacher can learn from a diverse classroom community full of varied experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. Among the greatest qualities for a teacher to have is the ability to learn and grow through the act of teaching, and I have found students tend to be excellent teachers in a multitude of different ways. I pride myself on developing personal relationships with students, and on recognizing each student as a respected, valued individual. It has been my observation that students tend to reward this commitment to education by committing to it themselves with comparable vigor, energy and enthusiasm, and that is among the most rewarding aspects of working as a teacher in higher education.
Arroyo, Sarah J. Participatory Composition: Video Culture, Writing, and Electracy. Southern Illinois University Press, 2013.
Dolmage, Jay. Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education. University of Michigan Press, 2017.
Glenn, Cheryl. Rhetorical Feminism and This Thing Called Hope. Southern Illinois University Press, 2018.
“Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing.” Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and National Writing Project (NWP), 2011.
Young, Vershawn Ashanti. “Should Writers Use They Own English?” Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 12, no. 1, 2010, pp. 110–18.
Selfe, Cynthia L., editor. Multimodal Composition: Resources for Teachers. Hampton Press, 2007.
Shipka, Jody. Toward a Composition Made Whole. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011.