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University of Maine at Orono (English)
University of Maine at Orono (Master's)
Purdue University, West Lafayette (PhD)
Statement of Teaching
I have taught several different versions of first-year writing. At the University of Maine I taught first-year writing that was academically and persuasively focused. Specifically, I used non-fiction texts related to the cultural and political contexts of fast food. In this course I emphasized multiple drafts, and students wrote papers primarily arguing for responsibility in various areas of the fast food industry, including conditions in slaughterhouses, working conditions in restaurants, and nutritional programs in schools. To support their arguments students used course texts in addition to outside research.
At Purdue University my teaching of first-year writing took on a more rhetorical focus, while still maintaining a focus on academic writing. For instance, students composed rhetorical analyses of texts and images that they documented and integrated into their analysis. I maintained a traditional academic and persuasive focus by asking students to write arguments about a local issue. This approach allowed me to accomplish two pedagogical tasks at once; the assignments required students to engage their local political arena and write strong, well-supported arguments as well as to reconstruct their arguments through a non-traditional medium. First, students researched their issue by looking at local publications and conducting interviews to gather material for thesis-driven essays. The second half of the assignment required students to convert the argument to an audio production using GarageBand or Audacity to create either a public service announcement or radio segment. Having students rethink their arguments for different audiences allowed them to adapt their rhetorical thinking, as well as engage in the practice of rhetoric in a local, social, and political fashion.
The service-learning course I taught gave students an opportunity to participate in forums and to write ethnographies. Students chose from a variety of local venues including the farmers’ market, the Global Café (a forum on international culture based in the International Center), and the Islamic Cultural Center. As students were not insiders in these forums they were challenged to interrogate their own assumptions and cultural assumptions about these forums. Student wrote ethnographies in the beginning of the semester and wrote longer assessment reports that gave the history of the forum, aspects from their ethnographies, an excerpted interview, and recommendations on for how the forum’s activities could be more successful for the particular audience/participants.
Statement of Teaching
I have taught several different versions of first-year writing. At the University of Maine I taught first-year writing that was academically and persuasively focused. Specifically, I used non-fiction texts related to the cultural and political contexts of