Congratulations to Rebekah Sims, Hadi Banat, Parva Panahi Lazarjani, and Phuong Tran (below, from left), the instructors leading the Transculturation research project in Introductory Composition. They were recently presented a second CILMAR Mini-Grant award of $2,000 to support their research in developing linked courses and curricula which support the growth of intercultural competence. Presenting the award (far left) is Dr. Dan Hirleman.
Victoria Ruiz: Navigating identities, culture, and performing rhetoric via English 106
Victoria Ruiz started her graduate school two and half years ago at Purdue and since then she has been teaching First Year Composition. She recently completed teaching her fifth batch of her English 106 class. Her sections are themed around identity as being a negotiation of time and space. In her own words, she designs her classes in such a way that students learn about identities, culture, explore, critique, and perform rhetoric in various cultural scopes across different genres.
In addition to teaching identity themed English 106, Ruiz is also the leader of the Syllabus Approach UR@. UR@ is one of the six different syllabus approaches that instructors of ICaP choose to teach their English 106 class. During their first year, instructors follow their mentor’s syllabus approach for a year. After a year of taking the Teaching Practicum Course with their mentor, instructors can choose different syllabus approaches to teach their classroom, and based on their preferences, they also introduce various assignments that meet ICaP’s six major outcomes.
According to Ruiz, she has made significant changes to her English 106 course as she now structures her course around her own research that is on identity, culture.
“I feel teaching and learning is a both-way process. As much as my students learn from me, I do learn from them as well. Additionally, the UR@ syllabus approach is flexible enough to support changes in the syllabus as per the student needs, and the students really seem to enjoy it,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz’s class is based on identity and through her assignments the students are asked to look at the way identity is constructed and performed through communication and writing for varied audiences, in various genres, and with specific purposes.
She said, “Over the past two years, I’ve curated a selection of additional reading assignments that allows students to know more about writing process, instruction & application, and identity. My students discuss about issues like race, class, ability, privilege, and so on throughout the semester. I have seen their identities change throughout the semester and it is really cool how students get well informed about the real world.”
Every English 106 course is divided into three types of class. Students meet twice a week in a traditional classroom, once in an one-on-one conference, and once in a computer classroom. These varied spaces also help instructors to implement their pedagogy by taking various pedagogical approaches. Most importantly, students and instructors work very closely to meet the goals of the class as set by ICaP.
“Over the past two years, I’ve found that it’s all the little things that we do as instructors that add up and impact our students’ lives. Each of my projects helps frame identity in different ways, and by the end of the semester the students are able to reflect on just how far they’ve come, all the work that they’ve completed, and everything they’ve learned… all of this helps them become better writers,” Ruiz shared.
Victoria’s Crucial Assignment: Personal Portfolio/Auto-Ethnography
The assignment that she is currently teaching “is probably her students’ favorite” – it is a hybridized personal portfolio/auto-ethnography. Ruiz tries to place a lot of emphasis on the personal portfolio aspect of it so that students feel as though something is at stake and they take a vested interest in finishing out the semester with enthusiasm. This project asks students to compose materials that highlight the transferable skills that they might put to use outside the 106 classroom. In effect, when her students finish the semester – they then have something that they can continue adding to over the course of their collegiate career. This project is also one that they might offer to show potential employers during a job interview, etc. It is their chance to showcase their best work and what makes them most marketable.
Ruiz says she also really loves this assignment because it is structured in such a way that she is able to gauge what the students have learned and how they’ve grown throughout the semester. The reflection portion of the project puts the students and their work in the spotlight, so to speak.
Every semester, specialized sections of introductory composition take on the theme of “Engaging Public Discourse.” These accelerated courses ask students to think about public issues and community contexts beyond Purdue’s campus through community engagement.
English 108-S courses can take a number of formats: A class may partner with one community organization, developing projects to meet organizational needs. Students may individually volunteer in the community and write reflective projects related to their service. Assignments may ask students conduct research and take action on community-based issues. In each of these forms, community engagement encourages students’ civic participation and real world applications for learning.
If you are interested in community engagement or teaching 108-S:
Take ENGL 680: Experiential Learning and Engagement with Professor Jennifer Bay in Fall 2018
See Sample Course Documents from past 108-S courses.
Joshua Galat’s Fall 2017 course took a “writing about the community” model, in which students interviewed local organizations and conducted research about related issues. See his syllabus, calendar, community profile assignment, and a student example.
Carrie Grant’s Spring 2015 course partnered with the local WIC office to do group projects to help improve client experiences. See her syllabus, group project proposals, and a sample group project (note: this syllabus is not up to date with current ICaP requirements).
ICaP is currently accepting applications to teach ENGL 108-S for Fall 2018. Instructors teaching the course will be required to enroll in English 680: Experiential Learning and Engagement in the fall as a seminar and practicum on community engagement pedagogy. If you think you may be interested in teaching English 108-S sometime in the future, we also encourage you to take this excellent course with Professor Bay.
To apply to teach English 108-S, send an application email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, March 21 addressing the following:
Why you’d like to teach an service-learning/accelerated course
Your background, experience, or interest in community engagement or community service
Ideas you have about community partnerships or assignments you would be interested in developing for your 108-S course
Whether you would be able to take English 680: Experiential Learning and Engagement in the fall, or have already taken it.
If you have any questions about teaching 108-S or the application process, please reach out to Carrie Grant, Assistant Director of Introductory Composition (email@example.com) or Bradley Dilger, Director of Introductory Composition (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Every semester, ICaP instructors and staff gather for news, announcements, and professional development. In Spring 2018, the focus of our Convocation will be assessment, including development of the common assignments we’ll be piloting in 2018.