I am a writing teacher, which means that I am teaching writing even if writing isn’t the main subject of our class, and more than five years of experience tells me you’ll be more successful in my class if you learn a few things about me. So, here goes.
For the past four years, I have worked to design learner-centered environments in which students explore what it means to be scholars-in-process, in which you share in the responsibility for your intellectual development, and in which we work together to change the expectations for undergraduate learning. From first-year writing courses to senior-level rhetorical theory seminars, my classes focus on writing as a noun and a verb. That is, I want to help you gain declarative knowledge about how writing works (relying on theoretical and research-based evidence) and procedural knowledge about your reading and writing practices (what you can do and how you can do it).
My interest in helping you develop into student scholars demands I design authentic writing experiences for you. I must also be present, which, given our content, means doing more than lecturing or providing course notes. I must be willing to work with you in class and one-on-one as your projects take shape. I must, and will, encourage you to publish exceptional and innovative work through national and local venues or to participate in professional development opportunities. I approach our work this way because I believe that learning should not be a private or solitary matter. Knowledge is meant to be shared. Through your publications and research contributions, I learn from you. I don’t expect you to do all of these things, but I do want to step aside a little each semester and help you find your passion for learning and your place in the university.
I also expect you to take responsibility for your own learning, and this includes asking you to do research about topics you are interested in and even asking you to honestly reflect on your performance (often in the form of a Self-Assessment Letters or Letters of Transmittal).
I am not here to transfer what I know about writing, rhetoric, literacy studies, and research to you, so you can give it back to me. Instead, you and I are working together to make new knowledge, to see what answers we might find to these questions. Together. As collaborators. I can’t wait to work with you.