TEACHING AWARD

XCaliber Award. Virginia Tech. March 2015. University award that recognizes exceptional, high-caliber contributions to technology-enriched teaching and learning. 


COURSES TAUGHT

Virginia Tech

  • ENGL 5624 Intercultural Communication (Graduate Level; Fall 2014, Fall 2016) [Syllabus]
  • ENGL 4874 Issues in Professional and Public Discourse: Feminisms & Interaction Design (Fall 2014, Spring 2016) [Syllabus; Featured on Digital Pedagogy in the HumanitiesInterview on The Ubiquitous Librarian]
  • ENGL 3834 Intercultural Issues in Professional Writing (Spring 2014, Fall 2015) 
  • ENGL 3674 Technical Writing (Online; Summer 2016, Fall 2016) [Syllabus]
  • ENGL 3324 Acts of Interpretation (Spring 2016; Spring 2017)
  • ENGL 3104 Professional Writing (Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015) [Syllabus 

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Michigan State University

  • WRA 202 Introduction to Professional Writing (Spring 2012)
  • WRA 110 Writing: Science & Technology (Fall 2011)
  • WRA 150 Writing, Rhetoric, Literacy (Hybrid) (Summer 2011)
  • WRA 150 Writing, Literacies, and the Rhetorics of Popular Music (Fall 2010, Spring 2011)

Remington College

  • English Composition IA (2 sections), IB (8 sections), and II (1 section) (Spring 2006-Spring 2008)

SAMPLE ASSIGNMENTS

Feminisms & IxD Prototyping Project
Professional Writing: Partnership with Cranwell International Center


SAMPLE TEACHING MATERIALS


TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

As a writing teacher, I take a project-based approach that blends theory, critique, common genres, and tools. In my courses, students often read and respond to a diverse mixture of critical scholarship, academic research, and popular sources on a given topic, before applying that theoretical knowledge to a practical writing project.

For instance, in Feminisms and Interaction Design, my senior-level professional and technical writing capstone course, which was awarded Virginia Tech’s 2015 XCaliber Award for exceptional contributions to technology-enriched teaching and learning, we read scholarship on feminism before collaborating as a large group to build a feminist theoretical framework using Google Docs. Students then developed their own frameworks to write a feminist rhetorical analysis, and to collaboratively design a feminist space and an application prototype. I also modeled, in my teaching, what I referred to as feminist project management by emphasizing inclusivity, collaboration, and decentralizing hierarchies, explaining how it might be applicable to other professional settings. By taking multiple passes at applying a complex theoretical concept, students gain flexibility in terms of how to make a practical intervention using theory and critique.

Because the ability to draw connections is a crucial skill for critical thinking, I stress the importance of making connections across readings, ideas, and popular and personal events throughout the courses I teach. For instance, in the same course, I saw students actively discuss how feminist values and concepts were relevant not only to contexts described in assigned readings like gender in the workplace or in art history, but also the Gamergate controversy, representations of sex assault on college campuses, and women athletes, including why Virginia Tech’s highly ranked women’s soccer team is not nearly as celebrated on campus as its less successful football team. What’s more, with each case, we emphasized how conceptions of gender are rhetorically shaped by communication design. This emphasis on drawing connections facilitated students’ ability to speak to points that they found most interesting in an engaged and nuanced way, and to help students carry those ideas with them through the semester. Perhaps more significantly, however, this approach empowered students with the agency to innovate and create new knowledge—rather than being asked to demonstrate coverage of existing ideas, students were guided through a process of combining a set of compelling ideas and responding to those ideas through design.

In addition, I often take an authentic assessment approach to project design, working to build mutually beneficial partnerships with organizations and internal units for whom students produce professional writing documents. For example, when I teach Professional Writing as well as Intercultural Issues in Professional Writing, I often work with Virginia Tech’s Cranwell International Center to develop projects that provide students with a real context and audience for the work they would produce. For example, my students have conducted usability research to provide the office with recommendations for revising their print handouts, as well as their website for new international students. My graduate level intercultural communication course also worked with Cranwell to develop a set of teaching modules for their Global Ambassadors student training program. Beyond having students engage in professional writing research and document production, these projects encouraged students to think about issues of intercultural communication, and the misunderstandings that can ensue when non-Western cultures are interpreted through a Western lens. Furthermore, students tend to value the “real world” experience of working with a client organization and find it both motivating and satisfying to produce documents that may be put to actual use.

By deploying a pedagogical approach that merges theory and practice; encourages dynamic, multidirectional learning; and enacts an authentic assessment approach to project design, I work to help students develop their writing skills in ways that are critically-inspired, rhetorically effective, and culturally appropriate.


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