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English 111: Rhetoric and Composition

English 211: Writing in the Social Sciences and Humanities

Course Subtitle: Artificial Life: Robots, Technology, and Human Computers


English 211: Writing in the Social Sciences and Humanities

Course Subtitle: Springfield, USA: The Simpsons as Critique of Home and Family


English 304: Creative Writing (Prose)




Rhetorical Analysis

An exercise in breaking down a written or spoken argument for rhetorical message and situation.

Documented Argument

A long-form paper focusing on effective argumentation and thorough incorporation of research.

Comparative Analysis

A compare-and-contrast paper requiring a close reading of two literary works or one literary work and one film.


Problem/Solution Paper

An extended argument requiring documentation of an existing social problem as well as an in-depth proposal for an appropriate solution.


Final Exam: Self-Evaluation Rubric

A final exam for a creative writing class; students are asked to define a set of criteria with which to evaluate their own creative writing.




Film Analysis Rubric

Documented Argument Rubric



Reading Skills: Teaching Vocabulary (Grades 5-8)

Writing Skills: Showing, Not Telling (Grades 5-10)

Interpretation/Analysis Skills: A Unit on The Little Prince (Grades 5-8)



“From start to finish, Tracy demonstrated the qualities we seek in excellent WC [Writing Center] consultants….Tracy’s guidance in discovering and developing the ideas the student already had helped the student to feel less intimidated by the assignment, and more capable in dealing with it….Tracy laughed in all the right places, commiserated with the student on what it’s like to have to start an assignment about which one is unsure, and was sympathetic about the situation the student’s absences has created in moving ahead with the project.”

– Becki Graham, Writing Center Coordinator, New Mexico State University


“Tracy uses multiple forms of both media and discourses in her classroom in order to keep her students engaged and excited by the forms of rhetoric and argument we explore in 111. For a group discussion, early in the morning on a Friday, it was surprisingly engaging and energetic. This I believe is largely due to the tone that Tracy has created for the classroom, informative and interesting content, as well as her own vigorous diligence in getting her students to participate.”

– Robert Rome, instructor, New Mexico State University


“Tracy utilized active learning strategies and displayed every awareness that learning is socially constructed. Students were able to actively engage both at the individual level and at the group level….Tracy also displayed an awareness of the importance of the teacher being a facilitator rather than a dictator….She was very prepared, was respectful of her students and provided them with opportunities to take ownership in the classroom. It was obvious to me that her students appreciated her.”

– Janice Cools, instructor, New Mexico State University


“The thing that has helped me most is writing a paper and then you grading it, writing ALL those helpful comments. It helps me learn what my strengths and weaknesses are and what I need to improve on.”

– Student Evalution, Freshman Rhetoric & Composition


“Amazing, always willing to help, amenable.”

– Student Evaluation, Freshman Rhetoric & Composition


“Always prepared and direct, easy to work with, and her knowledge on the subject (especially editing) was very, very helpful.”

– Student Evaluation, Freshman Rhetoric & Composition


“The instructor did everything she could to make the class interesting. It was obvious she enjoyed the subject and wanted us to be interested too. She was always easy to work with.”

– Student Evaluation, Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences


“Our instructor was amazing; she was always prepared for class and was always very understanding, willing to accept questions, comments, and anything else from the students. She made the subject very interesting and it was a pleasure to learn from her.”

– Student Evaluation, Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences



Modeling expectations and recognizing achievements

Modeling was always the way I produced the best work as a student—seeing examples of the work expected, internalizing work recognized as exemplary, and then imitating it. As I gained experience as a teacher and team leader, and as I came to know students and colleagues as individuals with their own goals and ways of working, I came to see modeling as a way of empowering individuals rather than casting them in a particular mold. Now, I hold myself accountable for modeling effective practices and processes. Modeling in the college classroom, for instance, meant I had to model good preparation, effective time management, and attention to detail. It meant that I had to make bare the processes I go through when parsing complex theories, frequently creating and providing examples, connections, and alternative definitions for conceptual information on the spot. Modeling in the workplace meant I had to renew my dedication to sharing "big picture" information and making important references easily accessible, so that team members could work on a level playing field. In all my work, I had to become more comfortable with questioning and correcting myself, and with encouraging my students or team members to do the same.


Engaging people as individuals and contributing to their learning goals

Increasingly, the young adults we see in college settings have adult concerns and responsibilities—jobs, families, living independently. College is a stepping stone for many and not an end unto itself. However, with less life experience necessarily comes less awareness of how to navigate institutions, how to set and achieve goals, how to apply new knowledge and skills, and how to adapt when circumstances change.

Young and adult learners alike need effective structural support. This includes scaffolding new information to create connections with what learners already know, and it includes acknowledging the construction of knowledge as a highly individual and highly social process. I make efforts early on to observe my students’ and colleagues' goals and learning styles. This will affect how I present information, how I contextualize it, and how I document it for further reference. All learners, from kindergarteners to Ph.D. candidates to experienced employees, should receive scaffolding to ensure full and effective learning, and it is the job of their teacher, mentor, or leader to help the individuals in the room establish how new information is relevant and applicable to them. I believe firmly in pushing people in my classes or on my teams to value their pursuits as much as I value my own.


Evaluating consistently and reflecting on work accomplished

I didn’t understand until I left my undergraduate program and started my job as an editor that written reflections—journals, minutes, and reports—weren't about the records themselves, but about practicing the ability to look back on an experience and respond to it meaningfully in future practice. Now, it is common for me to write notes to myself during or shortly after a lesson or training, reminding myself to alter the format of an activity, to better explain or exemplify a certain concept, to focus differently on a reading or select another one, or to capitalize on a participant's suggestion or enthusiastic reaction. I also make frequent use of surveys and evaluations to ensure that I and the course or program I am leading are improving. It’s through reflection, both passive and active, that I learn what I believe is most effective as a teacher and leader and how I can better work to accomplish it.

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