English Department Announces New Professional Writing Courses

The English Department has announced two new course offerings in professional writing for J-Term and spring 2017.

ENGL 325 Writing Grants and Proposals

Recognizing that the ability to write impactful grant proposals is a skill that increasingly is valued in today’s work environment – whether that’s a job in the humanities, STEM fields, an academic institution or private organization, or in profit and nonprofit settings – the English Department finds that it’s an opportune time to offer a grant and proposal writing course to undergraduate students.

In J-Term 2017, the department will offer ENGL 325 Writing Grants and Proposals Tuesday-Friday from 1-4 p.m. The course will be taught by Dr. Fernando Sanchez, who joined the department this fall as a specialist in professional writing.

The goal of the course is to teach students how to assess client needs, find appropriate funding sources, and use rhetorical and genre knowledge to develop and communicate their ideas for a research or project grant. Working collaboratively in pairs or in small groups, students will be asked to apply what they have learned by creating and then orally presenting a grant proposal that uses sound document design strategies.

The course is aimed at students who have little or no experience applying for funding. The prerequisite for this course is completion of an ENGL 201, 202, 203 or 204 Texts in Conversation class.

ENGL 325 Ethnographic Writing

As our local and national population grows more diverse, the field of ethnography – the study of the culture within a distinct group of society – has assumed a position of growing prominence, especially in such interdisciplinary areas as sociology, social work, justice and peace studies, communication and journalism, English, art history and geography, to name a few. Yet ethnography brings with it a variety of difficulties and complexities that force us to ask a number of critical questions: What are the limits of representation? Is objectivity possible? What are the ethical responsibilities of writing about others? How do we do ethnography without exploiting research “subjects”? Should ethnography be done at all?

To explore how writing operates within this rapidly growing field, the English Department will offer ENGL 325 Ethnographic Writing during the spring 2017 semester on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:35-3:10 p.m.  The course will be taught by Dr. Todd Lawrence, the department’s specialist in African-American literature and culture, folklore and American cultural studies. The prerequisite for it is completion of an ENGL 201, 202, 203, or 204 Texts in Conversation class.

The class will start by engaging ethnographic theory of the last 40 years from the disciplines of anthropology, sociology and folklore, focusing on the ethical turn from ethnography’s colonialist past to a more self-aware, reflexive and reciprocal ethnography. In addition to looking at various theories about ethnography, students also will sample ethnographies (experimental fiction, nonfiction and filmed works), ultimately asking what counts as ethnography and what the possibilities are for it. In the last half of the semester, students will take what they have learned about ethnography and ethnographic writing and apply it to community-engaged qualitative research projects. Projects will likely focus on issues of sustainability, urban farming, land access, food justice and traditions, and/or new immigrant experiences.

Learn more about the ethnography writing class in this short video.

Questions about the courses can be sent to the respective faculty members: Sanchez and Lawrence.