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Writing in the Age of the Anthropocene

ENGL 101.02, 07, 08, 13

Office Hours:

Dr. Dallin Lewis
Tuesdays, 10 a.m.12 p.m.; Thursdays, 3:00 p.m.5:00 p.m.; or by apt.

People often assume that the ability to write well and argue an opinion is a trait randomly
bestowed on a select few. You either are born with the knack for words or youre not. The
reality is that writing and reasoning are skills that must be practiced and honed and, like other
skills, can be improved. This course is designed to introduce you to various methods of academic
reading and writing that will enable you, first and foremost, to succeed in your collegiate career,
and second, to help you develop the critical thinking skills necessary for savvy participation as a
consumer and citizen in the public sphere.
The challenge of this classan exciting one, in my viewis to bridge the gap between writing
theory and rhetorical praxis. To help us understand how principles of argumentation work in
specific contexts, this course will focus on the contemporary debate over sustainability and
examine how writers utilize good writing practicesor do notto persuade their audiences. The
assignments of this course will train us to be both careful readers and persuasive writers,
teaching us how to identify the nuances of a debate before diving in with our own researched

A notebook or supply of paper for in-class writing exercises.
They Say / I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, 3rd ed. (Graff and Birkenstein)
Sustainability: A Reader for Writers (ed. Herndl). This book should be brought with you to teach
class period except for peer-review sessions and multimedia presentations.
All other readings will be posted online. Access to the Internet and a computer is a must for this

A Note on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct
Consistent with its mission, Gonzaga seeks to assure all community members learn and work in a
welcoming and inclusive environment. Title VII, Title IX and Gonzagas policy prohibit
harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct. Gonzaga encourages anyone experiencing
harassment, discrimination or sexual misconduct to talk to someone from the Campus and Local
Resources list found in the Student Handbook: about what
happened so they can get the support they need and Gonzaga can respond appropriately. There
are both confidential and non-confidential resources and reporting options available to you.
Gonzaga is legally obligated to respond to reports of sexual misconduct, and therefore we cannot
guarantee the confidentiality of a report, unless made to a confidential resource. Responses may
vary from support services to formal investigations. I must provide our Title IX coordinator with
relevant details such as the names of those involved in the incident. For more information about
policies and resources or reporting options, please visit the following websites: and
Notice to Students with Disabilities/Medical Conditions
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides
comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this
legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that
provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a
disability/medical condition requiring an accommodation, please call (313-4134)or visit the
Disability Resources, Education and Access Management (DREAM) office (room 209 Foley
Academic Honesty
Academic honesty is expected of all Gonzaga University students. Academic dishonesty
includes, but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, and theft. Any student found guilty of
academic dishonesty is subject to disciplinary action, which may include, but is not limited to,
(1) a failing grade for the test or assignment in question, (2) a failing grade for the course, or (3)
a recommendation for dismissal from the University. (See also Academic Honesty on page 67
of the Universitys online catalogue:
Course Evaluation
At Gonzaga, we take teaching seriously, and we ask our students to evaluate their courses and
instructors so that we can provide the best possible learning experience. In that spirit, we ask
students to give us feedback on their classroom experience near the end of the semester. I will
ask you to take a few minutes then to carry out course/instructor evaluation on-line. Please know
that I appreciate your participation in this process. This is a vital part of our efforts at Gonzaga to
improve continually our teaching, our academic programs, and our entire educational effort.

Argumentative Essays
You will write four argumentative papers that will introduce you to different genres and prepare
you for (or build upon) your proposal paper. You will submit each paper by Blackboard before
class the day it is due.

Rhetorical Analysis, (3-4 pgs.)

Rebuttal Argument, (3-4 pgs.)
Op-Ed (roughly 750 words)
Narrative Argument, (4-6 pgs.)

When you submit your document in Blackboard, you are also required to write a brief summary
(about 250-500 words) about your revision process: the feedback you received in your peer
review session, how you incorporated that feedback into your final draft, what edits you made on
your own, any visits to the Writing Center, etc. Failure to complete these summaries will not
affect your essays grade but will negatively impact your participation grade.
Proposal Paper
Your longest paper will be a proposal essay (6-8 pgs.) on a problem and solution related to
sustainability of your choice. The only stipulation is that you write about something that interests
you! Since this piece will be the most elaborate assignment for this class, I will assign a series of
exercises that will serve as stepping stones for the final project. Failure to complete any of these
exercises will result in a reduction of one-third letter grade on the final paper (for example, from
an A- to a B+). They include:

Annotated Bibliography
Rough Draft
Editing Reports

Oral Presentation
You will give a brief presentation (no less than four-and-a-half minutes, no more than six) on
your proposal paper incorporating some form of visual and/or audio component. This will be an
opportunity to share your research with your peers. More information on the presentations
criteria will come later in the semester.
Your participation grade will be determined holistically and includes attendance, class
preparation, completion of all exercises, and active participation in class, small group and peer
review discussions. Furthermore, no electronic devices are allowed unless it is to access an
online reading that were discussing, during a work day, or for a peer editing session as needed.

Exercises are short, preliminary writing homework assignments that will help you reflect
on the readings, generate ideas for writing, and practice the skills you will use in your
essays. You will turn in a hard-copy in class the day each exercise is due. They are
graded on an exceeds/pass/fail basis. While a pass wont negatively affect your grade,
receiving exceeds can boost other facets of your participation grade. Failure to pass
these assignments, failure to turn them in, or turning them in late will severely affect your
participation grade.
Attendance and In-Class Engagement:
This is not a lecture course. Classes are discussion-based, discussion-driven. This means
that people have to show up and they have to contribute to class discussions in order for
the course to function. You are allowed two absences (excused or not) before missing
class will seriously affect your grade. Four absences means you cannot receive higher
than a D on your participation grade. After six absences, you will receive a V for the
course. Come speak with me if there are extenuating circumstances.
Readings and Quizzes:
Throughout the semester, we will read a number of essays, articles, and chapters upon
which our class discussions and your short assignments will be based on. Each reading
assignment should be brought to class the day it is due, and the Sustainability reader
should be brought every class period except when peer review sessions or multimedia
presentations are scheduled. I will frequently assign short in-class writing exercises (and
occasionally quizzes) based on the days reading; failure to complete these exercises
adequately will lower your participation grade. Quizzes will be simple, fact-based
questions about the reading (e.g., name one of the locations mentioned in the reading); if
you answer more than half correctly, you will successfully pass that quiz.
Peer Review:
Learning to edit is one of the crucial skills for becoming a competent writer. For this
reason, peer editing will be a regular part of each essay assignment. You are expected to
be diligent and respectful in all peer editing sessions and in your peer review summaries
(see Assignments above). More instruction about peer review will be given during the
Writing Center Visit:
Learning to critically evaluate your own work, being willing to discuss your writing with
others, embracing strategies for revision: these are all crucial attributes of good writers.
Visiting the Writing Center is an opportunity to practice all of these habits with trained
tutors. You will be required to attend the Writing Center at least once for either the
Rhetorical Analysis, the Definition Argument, or the Proposal Argument paper, but you
are strongly encouraged to visit the center more often. So that I know youve completed
this assignment, ask them to notify me of your visit. More information is available at:

Full Course Breakdown
Writing Assignments (see right):
Oral Presentation:
Proposal Paper:
Final Grading Scale:
A = 94-100 A- = 90-93
B+ = 87-89 B = 84-86
C+ = 77-79 C = 74-76
D+ = 67-69 D = 64-66
F = 0-59

Writing Assignments:
Rhetorical Analysis: 10%
Rebuttal Argument: 15%
Narrative Argument: 15%

B- = 80-83
C- = 70-73
D- = 60-63

Writing Rubric

Thesis is arguable, specific, interesting, and sophisticated.

Writing thoroughly utilizes argument types and appeals, presenting good reasons that explicitly
link to and support thesis
Sufficient, relevant evidence thoroughly supports each part of the argument
Evidence is creatively analyzed with depth and is persuasively linked to the thesis
Opposing views to thesis are accurately and respectfully presented and responded to persuasively
Argument integrates relevant sources to engage credibly in and make a contribution to a
conversation of ideas
Ideas are sequenced logically to develop a coherent and sophisticated argument
Organizational markers such as topic sentences and transitions seamlessly guide reader through
the argument
Language and ideas of the paper engage the appropriate audiences attention and interest
Consistently clear and sophisticated language and sentence structure establish a distinct and
credible voice for the writer


Thesis is clear, arguable, and specific

Good reasons logically link to and support thesis, though argument types and appeals may not be
thoroughly exploited
Sufficient, relevant evidence supports the argument
Evidence is thoroughly analyzed and linked to the thesis through discussion
Opposing views to thesis are respectfully presented so as to make clear why there are
disagreements about the topic, and writer substantively responds to those views
Argument uses relevant sources to engage credibly in a conversation of ideas
Most ideas are sequenced logically to develop a coherent argument
Writing uses sufficient organizational markers such as topic sentences and transitions to enable
reader to follow the argument
Language and ideas of the paper engage the appropriate audiences attention and interest
Language and sentence structure are sufficiently precise and varied to establish a clear and
credible voice for the writer.


Thesis is evident, but is either not arguable or overly broad in scope

Some reasons are given that link to and support the thesis
Evidence is present, but not consistently relevant or sufficient to support the argument
Minimal analysis of evidence and/or explanation of how it supports thesis
Opposing views are considered, but they may be over-simplified and/or their treatment does not
advance the thesis
Paper engages required sources, but does not make a clear contribution to a conversation of ideas.
Overall structure develops a position, but some parts of the essay may be unrelated to the thesis
Some organizational markers such as topic sentences and transitions link sections of the
argument, but some logical links are missing
While there is an effort to engage an audiences attention and interest, language and ideas may
not always be appropriately directed at the intended audience
Use of imprecise language and repetitive or non-grammatical sentence construction at times
impede clarity and credibility

Participation Rubric

Actively supports,
engages and listens
to peers, especially
in peer editing
sessions (ongoing)

Makes a sincere
effort to interact
with peers,
especially in peer
editing sessions

Limited interaction
with peers,
including in peer
editing sessions

Virtually no
interaction with
peers, including in
peer editing

No interaction
with peers

Arrives full
prepared at every

Arrives mostly, if
not fully, prepared

Preparation, and
therefore level of
participation, are
both inconsistent

Rarely prepared

Never prepared

Rarely participates

Never participates

All exercises, inclass writing are

completed and
engagement with
course readings,
ideas, discussions

Most exercises, inclass writing are

completed and
engagement with
course readings,
ideas, discussions

Some exercises, inclass writing are

completed and
rarely demonstrate
engagement with
course readings,
ideas, discussions

Few exercises, inclass writing are

completed and
almost never
engagement with
course readings,
ideas, discussions

Never completes
exercises, in-class

Group dynamic
and level of
discussion are
consistently better
because of the
students presence

Group dynamic
and level of
discussion are
occasionally better
because of the
students presence

Group dynamic
and level of
are not affected by
the students

Group dynamic
and level of
discussion are
harmed by the
students presence

Group dynamic
and level of
discussion are
harmed by the
students presence

Visits Writing
Center at least

Visits Writing
Center at least

Visits Writing
Center at least

Never visits
Writing Center

Never visits
Writing Center

Plays an active role

in discussions

constructively in

When prepared,
participates in
discussions and
makes comments
that are usually

demonstrate a
consistent lack of

Does not engage in

class discussion

Demonstrates a
noticeable lack of
interest in the
material (on going)

Cultivating character through transformative engagement that empowers students to be a
positive influence in the world. Gonzaga University Vision Statement
Course Objectives for English Composition at Gonzaga University
1. Develop process approaches to writing and speaking that include these key areas:

Explore ideas and clarify ones thinking.

Communicate ideas and knowledge to a range of audiences.

Reflect on ideas and learning.

Respond to the work of others and revise own writing-in-progress.

2. Understand course readings, in part, by posing questions and by drawing connections to
other readings, in-class and virtual discussions, and other course materials.
3. Make effective arguments that include these key areas, regardless of topic, medium for
communication, or assignment type.

Connect ideas and knowledge with those of other speakers and writers.

Support the overarching learning outcomes for reading and arguing by developing
information literacy practices, especially:

Acknowledge and integrate other peoples ideas (oral and written) ethically.

Evaluate the relevance and quality of information, regardless the medium or type
of source.

Integrate the well-chosen evidence from information resources into original

intellectual work.

Employ evidence in ways that enhance the rhetorical effectiveness of original

intellectual work.

Cite and document all pertinent evidence and information resources.

Access a variety of information resources available through libraries like the

Foley Center Library.