Race, Class, and Gender in the Professional Workplace
English 3001: Advanced Composition
|Meeting rooms: Coleman 3120 (computer lab) and 3130 (discussion room)||Instructor: Tim Engles|
|Meeting times: Tuesday/Thursday, 11:00 – 12:15,
except as noted on Daily Schedule below
|Office: Coleman 3831
E-mail address: email@example.com
|Course listserv e-dress: firstname.lastname@example.org||Phone: 581-6316|
|Office hours: 12:30 – 1:30 Tuesday and Thursday, and by appointment|
Where We Stand, bell hooks
Working while Black, Michelle T. Johnson
The Blair Handbook (fourth edition), Fulwiler
Students must also purchase a course packet at Copy Express in EIU's student union
Description and Goals: A writing course is more useful and interesting if it has a central focus. Our focus will be the world of work, or more specifically, the effects of gender, race and social class in the “professional” workplace, that is, the kind of work environment that most of you will find yourselves in after graduation. In this course you will improve both your writing skills and your understanding of key elements of your own future professional life. Because we have a smaller group than those in most EIU courses, your individual writing problems (and you all have them!) will receive close individual attention, both from your instructor and from your peers.
More specifically, our goals include the refinement of skills in the following areas:
• Clean, smart prose: improve your ability to write clear, concise, and meaningful sentences, to compose organized and developed paragraphs, and to identify and address recurring grammatical or mechanical problems specific to your own writing (these vary from writer to writer). We will spend time talking about why a grammatically correct, clear, efficient style is so important to your success in college and in professional life.
• Constructing arguments: improve your ability to construct substantive, well-written arguments. One of our aims is to learn to distinguish between mere “opinion” and a “reasoned argument” that is based on carefully constructed points, evidence, and so on. You will also be encouraged to push yourself toward new realizations while writing—good writing is not so much having something to say as it is discovering new thoughts and insights that you would not have had if you had not started to write them down.
• Critical reading: improve your ability to read critically by questioning and evaluating what you read. Understanding the distinction between “opinion” and “reasoned argument” depends on your mastery of critical reading skills, which will enable you to discern and emulate the successful argumentative strategies of other writers. The better reader you are, the better writer you can be. In order to be a better reader, you have to participate in what you are reading, actively deciphering the argument in all its parts, rather than passively receiving strings of words. Active participation in this course will help to improve your ability to summarize what you read and then to evaluate the claims and assumptions on which the argument is based.
• Minding your p’s and q’s: work on misused words, missing commas, lack of subject/verb agreement, missing quotation marks, poorly incorporated quotations and inaccurate citations, misused semicolons . . . remember those bugaboos? Students sometimes complain that such “minor” mistakes in their papers are graded too heavily. Sorry, they’ll also be graded heavily in this course. However, there’s a good reason. Again, this course is meant to get your writing skills up to speed for professional life. All of you are sure to do at least some writing in your careers, and errors that students often consider “minor” actually stand out in professional life—they look sloppy and careless, and even worse, they make the writer look sloppy and careless. Thus, I will work with you to find and eliminate your own habitual errors, and we will conduct in-class workshops on the most common errors in advanced student writing.
• Bibliographic research: improve your knowledge of how online library resources work and how to use them. You will familiarize yourself with library resources (online catalogues and periodical indexes, electronic databases, and librarians) and other online information. Reasoned arguments are dependent upon knowing how to find, evaluate, and then use good information. In addition to learning how to find appropriate information, you will improve your skills in using such sources. You cannot make effective use of an article or essay if you cannot summarize its basic argument and identify how it is constructed. Therefore, using research means finding useful materials, and knowing how to read them and incorporate them into your own writing. Finally, incorporating research materials also includes knowledge of appropriate documentation styles. As you probably know, there are several of these standardized documentation styles (MLA and APA are the most common); you can use whichever style is used in your major, provided you do so accurately.
• Collaborative learning: improve your ability to learn from others and to teach them about your own thinking and about writing. As in most professional spheres, much of your success in this course will depend on the combined processes of drafting and peer critiques. You will practice forming honest, thorough, and constructive critiques of your peers' writing, and your own writing skills will benefit from closely critiquing your classmates’ drafts.
• Professional life: learn about some of the more subtle aspects of how people interact and collaborate in the professional workplace. We will study significant factors that influence success in professional life, including such matters as race, class, gender, and sexuality.
• Touchiness: practice consideration and discussion of issues that many of us prefer to sweep under the rug. You will need to approach this course and its material with an open mind and a willingness to seriously consider viewpoints expressed from different perspectives. Be respectful of your classmates during discussions of these issues, and try to respond to the opinions and ideas that arise, rather than to the person raising them. Heated discussions may arise as the beliefs of you or some of your classmates will be challenged by our course materials, and you may be asked to think outside of your own “comfort zone.”
Grades: Your final grade will be determined as follows—
Two essays (4-5 pages) 30%
Average of two peer-critiques 15%
A formal one-page proposal for your final research project 10%
A formal, analytical report (10-12 pages) on your research findings 30%
Miscellaneous writing assignments, quizzes, and class participation (including attendance) 15%
E-Mail Activity: Enrollment in this class requires an e-mail account, and you must check it frequently, preferably every day, for messages pertaining to the course. I will use this e-dress to subscribe you to our class listserv (also known as a “discussion list”); you will use it to read and perhaps respond to messages there, and also to send drafts of your essays as attachments to Dr. Engles and to your peer review partners. You can use your EIU account on the Internet (at www.eiu.edu/mymail) or another one, though I recommend that you not use free accounts, such as Yahoo or Hotmail. E-mail is the quickest, easiest way to reach me if I am not in my office; I welcome any questions and comments. Again, using an e-mail account frequently is crucial for this course, as it will be in your professional life—thus, if you do not send me an e-mail message (email@example.com) by 5 p.m. on Friday, January 13, I will assume that you have chosen against fully participating in the course, and I will therefore drop you. In your message, (1) tell me which course you’re in (English 3001); 2) describe yourself in whatever way you choose, including your career aspirations; and 3) write a statement to the effect that you have read and agree with (or perhaps disagree with) these course policies and procedures. Sending me this message will constitute your “signature” of our course contract, that is, these policies and procedures that you are reading.
Regarding the Writing Center: Tutoring services are free at the English Department’s Writing Center, and students may drop in or schedule appointments during working hours (Room 3110 of Coleman Hall, http://www.eiu.edu/~writing/). If you are aware of chronic problems with your writing, I strongly recommend that you make use of this service. While I will pay close attention to each student’s particular writing problems, I may advise some students to seek additional help at the Writing Center.
Classroom Environment: In class, I expect all of you to participate in discussions (class participation will be figured into your final grade), and to attend regularly. The best way to demonstrate that you are an active, engaged, and interested reader and writer is by contributing regularly to class discussions, and by paying close, respectful attention to what everyone else has to say. If you have questions, no matter how simple or complicated, go ahead and ask me, either in class or via e-mail—chances are that other people have the same question. I do not plan to lecture in this class; I want us to contribute together to a positive, challenging, interesting learning environment. Also, please do not chew gum or eat food during class, activities which are too distracting to others—drinking beverages is okay. And no caps, please, but if you want to wear one, turn it backwards so we can see your eyes.
Finally, in regards to writing, you must be willing to give and receive constructive, insightful, frank criticism. I’m sure that all of you will work very hard on your projects, but try not to let criticism of your own work hurt your feelings, and don’t hold back from offering helpful writing advice because you think it might hurt someone else’s feelings.
Attendance Policy: I will take attendance, and I expect you to attend class every day, on time, and prepared to discuss the material listed for that day on the “Daily Schedule.” If you have more than three absences this semester, your course grade will drop a full letter grade for each absence beyond three. Also, missing a scheduled conference meeting without your prior notification will result in the automatic lowering of your grade for the current assignment by ten points. If you have to miss a conference, call or write to me via e-mail in advance; I will do the same if I have to reschedule.
Regarding tardiness and late papers: This is a small class, so late arrivals are disruptive—if for some bizarre reason you wish to get on my bad side, you can easily do so by developing the habit of arriving late for class. If you will not be able to arrive for this class on time because of other commitments, drop it and take another section. You are responsible for all assignments, whether you attend class or not. Get the telephone number of one or two other students in class so you can find out about missed assignments before you come to class. Papers will be graded on a 100-point scale, and late papers will be penalized ten points for each day they are late, beginning one hour after the time of day at which they are due.
Academic Honesty: I expect you to act honestly and do your own
work in this class, and so does Eastern Illinois University. It is
your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the English Department’s
policy on plagiarism: “Any teacher who discovers an act of plagiarism—‘The
appropriation or imitation of the language, ideas, and/or thoughts of another
author, and representation of them as one’s original work’ (Random House
Dictionary of the English Language)—has the right and the responsibility
to impose upon the guilty student an appropriate penalty, up to and including
immediate assignment of a grade of F for the course, and to report the
incident to the Judicial Affairs Office.”
English 3001 Daily Schedule
(this schedule may be subject to change; BE SURE to bring the appropriate
book or books to class if a reading assignment is listed for that day;
students who show up without a copy of the day’s reading
assignment may be marked absent)
Week One (Computer Room, Coleman 3120)
T JAN 10 Introduction to the Course: Discussion of Course Policies and Procedures
• Discussion of Richard E. Thompson, “The Changing Face of Gender Issues in the 21st Century Workplace” (2005); Kate Lorenz, "Does the Glass Ceiling Still Exist?" (2005)R JAN 12 Working with E-mail Attachments
• be sure that you have access to a working e-mail account
• You will be subscribed to an e-mail listserv in this course, and you will occasionally receive e-mail messages from others in class. Use an account that you want to use for this course (preferably your EIU account, but another is okay) to send an e-mail message to Dr. Engles (firstname.lastname@example.org)—the deadline for this assignment is 5 p.m., Friday, January 13.
• In your message, 1) state which course you are in (English 3001); 2) describe yourself in whatever way you choose, including your career aspirations; 3) write a statement to the effect that you have read and agree with the above course policies and procedures; and 4) be sure that, as with all e-mail messages, you “sign” it by adding your name at the end.
• Before class, write one or two double-spaced pages making any thoughtful connections you can between your probable or potential future workplace and any points raised in either or both of the two articles we read during class on Tuesday; then send this document to yourself as an attachment over e-mail. If you don’t use Microsoft Word, send it to yourself in rich text format (so that the file name ends in “rtf”)F JAN 13 Send the introductory message described above to Dr. Engles by 5:00 today
Week Two (Discussion Room, Coleman 3130)
T JAN 17 Gender in the Workplace
• Reading for today—“Language, Sex, and Power: Women and Men in the Workplace,” An interview with author Deborah Tannen by Richard Koonce (1997) (sent to your email account as an attachment—print out, read carefully, underline important or confusing sentences or ideas, and bring to class)R JAN 19 Course Packet Reading and Discussion: Gendered Professional Dress Codes
• Before class read the first half of Kirsten Dellinger, “Wearing Gender and Sexuality ‘On Your Sleeve’” (2002), then bring it to class, along with two written questions that you have about anything in the article (questions will be turned in to Dr. Engles)Week Three (Computer Room, Coleman 3120)
T JAN 24 Read second half of “Wearing Gender and Sexuality ‘On Your Sleeve’” and bring a typed, double-spaced, one- to two-page description of any points made in this article that have relevance to your future workplace
R JAN 26 Begin in-class film screening: In the Company of Men, written and directed by Neil LaBute (1997)
Week Four (Discussion Room, Coleman 3130)
T JAN 31 Continue screening of In the Company of Men
R FEB 2 Discussion of depictions of gender in the workplace In the Company of Men
• Bring to class a two-page, typed explanation of connections you see between this film and points raised in any one or two of the articles we have read this semesterWeek Five (Computer Room)
• discussion of topics for Paper One
T FEB 7 Open Writing Workshop: Work on Essay One in class
• send yourself a rough draft of Paper One as an email attachment so that you can work on it in class; if you wrote it with something other than Word, convert it first to rtf (rich text format)R FEB 9 Peer Review Workshop
• before class, read Blair Handbook, “Paragraphs,” 332-42Week Six (Discussion Room)
• before class, send yourself the latest rough draft of your own Paper One, in either Word or rtf format
• peer review pairings: to be announced
• send Peer Review One as e-mail attachment to both your partner and Dr. Engles by the end of class, or, if you can’t finish that quickly, by 7 p.m. tonight
T FEB 14 Getting to Know (or Reacquainting Yourself with) the Blair Handbook
• writing assignment: flip through the Blair Handbook and familiarize yourself with its contents; then write a one-page explanation of why you will probably find any two particular sections or chapters of this book useful this semester for improving your writing; what advice do these sections offer? What have you done in the past to work on the problems described in these sections?R FEB 16 Passive Voice Workshop
• bring to class your writing and your copy of the Blair Handbook
• BLAIR reading before class: “Selecting Active or Passive Voice,” 395-400; also, find some sentences, in this reading or elsewhere, and practice switching them from passive to active voice, or vice versa, in your headF FEB 17 Deadline for sending final draft of Paper One as an e-mail attachment to Dr. Engles (email@example.com) : 5 p.m. today
Week Seven (Computer Room)
T FEB 21 Race Matters in the Professional Workplace
• Bring to class, on Tuesday OR Thursday, a one-paragraph abstract of either one of our next two readingsR FEB 23 Continue Working while Black, Chapter 4
• Reading for today: Michelle T. Johnson, Working while Black (2004), read the Introduction and Chapter One
Week Eight (Discussion Room)
T FEB 28 Course Packet: Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies” (1988); bring to class and turn in one written question in response to it (a question that you yourself are wondering about, regarding anything at all in the article)
R MAR 2 Course Packet: bell hooks, “Confronting Class in the Classroom” (1994); bring to class and turn in one written question in response to it (a question that you yourself are wondering about, regarding anything at all in the article)
Week Nine (Computer Room)
T MAR 7 hooks, Where We Stand, Preface, Introduction, and Chapter Two
R MAR 9 hooks, Where We Stand, Chapters Three and Four
F MAR 10 deadline for W for course withdrawal
MARCH 13 — MARCH 17 SPRING BREAK!
Week Ten (Discussion Room)
T MAR 21 Grammar Workshop: Five Simple Rules for Achieving Comma Glory
R MAR 23 Discussion of Final Research Project, including Research Proposal
Week Eleven (Computer Room & Booth Library)
T MAR 28 Peer Review Workshop
• before class, send yourself a rough draft of your own Paper Two, in either Word or rtf formatR MAR 30 Booth Library Technology Workshop: Using Online Research Sources
• peer review pairings: to be announced
• send Peer Review as e-mail attachment to both your partner and Dr. Engles by the end of class, or, if you can’t finish that quickly, by 7 p.m. tonight
• read before class in the Blair Handbook, Section 15b, “Evaluating Electronic Resources,” and Chapter 16, “Sources”F APR 1 5 p.m. – deadline for sending Dr. Engles your final draft of Paper Two
• bring your Blair Handbook to class
• Special Guest: Karen Whisler, EIU Librarian; instead of going to Coleman Hall, go to the Booth Library Computer Classroom, on the Fourth floor
T APR 4 NO CLASS: Conferences on Research Project Proposals
• bring to your conference two printed copies of your Research Project ProposalR APR 6 NO CLASS: Conferences on Research Project Proposals
Week Thirteen (Computer Room)
T APR 11 Writing Workshop: Topic TBA
R APR 13 Writing Workshop: Topic TBA
Week Fourteen (Discussion Room)
T APR 18 Writing Workshop: Revising and Editing, Revising versus Editing
• Reading and Writing Assignment: Before class, go to the Plain English Network (http://plainlanguage.gov) and familiarize yourself with the site by clicking around and finding out what's there; then find their "major guidance document--WRITING USER-FRIENDLY DOCUMENTS," and peruse the online version (you can also print out a printable version). Find two sections of this guidance document containing advice that you think will be helpful toward editing your report; write down the titles of these two areas, and be able to tell the class why you found the advice they offer useful.R APR 20 NO CLASS—Conferences on Final Report
T APR 25 NO CLASS—Conferences on Final Report
R APR 27 Last day of classes (no final exam): Meet in the Computer Room for Final Instructions, tearful, heartfelt good byes, etc.
• due date for the Final Draft of your Final Report—must be sent to Dr. Engles by 5:00 p.m. today