Vermeer collage with hyperlinks



Syllabus– summer 2005                                                                Engl 4700



short syllabus in printable format



summer 2005

session V, MWF 12-1:30 am, LA 027




office: LA 121 U

office phone: 863-6286

office hours: MWF 1:30-2:30, and by appointment



ENGL 2010 or equivalent.



The following handbook is available at the college bookstore, or can be purchased locally or online:

Perrin, Robert. Handbook for College Research, 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.  ISBN: 0618441336.

The following readings are available either through electronic reserve on the UVSC library web page (see "readings" link), or by clicking on the hyperlink:

Berman, Marshall. "Introduction--Caught up in the Mix: Some Adventures in Marxism." In Adventures in Marxism.  London: Verson, 1999. 1-18.

Denby, David. "Free Choice." New Yorker 30 May 2005: 98-99. <>.

Gawande, Atul. “The Learning Curve.” New Yorker 28 Jan. 2002: 52-61.

Greenberg, Gary. “As Good as Dead.” New Yorker 13 Aug 2001: 36-41.

Krystal, Arthur.  "Carpe Noctem: A Little Night History." New Yorker 30 May 2005: 86-90. <>.

Lu, Min-zhan. “From Silence to Words: Writing as Struggle.” College English 49.4 (April 1987): 437-448.

Miller, Susan. "On Being the Good Enough Teacher: Sex, Authority, and Patronizing Your Local Tabernacle Choir." Cultural Studies Special Issue: Teaching in Conservative Contexts.  Eds. Christa Albrecht-Crane and Philip Gordon.  Forthcoming.  Please click here for article.

Thomas, Lewis. “Notes on Punctuation.”  Language Awareness.  Eds. Paul Escholz, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark.  New York: St. Martins Press, 1994.  492-494.

Sonneman, Toby.  "Dark Mysterious Wanderers: The Migrating Metaphor of the Gypsy." Journal of Popular Culture 32.4 (Spring 1999): 119-139.  Please click here for article.

Vaillant, John.  “The Golden Bough.” New Yorker 4 Nov. 2002: 50-58.



This advanced, interdisciplinary course is designed to prepare seniors and other upper division students in Integrated Studies for their theses and major writing projects in academia as well as the workplace.  Overall, the course strives to refine critical thinking, reading, writing, and argument skills.  According to departmental guidelines, upon completion of this course students should be proficient in the following:

  • Recognize relationships between information and analysis, analysis and evaluation, evaluation and criticism

  • Master critical reading and writing in the student’s specific major

  • Write summaries, annotated bibliographies, research papers

  • Compile extensive reading bibliographies of authoritative works in their major fields of study

  • Master documentation styles for their fields

  • Formulate specific solutions to specific problems

  • Understand techniques used in field research

  • Write and revise collaboratively

  • Master editing and proofing in standard English usage

In addition, by the end of the course students will have identified two UVSC faculty members to serve on their thesis advisory committee.  Students will also present a complete thesis proposal to their committee for approval. 


“The only truth I can write is that of the instant I am living.”

Italo Calvino

“There is only a perspective seeing, only a perspective ‘knowing’; and the more affects we allow to speak about one thing, the more eyes, different eyes, we can use to observe one thing, the more complete will our ‘concept’ of this thing, our ‘objectivity,’ be.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

I view this class as exercising and becoming aware of what Calvino and Nietzsche express above.  On the one hand, writing (and understanding, and expression in general) can only come about as the result of one’s experience and momentary being in a certain culture, a certain time, and a certain place.  On the other hand, given this “perspective seeing,” as Nietzsche put it, for us to better accommodate complexity and allow things to unfold in any sort of “objective” way, we ought to allow a multitude of perspectives and viewpoints to be heard and acknowledged.  Since we are bound to see things from our point of view, it is a good idea to take up as many points of view as possible.  We might never fully understand an issue, a problem, a person, but at least we can listen to different perspectives about that issue, problem, or person. 

I believe that such a spirit of open-mindedness and inquisitiveness informs good academic writing, and simply good writing in general.  To this effect, the class stresses building argument by considering multiple perspectives.  Further, building on skills introduced in lower-division writing courses, Engl 4700 encourages and strengthens thoughtful and in-depth writing in a range of rhetorical modes and to a range of audiences.  In order to become better writers, the course also emphasizes critical thinking skills by drafting, discussing, and revising essays and assessing the strengths and problems in essays written by both peers and published writers.  Moreover, in this class we will pay particular attention to writing with sources, which includes creating annotated bibliographies, using an appropriate citation method, and employing library and on-line sources for research. 



Small group activities and class discussion will be emphasized.  Research shows that what occurs during class is an important part of the learning process so your attendance is necessary.  If you miss class, talk to a classmate or two and get their notes, then talk to me if you have specific questions about what we covered.  Excessive absences (more than three) will lower your grade.  Missing more than five classes will result in your failure of the class.   Attendance will be taken at the start of every class period, and late arrivals and early departures will count against you. 


Our class sessions will be structured almost exclusively around discussions.  It will be more enjoyable for all of us (and you’ll do better) if you (1) attend class regularly, (2) do the required reading, and (3) be prepared to discuss what we’ve read.  

In this course you are expected to be an active learner and to take responsibility for your work.  You should contribute meaningfully to our discussions on a daily basis.   Your participation will be affected if you miss class.  Consider that a good participation grade reflects consistent active participation throughout the semester.  “Heaping up” participation efforts one week in order to make up for low participation at other times will not help your overall score.  In order to encourage as much participation from as many students as possible, I will make every effort to insure that as many people as possible get to be heard during our class discussions. 

Please be advised that this component of the course is quite important and that I take it very seriously.  I strongly discourage “fluff” contributions and disruptions.  I reserve the right to penalize students who, in my judgment, make repeated and obvious efforts to undermine quality discussion and/or to bolster their participation score with irrelevant comments. 

Required Writing:

A.  Reading responses:

These responses (300-400 words) serve as a medium to synthesize, analyze, and wrestle with the articles and essays we will be reading this semester.   Besides briefly summarizing a reading, responses should focus on the rhetorical aspects of an article or essay; in other words, how does the writer achieve his or her goal in the piece by means of language?  And, what are the strengths and weaknesses of these pieces?  We will discuss reading responses in-depth in class.

B.  Writing assignments:

This course in built around the idea of focus: students spend their writing efforts during the semester thinking and expanding upon an individual, focused research question by thinking critically about that question.  After drafting and narrowing a topic of inquiry early in the semester, all writing assignments explore a variety of angles and approaches to that topic.  These assignment include the following

Narrative (2-3 pages).  In this assignment, students write about their topic from a narrative perspective, exploring through narrative how and why the proposed topic matters to them.  The assignment stresses on the one hand that we make sense of the world through our personal perspective.  On the other hand, this assignment also clarifies both the possibilities as well as the limitations of such perspective seeing.

Integrating Sources (2-3 pages).  In order to encourage more effective integration of source material in their writing, this assignment asks students to work closely with one outside source (article, book, book chapter, published report, etc.) and to incorporate a summary, a paraphrase, and a few quotes into their own writing.  Particular attention will be paid to blending outside material into one’s own writing.  The assignment also requires that students use a discipline-specific documentation style, and that they practice appropriate citation procedures.

Multiple Perspectives (2-3 pages).  This assignment asks students to go beyond a personal perspective on their topic to consider different arguments that acknowledge a range of differing perspectives.  Through ongoing library research, students consider at least three arguments about their topic, using logical reasoning to support each argument.  Encouraging deeper thinking about their research topic, this assignment should invite students to recognize and value the complexity of their topics. 

Annotaded bibliography (at least seven entries).  This assignment focuses on the research component of the thesis project, asking students to continue conducting extensive research and to practice prudent and effective notetaking.  To complete this assignment students read relevant sources with care and compile an annotated list of their research to indicate how individual sources relate to the thesis topic. 

Proposal (5-10 pages). The semester culminates in the preparation of a proposal in which students request permission from their committee members to write their thesis on a declared topic.  The proposal includes a summary of the thesis project, an indication of the argument or thesis, an overview of literature, a preliminary outline, a timeline for completing the project, and a comprehensive bibliography. 

Good writing always involves rethinking and revision, and thus all writing assignments will be generated in a revision process.  A first complete draft will be critiqued by peers and by the instructor in class, followed by turning in a second draft of the assignment to the instructor.  After receiving teacher feedback, students are invited to resubmit the revised assignment.  If the changes are substantial and reflect a serious revision effort, the grade on the assignment will be raised by one full letter grade. 

Note: Although a draft, by definition, is not a finished product, I would like drafts to be as complete and as professional looking as you can make them.  If a draft is complete, if it shows that you have made a serious effort to fulfill the requirement, and if you are in class to participate in the peer review process or to turn it in, you will receive full credit for the assignment. If you miss class on peer review days, or if you fail to bring a draft of the assignment to class for peer review, you cannot receive full credit for that particular assignment.

Class Grading:

If, at the end of this semester, you have earned a C in this class, it means you did what was minimally expected of you: you came to all classes and did all the work.  If you want a B or an A, you must not only come to all the classes and do all the work, but you must do the work with shining effort and attention.

You must complete all class assignments in order to receive a passing grade.

Grading Outline:



Reading responses:


Assignment #1 (narrative) 


Assignment #2 (perspectives) 


Assignment #3 (sources)


Assignment #4 (annotated bib)


Assignment #5 (proposal)


Final Exam 


Grading Standards:

A = 93% and above

C = 73-76%

A- = 90-92%

C- = 70-73%

B+ = 87-89%

D+ = 67-69%

B = 83-86%

D = 63-66%

B- = 80-82% 

D- = 60-62%

C+ = 77-79%

E = below 60%


Writing assignments are due in class at the start of the period on the date indicated on the weekly schedule.  Generally, I do not accept late work unless a student faces a real emergency.  In the event that I accept late work, I reserve the right to reduce its grade in relation to its lateness—with the minimum penalty of one full letter grade.


Course Calendar:

Students are responsible for reading and keeping up with the weekly course calendar.  Please be aware that this schedule is tentative and that it might be changed as we go along.  It is your responsibility to make note of such changes when they are announced in class. 

Additional Writing Help:

You can meet with me after scheduling an appointment or contacting me regarding specific help.  You may email me with questions at any time.  To make sure that I can help you when you need help, contact me as soon as you feel like you need assistance or support.  I also recommend that you consult UVSC’s excellent writing center as you draft and revise your papers.  You can submit papers online (at with a turnaround time of 24 hours, or you can visit the Writing Center (with or without an appointment, depending on available tutors) in LC 227 for one-on-one tutoring help.

English Computerized Classroom Fee:

Every student enrolled in an English course that is scheduled in the computer lab pays a $10 fee to support the cost of computer lab supplies and maintenance of machines and available software.  The fee also helps cover printer toner and paper, and the cost for photocopies. 

Computer Use:

We will take advantage of the technology available to us in this computer classroom.  We will become more comfortable using Microsoft Word, email, bulletin boards, and the Internet as tools to improve our ability to communicate, conduct research, and present information.  Prior computer experience is not required, but a basic knowledge of Microsoft Word is helpful. 

Classroom Etiquette:

Cell phones, beepers, pagers, etc. are to be turned off or set to vibrate silently before you come to class.  Do not use your cell phones for text messaging during class time.  Because we meet in a computer classroom, I insist that during class time students do not check and respond to personal email and/or instant messaging services on the computers.  Class members should treat each other with respect and a productive attitude.

Final Exam:

Students are required to complete a final exam assignment during the scheduled final exam period. Details will follow in class

Students with Disabilities:

If you have any disability impairing your ability to successfully complete this course, please contact the Accessibility Services Department (room BU-145).  Academic Accommodations are granted for all students who have qualified documented disabilities.  Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the Accessibility Services Department.

Academic Dishonesty:

The Statement from the UVSC “Students’ Rights and Responsibilities Code“ reads: “Each student is expected to maintain academic ethics and avoid dishonesty in all its forms, including but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism, and fabrication as defined hereafter.” 

With respect to this particular class plagiarism refers to knowingly copying another person’s work or ideas and calling them one’s own or not giving proper credit or citation.  This covers copying sections or entire papers from printed or electronic sources as well as handing in papers written by students for other classes or purchasing academic papers.  Plagiarism and cheating are not only dishonest but they cheat you out of learning.  You must submit your own work in this course.

The consequences for academic dishonesty are grave.  The penalty for a first offense in an F for the assignment; a second offense means that you fail the course and will be reported to the Department Chair and to Student Advising.  If you have any questions about plagiarism, please talk to me.

This syllabus may be changed to accommodate the needs of the students or the instructor.