Profiles in Pedagogy: Shailen Mishra

Hello, again! After a stressful spring semester and as we collectively prepare for a precarious fall term, it seems like a perfect time for the second installment of the Composition Program’s new interview series Profiles in Pedagogy. This time, we talk with Shailen Mishra, a Postdoctoral Researcher with a background in creative writing. He speaks to the ongoing challenges that we face as instructors in negotiating the restraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The activist fervor undergirding his pedagogy likewise helps us consider strategies for promoting social justice and anti-racism in our sections of  ENGL110, an objective made ever more imperative by the recent police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Ahmaud Arbery in Atlanta, among far too many others. Put simply, Shailen’s insights prove timely and urgent.

Shailen’s emphasis on transparency in the classroom deserves special emphasis as well. As we continually endeavor to adapt our courses to online platforms while still meeting individual students’ needs, he reveals that leveling with students over our choices becomes a necessary and usefully demystifying approach. This interview will hopefully prove both pedagogically inspiring and generative as we persevere and begin the fall semester in a few short months.

Brett Seekford, Assistant Director of Composition: I want to begin by asking how you have managed this sudden shift to online instruction in your sections of ENGL110 since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. I know it’s been difficult for all of us. What have been some of the challenges and successes you’ve encountered?

Shailen Mishra: The transition was definitely a time of uncertainty. I wasn’t worried about the technology; rather I was worried about convincing the students that we can make it work. Having taught an online course before, I know that the learning expectations operate very differently between face-to-face and online modes. Students in face-to-face mode are heavily dependent on the physical presence of the teacher to vet and validate their learning. It’s funny how much we complain that our students don’t want to be there in the classroom because of how distracted or disinterested they can be at times. But if the pandemic has taught us teachers and our students anything it’s that we’re deeply attached to the physical space of the classroom, and when removed from that structure it’s hard for us to find emotional connection to our respective roles.

At the onset of the transition, I stayed in touch with my students, assuring them that whatever changes I made to the syllabus or teaching mode would not lead to additional stress. I had to show empathy and care right away. I started a discussion session in Canvas, inviting students to share their concerns, fears, and frustrations. I read the posts and responded to each one of them. A few common concerns emerged, which informed the changes I needed to make. First of all, students were worried about the new apps or programs they might be expected to learn. I decided not to add any new digital tools other than the ones students are already familiar with. Second, students were concerned that they might miss deadlines, so I ensured that I sent timely email reminders for all minor and major assignments. Third, they were worried that the lack of regular connectivity would mean that they would fall behind in the coursework or feel isolated. Since I didn’t think synchronous teaching via Zoom would work for my course, I opted for a low-key alternative. Once a week on scheduled class time I required students to sign into the “Chat” space in Canvas for 15 minutes. The tool is text-based and bare bones, so the technology wasn’t overwhelming for the students. I used the meeting for weekly check-ins in the hope that it would give students the sense of community and structure that they were looking for. Fourth, students were worried that learning would be shortchanged. I ensured that we held regular online discussions on assigned reading; I tried my best to keep myself visible in those discussions. I used videos to introduce assignments and discuss key points on critical readings. I also sent regular reminders of my availability for the conference and some students did take up the offer to discuss any challenges they were facing. Ultimately, the effort was to ensure that my “presence” in the course wasn’t lost. Fifth, students were worried about the workload since we lost an additional week due to the campus closure. I dropped a minor writing project altogether to make the workload manageable. These measures were small, but I hope they added up to help students get the most out of the course, considering the unprecedented circumstances. Through this process, I learned how to make my online pedagogy more focused and student-oriented.

BS: Generally speaking, what is your ENGL110 class like?

SM: I would like to answer this question in terms of what’s most valuable to me as a teacher. I emphasize class discussion. On the first or second day of the semester, I share with students a few short articles on the benefits of discussion-based learning and why for a writing course, we—the students and the teacher—are best served by not just one person speaking or lecturing. I tell students that I need their help to make learning happen. And I sincerely mean that. Most of the time I walk into the classroom with a few points of my own to discuss on an assigned reading. Past that I’m clueless. But, you know, it’s the students whose ideas, opinions, and questions extend my thinking, and as I connect dots I arrive at something new each time, even though I have taught that article/essay before or even an hour earlier in another section.

To help students participate I transfer some of the decision-making power to the students. At the start of the semester, students determine different discussion models that we should try, and we cycle through a few of them until we land on a model that works the best for a particular class. I also give students alternate options to share their thoughts if they’re introverted learners and they don’t feel comfortable enough to speak up, especially when they’re getting to know their classmates and teacher. I try my best to create a supportive environment during class discussion through encouragement and affirmation. The fact that I learn each student’s name by the end of the first or second week allows me to use their names when praising someone and synthesizing individual ideas. I believe these small gestures help to build a learning community. I do push the envelope, though, when it comes to shy students. Past Week 5 or 6, I start to call students out if I see them not participating enough, and I contextualize whatever they offer within the broader argument so as to underscore that their views are valid and useful. My hope is that at the end of the course, if someone were to ask one of my students what you did in ENGL110, their response should be “we discussed a lot.” I’ll take that response.

BS: Can you talk a bit more about negotiating different discussion formats for different classes? That sounds so valuable but challenging. How do you broach it?

SM: The only challenging part is not having complete control over how the class discussion will unfold, which is not a bad thing. That said, there’s an overarching discussion structure which remains common to each class. We move through an assigned reading in a sequential manner (starting with the title to conclusion), which gives a sense of structure and predictability a class needs against a dynamic discussion format. If a class prefers small group discussion before regrouping for class-wide discussion, I assign each group a section or a set of paragraphs to closely analyze and discuss among themselves. That way we move sequentially, from one group to the next, with each group presenting their questions and thoughts to the rest of us, thus generating a class-wide discussion. Another popular discussion format involves sitting in a big circle when the space allows, and we raise hands (including me) to speak and each speaker calls on the next person. We make our way forward with me playing the role of a participant as well as a moderator. It’s a difficult but exciting discussion format. But if we do it enough the class gets the hang of it. One more discussion format that I’ve tested to some success is choosing two discussion leaders among students to lead and moderate the class discussion. This is totally a hands-off approach from a teacher’s stand point, and once again, it works better with a few repetitions and persistence. No matter the discussion format we as a class choose, it should provide ample opportunity for all 22 students to participate at least once during the class period. On days when I know that I failed to create such space, all students get full participation points. Transparency in the grading process and timely sharing of participation points are key to the success of any discussion format. Otherwise, switching between discussion formats can cause needless stress for students. For insight into how the grading process works, I followed this participation criteria file for one class from Spring 2020. The ideas and suggestions are put together after discussion with students in the first week of the semester.

BS: Is there any specific focus to your course? What are some of your major assignments?

SM: The last two semesters (Fall 2019 and Spring 2020) I made myths of creativity and creative protest the thematic focus of ENGL110. In the first half of the course, we talk about different myths surrounding creativity, and for the second half we pivot to the theme of “creativity” in mass movements. I encourage students to interpret “creativity” as “strategic” in the case of protest movements. By this, I mean the thoughtful and purposeful strategies that are employed by the leaders, organizers, or activists to unsettle the status quo, expose injustices, spread awareness, coalesce a mass movement, and hold the power structure accountable.

I used to do three major writing projects, but I have reduced the number to two, mainly because I realized that three major projects force me to rush and gloss over important learning activities. I find the pace of the two writing projects more manageable. Of course, each writing project is divided into multiple components: topic idea presentation, genre analysis, preliminary research, first 400 words, rough draft, peer feedback, revision goals, and final draft. I know the list probably sounds daunting, but it’s a lot more organic and ensures that students are developing their work steadily and incrementally and purposefully. The first major writing project is a popular science essay (~2000 words) that focuses on “busting” a myth of the student’s choosing. In one of the latest iterations of this project, I encouraged students to publish their work on Medium (the blogging platform) which led to interesting results. A few students’ works got picked up by Medium’s internal publication team and got included in their collection, which means anyone on the Internet can now read these pieces, and this helped students find that larger audience which we writing teachers secretly wish for our students. The second major project is an argumentative essay, which allows students to pick a genre such as an academic research essay, podcast, or video essay. The focus for this project is creative resistance or activism. I also do one or two minor writing projects, which are often closely related to the major projects. For example, I use a genre called Twitter Essay as a minor writing project, which serves as a “brainstorming” draft for the second major project.

BS: What is your favorite part of each semester in your class? Why does this moment spark so much passion on your end?

SM: There are two activities, actually, that I find very rewarding. The first one is the student conference, which allows me to discuss students’ rough drafts with them, give them feedback, and put together a plan for revision for the final draft. I really like the conversation part of it, the personalized attention that I can give to a student’s writing, getting to learn the student’s vision of his or her work, and putting together a plan for revision via collaboration. I also use the first two to three minutes of the conference to check in with the students about how things are going. It’s small talk but it’s genuine. I always enjoyed these informal interactions way more than my formal interaction with students in the classroom. Not until I came across our very own Deborah Bieler’s book The Power of Teacher Talk did I realize the power of such small talk and how transformative it can be for the teacher-student dynamic. I’m now very mindful of how I interact with students and how to make those moments meaningful and empowering for me as well as my students. Frankly, it’s these moments of personal connection that make conferencing sustainable, because many teachers (including me) find the process very draining. Yet, we don’t walk away from it. Why? At least for me, conferencing is that rare opportunity to develop an emotional connection with the writing because of the writer’s physical presence.

The second activity that’s rewarding to me is what I call the Learning Progress Report (LPR). To make ENGL110 more individualized, I ask students to set two to three writing goals at the start of the semester. They’re allowed to revise these goals over the course of the semester as they learn more about themselves as writers. They write these goals in a personal Google Doc shared between the student and me. Over the course of the semester, students add their thoughts, insights, or reflections to this Google Doc. It’s very similar to journaling but more sporadic. At the end of the course, I ask students to write a “report” assessing their growth as a writer and if they’ve found answers to their writing goals. And more importantly, how prepared are they to face the writing challenges in their respective discipline? Despite the debate that exists on the usefulness of the reflection genre, I find this exercise to be a productive way to develop metacognition and keep students focused about their learning in the course. It can also act as evidence of the learning activities that students enjoyed the most and the ones that didn’t work.

BS: How do you use outside readings in your classes? What do they help you and the students do?

SM: The course readings come in various “shapes” and “sizes.” For example, I’ve been assigning the book The Myths of Creativity by David Burkus for the last two semesters, which gives students an immersive experience in the popular science genre. We also take a look at popular science writing that appears in other venues, such as popular magazines or open access platforms. As a class, we try to engage with the manifestation of the genre in a variety of contexts so that broader awareness can be built on audience and “setting” of the genre which determine other generic conventions such as rhetorical appeals, structure, diction, and format.

For any assigned reading, the analysis develops in two interrelated strands. The first pertains to the development of genre awareness so that the students are not reading to complete just one writing assignment; rather they’re developing meta-rhetorical awareness which can be transferred to future and unfamiliar writing situations. The second strand of analysis is focused on the argument of the article, its clarity, its nuance, its placement, etc. We also pay significant attention to structure, rhetorical strategies, depth of analysis, and the quality of research. I prefer a more sequential and systematic approach to analyzing a text, so we start with the first line of the assigned reading and graduate to the first paragraph to second to next to the conclusion. It’s a time-consuming process and often we run out of time, but I find this process to be very satisfactory and fruitful. Also, to orient students’ thinking and get them brainstorming for class discussion, I ask students to respond to a discussion prompt in Canvas before class time. This earns them a portion of their participation points. We also listen to podcasts and watch video essays, especially in the context of the argumentative essay project.

BS: How would you describe your teaching philosophy? How do you bring that to your ENGL110 classes?

SM: Frankly, it took me a long time to figure out my pedagogical philosophy. I believe after years of head-scratching, I’ve found something that I can commit myself to. I believe in “dialogic thinking” or “dialogic education” when it comes to my teaching. The Bakhtinian notion of dialogism has played an influential role in the evolution of this educational theory. Rupert Wegerif, a scholar and educational theorist, explains dialogic teaching thusly: “what we think we know now is always provisional, contextual, multiply voiced and open to new understandings which you, the student, might be responsible for in the future.” There are a couple of keywords here that I take to heart: “provisional” and “multiply voiced.” Dialogic thinking challenges the notion that teaching is a one-directional transfer of knowledge from teacher to student. Similar to Bakthtin’s theorization that dialogue is dynamic and relational, learning too needs both student and teacher, bouncing ideas off each other in order to make meaning and co-create knowledge, which is “provisional” at its best and open to revision. Hence, the emphasis in my course on class discussion.

So, what does dialogic education look like in the context of teaching writing? The in-person feedback (student conference) is a case in point. I read the student’s rough draft prior to the conference, and I’m aware that the student’s work needs revision but remain unclear what direction it should take. The missing link is the student’s participation—his or her voice and his or her own vision—which finds space during the conference through Q&A and exchange of ideas. Yet, again, the “plan” is provisional, since students know that they have the option to deviate from the plan when they’re revising. As their research and writing move forward, the dynamic nature of these processes often compel students to deviate from the charted course. Even after submitting the final draft students know that the work is not done. Just because the student did well in a particular genre in my course does not guarantee that the student is ready to get the same genre right in a future context. This is where the discussion on genre awareness comes in handy. The change of context reminds the student that past knowledge cannot be simply transmitted to a new context. Instead, it has to be created anew in dialogue with different participants involved.

BS: Finally, I’m curious what it is that you as an instructor have gotten out of ENGL110. How has this class specifically helped you grow as a teacher?

SM: I’ve gotten a lot out of teaching the first-year writing course. In fact, I would primarily credit it with my growth as a teacher. My primary area of expertise is Creative Writing, but I’m challenged much more as a teacher in first-year writing courses, which bring in a diverse range of students with different degrees of interest and proficiency in writing. And the fact that the course is mandatory complicates the matter further. I had to figure out how to make the course relevant for each student. That’s a mind-boggling challenge, frankly, and my conversations with my colleagues over the years have clarified for me that many of us struggle with this task. But when you think about it, shouldn’t that be the challenge for each and every course that we teach? It is, in fact. Only in the case of a course like ENGL110, the challenge is multiplied. ENGL110 prompted me to question aggressively the relevance of my pedagogy. What can I do more? Why am I asking my students to do a particular activity? More importantly, how can I engage them further? The last question is crucial. It pushed me to be more open-minded and to try new learning activities. Something like the Learning Progress Report and Twitter Essay, which I have mentioned earlier, are the direct result of my effort to broaden the reach of the course to accommodate a range of topic interests and writing skills. A student recently thanked me for always giving a rationale for why we’re doing certain learning activities and assignments. That’s very encouraging to me. It tells me that I’m succeeding to some extent to make the course relevant and meaningful for my students.


Profiles in Pedagogy: Andy Ross

Welcome to the first installment of Profiles in Pedagogy! The Composition Program has started this initiative to highlight the pedagogical brilliance that is present in ENGL110 classrooms across campus but that often remains acknowledged only by our students and administrators. By conducting interviews with a range of faculty teaching ENGL110 in the English Department at the University of Delaware, we hope you come to appreciate the diverse approaches that your colleagues are bringing to this course and adopt any strategies, assignments, or themes that you believe would prove effective in your class. More than anything, Profiles in Pedagogy aims to ignite and encourage ongoing interdepartmental conversations about the teaching of ENGL110.

With the plan being to post several entries each semester in the months and years ahead, these interviews will ideally inspire you to continue revisiting your pedagogy to meet the unique challenges of first-year composition. Moreover, we highly recommend reaching out to featured faculty with questions about their class, a means of dialogue that will establish a sense of community and represent merely a starting point in a conversation already in progress. Due to technical difficulties, the first few installments will be written interviews, but the long-term goal is to record videos to be posted to the site. Stay tuned for future updates. And who knows? You could be the next person asked to take part in this exciting project!

Below the fold, you can find our first interview with Andy Ross, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow who regularly teaches ENGL110. We think his insights perfectly embody the spirit of Profiles in Pedagogy and have much to offer instructors with varying levels of experience. As we prepare to enter the spring semester, whether as new or longtime teachers, Andy will surely give you more to consider in designing your course. We hope you enjoy!


Brett Seekford, Assistant Director of Composition: How long have you taught ENGL110?

Andy Ross: I’ve taught ENGL110 at UD for three years now, but have designed and taught first-year writing courses for about ten years (at three different universities).

BS: What is your ENGL110 class like? Is there any specific focus?

AR: I teach place-based first-year writing courses that encourage students to write about their own personal geographies and the ethical commitments that come along with them. I’ve also taught courses themed around climate change/the Anthropocene, and “the attention economy.”

My course is designed to introduce students to what I see as the real work of writing (particularly academic writing) by offering a structure in which students can work together as peers and practice writing not in isolation but with other texts, writers, and readers in mind. An average ENGL110 class meeting might look like this: we begin with a brief student presentation in which they share some of their views and experiences with a writing approach/principle (sometimes it’s a “bad idea” about writing that they want to counteract). After the presenting student facilitates some conversation about this topic, we might move into a group or individual activity in which students practice a skill they’ve encountered in the assigned reading for that day and which they’ll further develop in whatever larger writing assignment they are working on. I am a big fan of peer workshop and review work, so quite often class periods will involve an opportunity for students to practice giving and receiving feedback from each other (a skill that I think ENGL110 is especially good for teaching).

BS: Can you talk a bit more about the importance placed on “place” in your class? Why do you emphasize this concept? And what do you think it helps students achieve as thinkers?

AR: I like using the concept of place in an ENGL110 class for lots of reasons—some of them theoretical, and some more practical. First-year students are typically navigating a moment of displacement—they have often just left home, and are working through figuring out their place on campus, in their social circle, etc. They’re also thinking about home plenty, and it seems like often times they start to look at the places they come from (and the issues those places represent or confront) in a new way. So an invitation to think about the role of rhetoric as it relates to places, or an invitation to explore a new place through research and writing sparks something in students. On the more practical side, I find that the concept of place offers a way of focusing research and steering projects toward breaking some new ground. In other words, because I typically make an emphasis or connection to a specific place a requirement of students’ research papers, it means that if they opt to write about a “hot-button” topic, they have to focus it in a specific place, thus raising the possibility of more nuanced and interesting research questions. A paper about social media becomes an investigation of “regional emoji dialects”; a paper about gun control becomes a rhetorical analysis of “campus carry” laws; a paper about concussions becomes a proposal for improved physical education in rural primary schools, etc.

BS: You mention papers designed to realize this framework. What are some of your major assignments? Do you have a favorite?

AR: I want students to learn and practice analysis as well as argument, so the semester typically begins with a rhetorical analysis assignment—often having to do with rhetoric “in place”—and then moves into a series of linked assignments around place-based research (in which students expand and revise a project around a research question they develop themselves).

Two favorite assignments come to mind, both of which have to do with audience awareness: the first is a project in which students work in groups to meet with leaders of campus units like transportation, food, residence life, etc., and discuss their department’s sustainability initiatives. Then, the students write proposals in which they outline ways that such “green” initiatives might be more effectively communicated to undergrads. This requires thinking about both how to communicate sustainability to their peers, and how to write to an audience of campus leadership.

The second favorite assignment is quite different, in that it’s multimodal. At the end of the semester I often ask students to build on their place-based research by designing a commemorative space or monument. Students produce a series of visuals (and along the way learn some principles of design and visual communication) and then justify that space in writing, as though it was part of a design competition. These “speculative” spaces give students the chance to think about how to write in a persuasive, immersive way, and also about the relationship of written rhetoric and how individuals experience public space, community, justice, and memory. Many of the designs that students develop blow me away with their creativity and sensitivity to location, access, and history.

BS: How would you describe your teaching philosophy? How do you bring that to your ENGL110 classes?

AR: One of the best things I can do as a teacher is to try to shift students’ view of writing as a series of rules to an experience more akin to an on-going conversation; I help students see themselves as writers who are producing knowledge, not just consuming it. Even though some of them might consider themselves novice writers, my philosophy is to emphasize the contribution all writers can make as they respond to other texts/writers and write with a specific audience in mind.

One of my favorite “conversations” to have students participate in is about what it means to live and learn “in place” and how our sense of place develops. I’ve found that when students have something of a personal connection to the work that their doing, or when they can recognize their own interests in their assignments, their confidence as writers grows. So I encourage students to find a conversation that they are interested in and then to research and write in a way that allows them to articulate the value of what they are bringing to that dialogue.

BS: What role does the library play in your class? Can you talk about the importance of the librarians and their resources for your students?

AR: I can’t imagine teaching ENGL110 without the help of the library! In addition to welcoming my students for instruction on research methods or joining our class for a session about information literacy, I have had many students tell me about how helpful it is to meet with a research librarian. One fabulous resource that I have used in my courses are the information literacy activities for ENGL110 classes that a team of UD librarians recently developed. These activities are easily adaptable, and work well at various stages of the research and writing process. I’m always impressed by how much librarians are willing to adapt their instruction to match my goals for the class and to be as individually useful to students as possible.

BS: I’m always curious about our growth as teachers. What is it that you as an instructor have gotten out of ENGL110? How has it helped you grow as a teacher?

AR: For one thing, I think I’m a stronger writer because of the work that I do as a teacher. About mid-way through most semesters, I tell my students about my commitment to write every day. Then, usually at the start of class, someone will pipe up to keep me accountable or ask how my writing is going (sometimes I think they do it to see me fidget uncomfortably when I haven’t gotten to it). I do the same with them and we start to support each other in our progress as writers. Teaching ENGL110 has helped me develop ways to anticipate and navigate some of the roadblocks that tend to pop up when writing, and to genuinely take pleasure when students overcome them. I love when students finish a semester stronger and more confident in their writing and with a clearer sense of what they offer to their discipline or community.

Upcoming Writing Center Workshops

Come one, come all! The Writing Center is sponsoring a new round of workshops for the Fall 2019 semester. These events will cover issues such as citation and revision as well as skills for crafting effective personal statements for graduate school or another line of work. Please encourage your students to come to these workshops, and if you’re struggling to find approaches for teaching source use or revision in your section(s) of ENGL110, we welcome you to attend and hopefully gain some inspiration as instructors. All three workshops will be held in the Morris Library Writing Center at their scheduled time. Hope to see you there!

For details about these workshops, please refer to the listings below, courtesy of Kathleen Lyons, the Assistant Director of the University Writing Center.

Fall 2019 Writing Center Workshops

“Personal Statements That Pop” by Lee C.

Tuesday, November 5th at 5:00

It’s application season, and you know what that means: Time to write a personal statement that packs a punch. Putting yourself out there in the personal statement, whether you’re applying for grad school, an internship, or a job, may seem challenging, but we will help you craft a statement that really shines. In this workshop, we will discuss tone, style, and audience, how to “brag” about yourself, how to write with or without an essay prompt, what to shout about vs what to leave out, and more! Come to this session, and submit your applications with confidence!


“How do I cite this?” by Robert H. 

Thursday, November 14 at 5:00

How do I cite this? Whether you are working with in-text citations or reviewing your Reference List, this is a common question. This workshop will go over why we cite, as well as where you can find resources to make citation easier. Proper citation practice can be tricky, confusing, and time consuming, but it is also very necessary. Attend our workshop to battle those citations together!


“Proofing for Polish” by Dorothy S.

Wednesday, November 20 at 11:00

You’ve done the research; developed your point; written and rearranged until you’re blue in the face. Your paper is almost ready to send off to its fate… Except for one more step: proofreading. Ironically, by the time the average paper reaches the proofreading stage, its beleaguered author has spent so long staring at the big picture that they no longer register any of the tiny, niggling details of grammar and syntax that make for rough reading. This workshop will give you tips and tactics to ensure that you can look with new eyes and buff your paper to a high sheen.

Upcoming CTAL Faculty Roundtable — Nov. 1, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

There is a very exciting opportunity on the horizon for instructors looking to learn more about integrating case studies into their classes, which can lead to new strategies for teaching research skills and may help instructors revamp or fine-tune their multimodal assignments in ENGL110. The Center for Teaching & Assessment will be holding its First Friday Faculty Roundtable in Gore Hall Room 208 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. on November 1, 2019. All of these events are brilliant, but this one sounds particularly compelling.

Mark your calendars now! Complimentary food and drink plus a discussion of pedagogical approaches . . . what more could you want?

See the full e-mail from CTAL Assistant Director Rose Muravchick below to register for the roundtable and learn more about it:

Dear Teaching colleagues,
Case studies are stories built around real problems and situations. You can use case studies to teach in almost any discipline, and they are a great way to help students grapple with the complexity of real-world issues. If you’ve thought about incorporating case studies in your courses, but weren’t sure where and how to start, this roundtable is for you.

Join CTAL on November 1st from 3:30-5:00 in 208 Gore Hall where you’ll get a chance to walk through the decisions involved in adopting case studies in your courses, learn where to find repositories of case studies in your disciplines, and ask questions of colleagues who are already using case studies. Designed with input from faculty in multiple disciplines, this roundtable will offer attendees in any department a chance to integrate case studies into an existing course. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss how to implement case study teaching with their colleagues.

2019-2020 Friday Roundtable Schedule | Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning –

This session highlights University of Delaware faculty and staff from a variety of colleges and the English Language Institute sharing their insights, teaching and advising strategies, and best practices for engaging international students in classes and their academic careers.

This program is open to all who teach at UD, including faculty, graduate students, instructors and staff. After the event, all attendees will receive a letter certifying their participation which may be included in documentation for promotion or tenure.

Registration is requested:


UD Library Workshops

This fall, the University of Delaware Library, Museums, and Press are holding a comprehensive array of exciting workshops to engage the campus regarding topics around citational practices, multimedia resources, and more! If you’re interested in using new digital tools in the ENGL110 classroom or simply want to improve on your existing multimodal assignments, there are various opportunities available to you this semester. And graduate students and scholars working on research will want to keep an eye on workshops geared toward helping us manage our many, many citations.

Check out the full list of workshops below. See you there!

UD workshops

Grading Day!

Please join us for Spring 2019 Grading Day on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 from 9:00AM – 2:00PM in the Dome.

All are invited to attend to work on grading, final projects, or just socialize.

The Composition Program is happy to sponsor this semester-end tradition of food and camaraderie.

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Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies

Call for Proposals: 

Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies

September 26 – 29, 2019
It is a pleasure to announce that the Naylor Workshop on Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies is now accepting proposals for students and mentors for the 6th annual workshop at York College of Pennsylvania. SEPTEMBER 26 -29, 2019.

In its first four years, the workshop has attracted students and mentors from nearly forty states, its participants have gone on to present at various conferences and publish their work, and we have featured leaders in the field’s undergraduate research work as plenary speakers—including Jessie Moore, Joyce Kinkead, Jess Enoch, and Laurie Grobman—and have had many other national experts serving as mentors to participants.

This year, we are thrilled to be welcoming Dr. Jane Greer as our plenary speaker.  Dr. Greer is a former editor of Young Scholars in Writing, and chairs the CCCC Committee on Undergraduate Research.  She is also a wonderful mentor to her students.

The Workshop helps undergraduate researchers in Writing Studies to move their project (which can be at any stage of development) ahead in ways that are richer, more valid, and more theoretically informed.  Attendees participate in mini-workshop sessions to learn a variety of research methods, and work closely with mentors who help them hone their project’s focus.  By the end of the workshop, attendees report, they have a much clearer path forward and a much stronger understanding of our discipline’s work.

We hope you will encourage your students who are engaged with undergraduate research projects in Writing Studies to apply.  Successful applicants also receive free room, food, registration, and funding toward travel.  They need not be writing majors—we have had successful applicants from Writing Centers, from disciplinary courses that focused on discourse analysis, from those engaged in community projects, research on creative writing and publishing, and so on. Like our field’s research, the Naylor Workshop embraces all facets of writing studies.

We also invite faculty to apply to become mentors at the workshop. Past mentors have reported that it is an intensive, exhausting, but fulfilling experience in which they work within an idealized learning space with talented students from across the country. You can join us with students or come on your own. If you have students join you, we will assign them to other mentors for the workshop so that they get multiple perspectives.

Visit the website at for more details.  There, you will find the full Call for Proposals (also attached) and instructions on how to apply as either an undergraduate researcher or a mentor.

Feel free to address any questions to Dominic DelliCarpini, Naylor Endowed Professor of Writing Studies, at

Teaching Research in Undergraduate Education

Teaching our students how to research is essential but often really hard. How can we present research as messy, circular, and iterative without causing our students to freak out and choose the easiest options? How can we help students develop a more holistic understanding of how to move between Google and library search tools? How can we frame research tools and strategies as skills and resources students can carry forward into other disciplines and future courses? These challenges, among many more, apply to teachers in all disciplines and at all levels and they are central questions to the Teaching Research in Undergraduate Education (TRUE) workshop series.

As a collaboration between the English department and the Library, Museums and Press, TRUE is an opportunity to hone your skills, learn new teaching techniques, and connect with an array of professors, postdocs, librarians, adjuncts, and graduate students from across the university.

The five workshops—focusing on how we approach teaching research, narrowing a research topic, search strategies, evaluation of sources, and synthesis of research—will feature guest speakers and interactive activities all geared toward improving our ability to teach research skills to our undergraduate students, skills integral to UD’s General Education Requirements. Attendance will ensure not only a learning opportunity that can be put to use in your courses, but also a great line on your CV, whether you are looking to increase your professional development or make a case for tenure!

There are two options for participation:

1)    Become a member of the cohort! Your duties under this option are to come to at least 4 out of 5 of the workshops in the series and be ready to interact with your peers. Attendance of at least four sessions will result in a certificate of completion from the English department. This would be a great line on your CV under the Professionalization section.

2)    Become a workshop leader! Do you have great ideas and lesson plans on ways to teach research in the undergraduate course? If so, this is a great option for you! Your duties would be to work closely with Allison Tharp and Lauren Wallis to develop an interactive activity for one of the workshop sessions and then to lead that session. This would be a great line on your CV under the Invited Lectures and Professionalization sections. (Note: workshop leaders can also be participants in the rest of the series.)

If this sounds like an opportunity of interest to you, either as an attendee or a presenter, or if you would like more information, please contact Allison Tharp of the English department ( or Lauren Wallis of the Library (

The tentative dates and times for these workshops are as follows: Wednesdays from 2:00-3:30 pm: February 27, March 6, March 13, March 20, March 27. All workshops will take place in Morris Library.


Summer and Winter Teaching

Protocol for Summer and Winter Teaching of ENGL110

Because freshmen are not allowed to take ENGL110 during the summer or winter 5-week sessions, and because the number of upperclassmen who need this required class is shrinking, we do not offer many sections of ENGL110 during these terms. When we do offer these courses, we want to ensure that we give opportunities to as many graduate students and Post-docs as possible.

We will staff these classes by asking for interest from instructors in this order: Full-time faculty, post-docs, graduate students, and then adjuncts. Post-docs and graduate students who have not taught a winter or summer session course will be given preference over those who have done so, with priority given to those who have been at UD the longest.

Because the number of instructors interested in teaching winter and summer sessions exceeds the number of available courses, candidates for these positions need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have taught ENGL110 at UD for at least two regular semesters
  • Have at least 80% participation in their student evaluations