To My Students

Welcome to FIQWS 10108 CP4 – The Evolving Relationship Between Humans and Animals.

I am very glad to have the opportunity to teach you this semester. From my point of view, what you will be working on in my class is the most important skill you will take away from college. The more you can put into becoming a better writer now, the more you will get out of writing, not just during your college career, but for the rest of your life.

My focus this semester will be on helping you develop greater clarity, focus, and rhetorical effectiveness in expressing your ideas on an important topic: how should humans view and treat the other animals in their midst? The question I will ask you to consider will be how, as someone with a point of view toward human/non-human interactions, you can use the techniques of rhetoric to help you alter others’ points of view toward other animals. In other words, how can rhetoric help you create change?

First and foremost, this is a course about writing. You will do a lot of writing in this class. Although the subject will be human/animal relationships, the audience for whom I am going to ask you to write will be humans who may or may not think they care much about this topic. How can you make another person care? And how can you make them not only care, but do something?

Because reading–and reading a lot–is the best way to become a better writer, I will ask you to read the articles, book excerpts, and other works assigned in this course from the point of view of a writer. My aim will be to help you discover what works for you in others’ writing so you can incorporate it into your own. An overarching aim of the course will be to help you write about a subject you care about in a way that is meaningful to you, so that writing can become a more central and reliable skill in your life and an expression of yourself.

First Year Composition Mission Statement:
First-year composition courses at CCNY teach writing as a recursive and frequently collaborative process of invention, drafting, and revising. Writing is both personal and social, and students should learn how to write for different purposes and audiences. Since writing is a process of making meaning and communicating, FYC teachers respond mainly to the content of students’ writing as well as to recurring surface errors. Students should expect frequent written and oral responses on the content of their writing from their teachers and peers. Classes rely heavily on a workshop format. Instruction emphasizes the connection between writing, reading, and critical thinking; students should give thoughtful, reasoned responses to the readings. Both reading and writing are the subjects of class discussions and workshops, and students are expected to be active participants in the classroom community. Learning from each other will be a large part of the classroom experience.

Course Learning Outcomes:
Students successfully completing a FIQWS composition course will demonstrate ability to:

  • Explore and analyze in your own and others’ writing a variety of genres and rhetorical situations
  • Develop strategies for reading, drafting, revising, and editing
  • Practice systematic application of citation conventions
  • Recognize and practice key rhetorical terms and strategies when engaged in writing situations
  • Develop and engage in the collaborative and social aspects of writing processes
  • Understand and use print and digital technologies to address a range of audiences
  • Locate research sources (including academic journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles) in the library’s databases or archives and on the internet and evaluate them for credibility, accuracy, timeliness, and bias
  • Compose texts that integrate your own stance and language with appropriate sources, using strategies such as summary, critical analysis, interpretation, synthesis, and argumentation

A Note on Office Hours:
Each person’s needs as a writer are different. So that you have a chance to discuss your work with me individually, and I can figure out how best I can help you as a writer, I require that during the semester you come to at least one of my weekly scheduled on-campus office hours, which take place in my office in NAC 6/332D.. You can sign up for these sessions on the Office Hours Sign-Up Sheet here, or just show up. If you are unable to come during the scheduled hour, please let me know and I will be happy to arrange a more convenient time and place to meet with you. I look forward to chatting with you about your writing and discussing any concerns, questions, or ideas you might have.

Course Requirements and Grading:
This course will require you to prepare, workshop with your classmates, revise, and, sometimes, revise again, four major assignments. Each of these assignments will require a series of shorter writings on your part, culminating in a group project. The semester will be devoted to preparing these four assignments, and it is on these assignments, plus the shorter writings connected with them, and your overall level of participation in the class, that I will base your final grade:

  • Rhetorical Analysis Assignment: 15%
  • Argument Essay (builds into collaborative project): 20%
  • Collaborative project (Public Awareness Campaign): 20%
  • Digital Portfolio and Reflection Essay: 20%
  • Shorter writings, reflections, reading responses: 15%
  • Participation (Attendance, Punctuality, Preparation, In-class Writing):10%

Grading Scale:
A+ 97-100 %
A 93-96 %
A- 90-92 %
B+ 87-89 %
B 83-86 %
B- 80-82 %
C+ 77-79 %
C 73-77 %
C- 70-72 %
D 60-69 %
F < 60 %

Required Text:
This is a Zero Textbook Cost course. There are links to reading assignments that live online, and I have uploaded assigned articles in portable document format (.pdf).