Policy Statement

English 504: Composition Theory

Professor:  Matt King
Email:  mrking@sbu.edu
Phone:  716.375.2457
Office Hours:  Monday 4:00-5:30, Wednesday 2:30-4:00, and by appointment
Office Location:  Plassmann D6
Class Website:  https://mattrking.com/courses/e504/

Class Text: Joseph Harris, A Teaching Subject (other readings available online)

Department Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the graduate English program at St. Bonaventure University, graduates will be able to:

  • contribute original arguments to the field of English and American literary studies;
  • critique the history and relevance of critical theory in literature studies;
  • apply bibliography and research methods commensurate with the expectations of academics in the profession of higher education;
  • demonstrate critical reading and writing skills commensurate with the expectations of academics in the profession of higher education.

Course Description
A study of the theory and practice of teaching composition at the collegiate level. Topics considered will include the historical, cultural, and political contexts of multiple theories of pedagogy covered, as well as applications and assessment of each theory. In addition to the theoretical components of the course, class time will be dedicated to practical applications of theory to current pedagogy and curriculum for CLAR 110.

Course Goals

  • Understand the main theoretical foundations of rhetoric and composition and put them into conversation with recent developments in the field;
  • Develop fluency with vocabularies and conceptual foundations for analyzing and designing various approaches to composition pedagogy;
  • Identify a relevant question in conversations on rhetoric and composition and effectively address this question through research, analysis, and argument.

Grading Policy
You will be graded on the following assignments this term:

• Reading Response – 15%
• Assignment Proposal – 15%
• Peer Feedback on RR and AP – 10%
• Research Report – 20%
• Final Paper – 30%
• Participation – 10%

Attendance/Late work.  You should aim not to be absent from class or submit work late. If an emergency or other circumstance prevents you from attending class or submitting work on time, please let me know about the situation as soon as possible. Three or more absences will result in failure of the course.

+/- Grades. Plus and minus grades will be used in awarding final grades for this course. The letter-to-percentage conversion is given below.

Assignment Grades
A+ = 98.5  A = 95   A- = 91.5
B+ = 88.5  B = 85   B- = 81.5
C+ = 78.5  C = 75   C- = 71.5
D+ = 68.5  D = 65   D- = 61.5
F = 55

Semester Average
A = 93-100 A- = 90-93
B+ = 87-90 B = 83-87 B- = 80-83
C+ = 77-80 C = 73-77 C- = 70-73
D+ = 67-70 D = 63-67 D- = 60-63
F = Less than 60

Academic Integrity
Academic dishonesty is inconsistent with the moral character expected of students in a University committed to the spiritual and intellectual growth of the whole person. It also subverts the academic process by distorting all measurements. It is a serious matter and will be dealt with accordingly. A list of unacceptable practices, penalties to be assigned, and procedures to be followed in prosecuting cases of alleged academic dishonesty may be found in the Student Handbook.

Email will serve as an official means of communication for this class. You are therefore required to check the email account you have registered with the university regularly. Please feel free to email me with your questions and concerns.

Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Disability Support Services Office, Doyle Room 26, at 375-2066 as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion. Documentation from this office is required before accommodations can be made.

Title IX
Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources at the Health and Wellness Center or at the Campus Safety Office. For on-campus reporting, see the Title IX Coordinator (Sharon Burke, Director of Human Resources) and Residence Life Staff (RAs, RDs, and other professional staff). The University’s policy and procedures regarding gender-based and sexual misconduct can be found online.

In the event of an emergency, call Campus Safety at 716-375-2525 or contact Nichole Gonzalez, Residential Living and Conduct, 716-375-2572, ngonzale@sbu.edu. Be aware that most university employees are mandated reporters.


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