There are many innovative programs and features that make Writing & Rhetoric at URI a unique and exciting place to be. Here are a few examples:
Undergraduates in Caroline Gottschalk Druschke's fall 2012 hybrid sections of WRT 104 "Currents, Coastlines, and Quahogs" composed coastal profiles for their first writing project to share their favorite coastal locations with the rest of the world. You can view the interactive Google map "Profiles of Rhode Island's Coast" featuring their profiles here.
Professor Druschke was inspired by Professor Ian Reyes' Soundmap featured on the web site of URI's Department of Communication Studies. She thought that the map would be a good way to visualize, present, and make public the content supplied by students.
The coastal profile asked students to capture in writing a coastal place in Rhode Island that they find interesting, curious, or unusual. They needed to visit the location, take field notes, interview people on site, take photos, and then capture the place in vivid, detailed language. Students took the opportunity to profile the places they love, from the industrial Blackstone River Valley to Newport's popular Cliff Walk to a secluded beach on Conanicut Island.
Enjoy this inside view into Rhode Island's special coastal places.
Contextualizing writing and conveying its real world significance serves as an important goal for the Department of Writing & Rhetoric. Doing so often means moving student writing out of the classroom and increasing its visibility through a public audience. While this can be done by publishing via the web, the Cigar, and other traditional outlets, Professor Heather Johnson focuses on a different kind of publishing: she publishes her students' work by projecting it on the side of the Oliver Watson House.
Built in 1796, the Oliver Watson farmhouse stands as one of the oldest buildings on the URI campus. Johnson assigns the house as the subject for a place-based project that asks her students to capture the house's essence. After conducting field research by visiting and observing the house, students reflect on its meaning, then attempt to condense their impressions into a crafted description of just a few strong sentences. In the most recent showcase, Writing & Rhetoric major, Nick Rutter, wrote: "But among this vaporized labor, a hushed Colonial reverence also breathes gently though the immaculate parlor, the only room period guests of the house would see." Johnson projects these sentences for several nights on the side of the house after dark, with the hope that passerbys will stop to observe the projection loop.
Not only does this project increase the visibility of the students' writing by giving it a public audience, but it also increases the visibility of the house, another of Johnson's goals. In fact, Johnson's students often bring friends to see both their work and the house. "It's very beautiful to think of the white house as a canvas," Johnson said. "When there is writing on the side of it, people are more likely to look at it."
All seniors in the Writing & Rhetoric major complete an electronic portfolio through our capstone course, WRT 495. If you visited Lippitt Hall at 5:30 pm on December 16th, you saw a group of six accomplished and proud Writing & Rhetoric majors presenting their impressive e-portfolios. This class, Peter Collins, Bryan Johnson, Ray Mathieu, Justin Mockler, Kate Stone, and George Whaley, marked the third year for graduating our pioneer Writing & Rhetoric majors. Their professor, Dr. Jeremiah Dyehouse, says of their efforts, "Unlike many student portfolios, which demand only limited decision-making about the ways in which the writings will be presented, these portfolios result from a rich process of decision-making, from the pixel up, as it were. For this reason, among others, I am proud to have played a role in their appearance here today."
The students have revised and polished their e-portfolios since September with an eye toward their future careers. Writing & Rhetoric congratulates its hard-working class of 2009.
Every other spring, URI community members gather in the Writing Center, 4th floor Roosevelt Hall, to look at and listen to the research proposals of graduate students in WRT 647, Seminar in Research Methods.
The class, led by Prof. Mike Pennell of Writing and Rhetoric, spends the semester designing original research projects using a variety of methods, as well as learning the value of mixed methods research and critical methodologies for the study of all types of writing.
Proposal topics have ranged from technology-integrated writing classrooms to links between writing and gender to the connection between video games and writing. Equally varied, the proposed research methods have ranged from qualitative observation, interview, and archival research to more quantitative methods such as surveys.
The poster presentation event began in 1999 under the instruction of Prof. Libby Miles, now chair of Writing and Rhetoric. “A great research design makes sense to different audiences and addresses questions worth answering,” said Prof. Miles, who attended the most recent session. “Each year we do this, the work gets better and better.”
Writing and Rhetoric students are no strangers to a public audience for their writing projects. In addition to its graduate offerings, the department’s several upper level writing classes feature both occasions for and writing technologies that support students’ writing as both community-inspired and community-building.
Has the library seemed particularly bustling lately? Perhaps that's because of the outreach activity of Humanities Reference Librarian Jim Kinnie and his staff. In cooperation with Writing and Rhetoric at URI, the library hosts a research orientation for students in the Early Credit High School Program, which offers Writing 104 to high school seniors at 24 high schools across Rhode Island for early college credit. Since the students write the same assignments and meet the same criteria as students in WRT 104 on campus, they also participate in a library orientation session to acquaint them with academic research and databases.
Program Coordinator Jean Zipke notes the students' enthusiasm and appreciation for the lessons they learn from the library staff. She says of the library visit, "there's nothing as exciting as hearing an entire high school class exclaim 'Wow!' when they see what they can find at the URI library."
The Early Credit High School Program and University Library offers a wealth of sources and information to the students, helping them to shape their projects for class, as well as get a glimpse of what classes will be like when they enter college. Dean Winifred Brownell, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, describes the ECHSP as "an exemplary outreach program for the university." And, of course, a "field trip" to URI is always enjoyable.
Among the hustle and bustle of one of URI's smallest departments - with one of the fastest growing majors and highest enrollments in its first-year course offerings - Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Kim Hensley Owens has begun to coordinate the newly reinstated Friday afternoon "Brown Bags." This series of presentations, talks, and workshops are given by Writing & Rhetoric faculty and have gained in momentum and reputation since last year.
Brown Bags, held on various Fridays at 1pm in Roosevelt Hall's 4th floor Writing Center, have played host to a number of faculty research presentations including those from Prof. Owens, Prof. Michael Pennell, Prof. Jeremiah Dyehouse, and Prof. Libby Miles. More recently, Profs. Nedra Reynolds and Michael Pennell held a teaching-with-technology training to introduce and explain two different types of software to complement writing staff's teaching practices. Professor Hensley Owens welcomes the variety of presentations, saying: "I have thoroughly enjoyed the breadth of presentation-types, which have expanded from the original plans for research and teaching to include professional development. We've also begun to have graduate students practice their job talks as brownbags, providing them with needed practice and feedback, and attendees with up-to-the-minute research findings."
Brown bags are held in the casual atmosphere of the Writing Center and usually draw a crowd of a dozen or so people. Bryna Siegel, the first graduate student to present a portion of her dissertation research at a Brown Bag, notes that â€śit was a great chance for me to practice talking about my work in preparation for the job market and dissertation defense as well as a nice opportunity to discuss what I've been working on with the support and collegiality of my peers and faculty.
Brown Bags have also featured several faculty research presentations, including those from Professors Hensley Owens, Pennell, Dyehouse, Miles, and Shamoon. More recently, Professors Reynolds and Pennell held a teaching-with-technology training to introduce and explain two different types of software to complement writing staffâ€™s teaching practices. Past workshops have included CV-building and CCCC proposal writing. Brown Bags aptly represent the good work that Writing & Rhetoric believes can come from a friendly and collaborative environment.
In 2007, Professor Jeremiah Dyehouse, Director of the URI Writing Center, conceptualized a technology for collaborative writing: two computer monitors and keyboards yoked through a single CPU. Writers sit shoulder-to-shoulder, both able to read and write simultaneously on the same document. From this idea grew the Collaboration Station, a computer installation for collaborative writing and research funded by URI's College of Arts and Sciences. The Collaboration Station, installed in the Writing Center in Fall 2007, has been a hot topic of conversation and writing ever since.
As a component of the Writing Center's three-year plan, Professor Dyehouse and a cohort of Writing Center tutors presented on their research project on tutoring interactions as well as the Collaboration Station's role in the project in both 2007 and 2008. Last spring, they introduced the Collaboration Station at the Northeast Writing Center Association Conference at the University of Vermont. The research project is ongoing, as Professor Dyehouse explains: "The Collaboration Station represents more than a new way to write or conduct tutoring sessions. It will help us, we hope, to think about how teams work together in writing centers." A second iteration, Collaboration Station 2.0, will be installed in the Writing & Rhetoric Production Lab and will be ready for student use by the end of 2009.
Day to day, the Collaboration Station sees use in collaborative writing as well as during tutoring sessions. Students have used it to work on group projects for classes such as WRT 235: Writing in Electronic Environments. Additionally, tutors have found ways to incorporate the technology into tutoring sessions. For instance, former Writing Center tutor Claudine Griggs recently published an article in Praxis: A Writing Center Journal describing her successful experiences using the "cycloptic nerve center" during tutoring sessions, highlighting that: "the technology helped to facilitate a more egalitarian conversation" between tutors and students.
Please visit our announcements page for more details on the following news:
Congratulations to PhD candidate, Tim Amidon, who was recently selected as an Assistant Editor of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy.
Professor Caroline Gottschalk Druschke was selected for a summer research position with the EPA's Atlantic Ecology Division in Narragansett. Caroline will be working with them this summer to study the barriers to and opportunities for restoration in the Woonasquatucket watershed in northern Rhode Island. She looks forward to sharing her experience and findings with the Harrington School Communicating Science Cluster in the fall.
Professor Libby Miles has been selected for a national team of curriculum developers/facilitators for the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). "Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success" is a grant-funded project designed to help over 300 college and university librarians create projects to assess their impact on student learning.
Get to know graduating senior Shauntel Martin.
Get to know Sara Gilman during her junior year.
See more student profiles.
Check out our Event Calendar to see what's happening
New publications by Gavin Hurley, Tim Amidon,Jeremiah Dyehouse, Cathyrn Molloy, Kim Hensely Owens, Mike Pennell, and Joannah Portman Daley!
See a full list of recent Publications by our faculty and graduate students.