Director’s Letter

CATEGORIES: Foundation Courses
Lesley Erin Bartlett (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)

Like so many other elder millennials who grew up in the US, I consider The Goonies a formative cultural artifact. I grew up with an older brother and older cousins I desperately wanted to imitate and impress, so I watched the movie with them despite how frightening I found several scenes. The Goonies isn’t a Halloween movie, but I associate it with this time of year and with being afraid (Don’t judge! I was a little kid!). Even though I haven’t watched it in ages, I remember that a group of kids goes looking for treasure that they call “rich stuff.” I also remember that they were constantly in peril.

The Goonies has me thinking about looking for treasure in the face of challenges. I don’t know about you, but it can be easy for me to focus my attention on what scares me (Mama Fratelli, anyone?) instead of on the rich stuff that is right in front of me.

Here’s some of my recent rich stuff:

  • Brown Bags. At this month’s brown bag, Jane DuPuis and Kelli Fitzpatrick gave stellar presentations about what they’re doing with their students in the multimodal units in 150 and 250. Last month, Ginnia Kovach demonstrated an excellent interview activity for the profile unit in 150. Participation at the brown bags is lively and generous.
  • ENGL 500. In ENGL 500 this week, Wren Bouwman shared a fantastic introductory activity she designed for her ENGL 150 students to help them generate a range of possibilities for their multimodal remix projects. Wren was also part of a group that included Caitlin Moran, Sam Arthur, and Droste Hennings that led our class in a thoughtful and engaging activity about reflection, revision, and portfolios.
  • ISUComm 150/250 Team. Working closely with Amy Walton (Assistant Director and 500 co-teacher), Brenna Dixon (Learning Communities Coordinator and 500 co-teacher), Deanna Stumbo (admin support), Connor Ferguson (GA), Ellis Deputy (apprentice), Makenzie Van Maanen (apprentice), and Katie Fulton (Online Learning Coordinator) is an enormous privilege. The richest of rich stuff.

What’s your rich stuff in teaching 150, 250, and/or 250H? Would you share some of it with me? Send me an email at with the subject line Rich Stuff. We have one more newsletter and one more brown bag session this semester, and I would love to share some of the treasure from your classes with your colleagues in one or both of those venues.

Goonies never say die,