Director’s Letter

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

Dear all,

As decidedly uncool as it is, I love a good greatest hits album. George Strait’s 50 Number Ones has kept me company on more than one long, solo road trip. A quick search for “greatest hits” in my music library returns mostly 90’s country. This makes sense to me, considering that I listened to Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, Shania Twain, Reba McEntire, Wynonna Judd, and Lorrie Morgan on the radio throughout my adolescence. The radio played the hits, the hits are what I know, and the hits are, for the most part, what I go back to from that time. There may be gold on a Suzy Bogguss B-side from 1992, but I probably won’t find it.

I’m thinking about greatest hits because our final brown bag of the semester is coming up this Wednesday at 1:10 in Ross 212, and I hope that you will come and share some of the greatest hits from your teaching in 150, 250, and 250H this semester. Which activities worked well for you and your students? What might other instructors be able to adapt and use in their own classes? You may remember that we are working on a repository of teaching activities for Foundation Courses. One purpose of this week’s brown bag is to invite you to contribute.

Another purpose of this week’s brown bag is to hear from you about how the program can continue to support your teaching. What is working well? What could be better? The ISUComm Foundation Courses team is currently setting priorities for the coming semester and next academic year, and we want to hear from you about how everything is going from your perspective. Your feedback will inform our next steps.

Unlike my hits-only approach to revisiting 90’s country music, when it comes to our teaching, I think reflecting on our B-sides, deep cuts, and even duds can be instructive. Obviously, not every activity will be a greatest hit. What is something you do in class that is less flashy but serves an important purpose? How do you make meaning out of the activities that seem to be “duds”? Making room for discussion about what isn’t the greatest will help us develop as writing instructors and as a program. I hope you will join us at the brown bag on Wednesday.

All best,