Fall 2017 Graduate Course Descriptions

If you want more information about a course, please contact the faculty member.


ENGL 500.  Teaching Multimodal Composition

Instructor: Barbara Blakely, Barbara Haas, Michelle Tremmel, Amy Walton

Required of all new English Department teaching assistants teaching ISUComm Foundation Courses. Introduction to the teaching of ISUComm Foundation Courses. Foundational and relevant newer composition theory and pedagogical methods related to ISUComm Foundation Courses objectives and their classroom enactment, including development of assignments and supporting activities, and evaluation of student projects.

ENGL 504.  Teaching Advanced Communication

Instructors: Jenny Aune and Jo Mackiewicz

This class is the one you will need if you want to teach in the Advanced Communication program (English 302, 309, 312, and 314). You can take the class concurrent with teaching sections of Advanced Comm courses.
We have revised the course content so that it will also interest those who would like to teach business and technical communication classes in a community college (e.g., RCPC students after graduation) and those who are interested in teaching in industry (i.e., training). We’ll cover curriculum planning, assignment design, responding to student work, assessment of student work, and distance (online) teaching.

ENGL 506.  Professional Communication Theory

Instructor: Jo Mackiewicz

This graduate seminar examines theory and research that informs professional communication. Inherently a multidisciplinary field, professional communication draws on theories from rhetoric of science, psychology, philosophy, and linguistics, and other disciplines. We focus specifically on theories that examine the relationships among the author, the text and the reader and the ways that those theories apply to professional communication.

ENGL/LING 510. Introduction to Computers in Applied Linguistics

Instructor: Volker Hegelheimer

Use of applications software for language teaching, linguistic analysis, and statistical analysis. Issues and problems in applied linguistics related to computer methods. Students will interact with a variety of computer applications and web resources including mobile and social computing applications to a) increase their familiarity with computers in general, b) explore and describe current and potential applications of technology for teaching, testing, administration, & research, c) conduct basic statistical and linguistic analysis of various data, and d) locate, evaluate, create, and implement computer-assisted language learning activities.

ENGL/LING 511. Introduction to Linguistic Analysis

Instructor: Elena Cotos

Introduction to the foundations of human language as a system. Principles and methods of linguistic analysis with emphasis on morphology, phonetics, phonology, syntax, and pragmatics. Description of language variation in different contexts and speech communities. Theoretical and pedagogical approaches to first and second language acquisition.

ENGL/LING 513. Language Assessment Practicum

Instructor: Volker Hegelheimer

Advanced practicum in language assessment. This course is intended for students interested in applying the assessment concepts and skills covered in English 519, Language Assessment. Students work on one multi-faceted assessment project related to the English Placement Test. Instructor permission required.

SP CM 513: Proseminar: Teaching Fundamentals of Public Speaking

Instructor: To be determined

Required of all new SP CM 212 teaching assistants. Introduction to the teaching of public speaking. Support and supervision of teaching assistants of SP CM 212. Discussion of lesson planning, teaching methods, development of speaking assignments, and evaluation of student speaking.

ENGL/LING 525. Research and Teaching Second Language Pronunciation

Instructor: John Levis

ENGL 525 is a graduate-level class that focuses on the teaching of pronunciation and research into L2 pronunciation instruction. Pronunciation is the most neglected (and perhaps the most important) of the three oral skills of listening, speaking, and pronunciation. It has the largest impact on the intelligibility of L2 speech, it is the area that many teachers/researchers miss out on in their graduate training, and it cannot be easily separated from either perception (listening comprehension) or from production (speaking skills and fluency). This class focuses on the research and teaching of L2 pronunciation, with opportunities to examine research into L2 pronunciation and understanding; ways in which pronunciation, listening and speaking interact; and the ways in which this impacts the teaching of pronunciation in materials development and in teaching in a tutorial context.

ENGL 532. American Literature to 1865: The Haunted Wilderness: American Gothic and the Natural World

Instructor: Matthew Wynn Sivils

Emily Dickinson wrote, “Nature is a Haunted House—but Art—a House that tries to be haunted.” With this cultural linkage between the spectral and natural worlds in mind, we will explore a number of early American Gothic texts to better understand the anxieties that haunt this influential facet of environmentally conscious literature. As American Gothic works regularly forgo literal hauntings for more terrestrial terrors, this course will also investigate how these texts portray environments that are not only realms of great beauty and enlightenment but that are also home to madness, violence, and the grotesque.
Readings will include novels, poems, and short fiction by writers such as Charles Brockden Brown, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, and Harriet Prescott Spofford. We will also examine a sampling of later works influenced by those early writers (including clips from some disturbing films). To better inform our discussion and writing about these texts, we will also study a selection of critical essays by Renée Bergland, Charles Crow, Teresa Goddu, Toni Morrison, Eric Savoy, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and others.

ENGL 533. British Literature to 1830: Geoffrey Chaucer CANCELLED

Instructor: Susan Yager

In this course, we will explore several works by one of the earliest and greatest storytellers in English, Geoffrey Chaucer, and we’ll study them in Chaucer’s Middle English. We’ll start by looking at Chaucer’s language in brief lyrics like “To Rosemounde” and “Chaucer’s Complaint to His Purse,” as well as by becoming familiar with some of Chaucer’s principal sources. We’ll then read one of Chaucer’s dream visions, several of the Canterbury Tales, and Chaucer’s great finished work, Troilus and Criseyde. By term’s end, you’ll be able to easily read Chaucer’s poetry, understand its contexts, and bring your critical acumen to bear on interpreting it. Course requirements will include a brief close reading exercise, a book review, annotated bibliography and research paper. Topics that may be explored include feminism and Chaucer; teaching Chaucer; Chaucer the technical writer; performance of Chaucer’s poetry; Chaucerian allusion, adaptation, and influence; Chaucer and children’s literature; recent semi-speculative biographical work on Chaucer, and many more.

ENGL 540. Drama: Applied Shakespeare: Pragmatics, Performance, and the Rhetorical Tradition

Instructor: Linda Shenk

This course examines Shakespeare’s plays at the intersection of pragmatics and rhetoric to consider how these studies of language unlock not only performance but also the role of the humanities as a socially engaged discipline. This course is designed to appeal to participants from literature, rhetoric, linguistics, and creative writing. To create a relevant integration of these sub-disciplines for participants, the last section of the course will be left “TBA” so that, as a class, we can shape the final trajectory of readings to consider the research and professional applications of these methodologies. Course participants will also be able to tailor their final research projects to explore ideas related to their individual areas of expertise.

ENGL 546. Issues in the Study of Literature: Victorianisms

Instructor: Sean Grass

The purpose of this course is to introduce students simultaneously to the rigors of scholarly research and the intellectual and theoretical problems posed by the literature of the Victorian period in England. In A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens famously wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…” He was writing of pre-revolutionary France, but his words might be applied to his own times to an alarming degree. After a long period during which modern Britons belittled and denigrated Victorian ancestors, critics began returning to Victorian literature, history, and culture with fresh eyes in roughly the 1970s, with the result that there is not now any sense of a single dominant “Victorianism.” Instead, there are a myriad of shifting and false binaries, and ways of “reading” this enormously rich and complex period through not only its poetry, prose, and drama but also the critical lenses of feminism, Marxism, cultural materialism, old and new historicisms, post-colonialism, etc.—a series of “-isms” that add up to something like a comprehensive portrait of the whole.
To make sense of it all, we will look at a very small number of Victorian texts—most likely Dickens’s Bleak House, Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” and Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone—and then a wide array of major critical statements on these works, each of them from a different theoretical or critical school. By the end of the term we will have not just a sense of each of the “-isms” in the abstract, but also a working sense of what each lends to our critical discourse, and how each might be used productively to advance our understanding of both literature and culture. We will also, at suitable times, discuss the mechanics of professional-quality research, so that once you have completed the course you can move on confidently to conduct scholarly work in any field you choose.

ENGL 548. History of Rhetorical Theory II: From Bacon to the Present

Instructor: Craig Rood
(cross-listed with SP CM 548)

Rhetorical theory from the early modern period (Bacon, Descartes, and Locke) to the present; attention to its relation to the nature of knowledge, communication practice, and pedagogy.

SP CM 548: The History of Rhetorical Theory I: From Plato to Bacon

Instructor: Craig Rood
(cross-listed with ENGL 548)

Rhetorical theory from the early modern period (Bacon, Descartes, and Locke) to the present; attention to its relation to the nature of knowledge, communication practice, and pedagogy.

ENGL 550. Creative Writing: Craft and Professional Practice

Instructor: David Zimmerman

English 550 is a multi-genre craft course required of all incoming students in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment. Students develop an understanding of craft and environmental writing across genres (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama) as well as learn about editing and publication practice through the lens of a working literary journal, Flyway: A Journal of Writing and Environment.
Other course activities include a weekend class trip early in the semester, presentations on the production practices of leading literary journals, individual editing projects, pragmatic tips for finding publication outlets for polished creative work, and a field trip to publishing houses in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

ENGL 551. Master Workshop

Instructor: Debra Marquart

English 551 is a thesis-intensive workshop offered each Fall semester and available only to MFA students in the fifth semester of their program of study. In the Master Workshop, writers will work intensively on their book-length thesis manuscripts in a variety of possible genres, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama. This course is intended to dovetail with the ongoing one-on-one mentoring that MFA students have been pursuing with their major professors.
We’ll begin the semester by writing and workshopping a short (500 word) Vision Statement or Manuscript Precis that articulates the parameters and themes of the thesis. With that vision in mind, the class will proceed, week-by-week, reading and workshopping drafts of the class participants’ full thesis manuscripts.
The Master Workshop is intended to encourage MFA students in their third year to bring focus to their research and move their thesis projects through revision and toward greater completion. Although the majority of class time will be given over to workshopping manuscripts, some class time will be dedicated to discussing how to select and package work for publication, how to shape book proposals, and how to query editors/agents.

ENGL 555. Workshop: Nonfiction

Instructor: Barbara Haas

This workshop is ideal for writers crafting stand-alone essays of every stripe (memoir, narrative-based, braided, solar punk, personal, etc.) and also for those working with book-length nonfiction projects (chapter by chapter.) We’re yearning for flash pieces that give the reader a burst of revelation as well as longer pieces that invite the reader to luxuriate. We crave the familiar revealed in new and unexpected ways. Writers who wish to experiment with new media Visual Essays will find a welcoming arena as will those who wish to explore hybrid mash-ups of nonfiction with other genres.
Our workshop methods will encourage you to open up new terrain, grow as a writer, take chances and find astonishingly fresh ways to gain creative traction in your work. Ultimately, our workshop’s aim is to help you probe mysteries, illustrate basic truths and tell a good story. Languid summer days devoted to long sun-filled hours of writing leave one yearning to test this new work in the laboratory/workshop.
You can prod and poke, wonder about and marvel at, interrogate and dream forward, experiment and polish. At inspiring intervals throughout the term we will read nonfiction models for discussion, and you will generate four essays or chapters in our time together, submit them for class critique in the workshop and offer feedback on the nonfiction of others.
Our momentum in 555 is also something of a mission: to coax from raw material the kind of nonfiction narrative that is at once emotionally evocative and also lushly grounded in the tangible real world constructs that highlight the human drama inherent in our connection to Place, nature or environment.

ENGL 557. Studies in Creative Writing: Where Social Justice and Environmental Justice Meet

Instructor: Debra Marquart

We are saying that environmental justice incorporates the idea that we are just as much concerned about wetlands, birds and wilderness areas, but we’re also concerned with urban habitats, where people live in cities, about reservations, about things that are happening along the US-Mexican border, about children that are being poisoned by lead in housing and kids playing outside in contaminated playgrounds. So we have had to struggle to get these issues on the radar of a lot of the large environmental groups.
—Interview with Robert Bullard, Earth First! Journal.
In Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, eco-critic Rob Nixon documents that poor and disenfranchised people, particularly populations in the global south, are the most vulnerable to environmental depredation. The outcry of “not in my back yard” is most often listened to only when affluent, white populations make the argument.
From the Standing Rock fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota to Bhopal, India where a Union Carbide gas explosion in 1984 created the worst industrial accident the world had seen; from lead-poisoned drinking water in Flint, Michigan to Shell Oil’s reckless and destructive history of oil extraction in the Niger Delta, one need not look far to find examples in which the burden of environmental destruction is visited upon people who have less political power. According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, “the environmental justice movement, championed originally and primarily by African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and Pacific Islanders and Native Americans addresses the statistical fact that people who live, work and play in America’s most polluted environments are commonly people of color and the poor.”
In this special topics course, we will look at five or six examples in which issues of social justice and environmental justice converge in contemporary events. Working as a class, we will analyze and discuss these incidents using a case study approach, while also reading some literature about the events or incidents. Throughout the semester, through a series of creative writing assignments and workshops, each writer will be invited to explore and strengthen the social and environmental justice themes lurking in their creative work—whether poems, stories or essays; whether based on real-world events or fictional/imagined constructs.
Class texts under consideration include documentaries (Flow: How Did A Handful of Corporations Steal Our Water? and The Babushkas of Chernobyl), and short excerpts from the following texts: Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor; Vandana Shiva, Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply; Robert Bullard, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality; Jennifer Clapp, Toxic Exports: The Transfer of Hazardous Wastes from Rich to Poor Countries; and chapters from The Environmental Justice Reader: Politics, Poetics, and Pedagogy.

ENGL 560. Environmental Field Experience

Instructor: Debra Marquart

Students in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment register for three credits and spend a term on a project that requires environmental fieldwork. Fieldwork experiences might include the following kinds of activities: working for a federal, state, or private non-profit environmental organization; partnering with an environmental activism organization or advocacy organization working toward a cause of interest for the student’s research; or living and working in a specified natural area and engaging in environmental fieldwork that enhances the student’s understanding of environmental issues.
A proposal must be submitted to and approved by the English 560 field experience coordinator prior to the commencement of fieldwork. Students should confer with their advisors or the field experience coordinator prior to writing the proposal. An informational document, “MFA Guidelines for Completion of English 560,” and the approval form, “MFA Environmental Field Experience Proposal,” are both available for download on the following website:
http://www.engl.iastate.edu/graduate-students/resources-for-current-students-faculty/forms-2/. (On this webpage, see the links for the two 560 documents under the subheading, “Program Specific POS Forms.”)
The 560 field experience culminates in a formal public presentation of the student’s experience and a short creative reading of work that demonstrates the way the field experience has informed the writer’s work. A final portfolio of the writing samples and other documentation will be submitted to the field experience coordinator as a final requirement of the 560 Environmental Field Experience.

ENGL 586. Visual Rhetoric in Professional Communication

Instructor: Charles Kostelnick

English 586 will combine theory and research in visual communication and perception with the practical application of visual design in business and technical communication. We will examine theories of visual communication, empirical research in layout and typography, visual aesthetics and other cultural issues, and user-oriented methods of designing text, charts, illustrations, data displays, and other visual elements, both in print and digital forms. Examining visual design from a rhetorical perspective, we will explore ways of adapting visual language to specific audiences, purposes, and situational contexts.  To apply principles of visual rhetoric, students will complete several design assignments and a major project in visual design.  To explore, critique, and reflect on principles and practices of visual rhetoric, students will do an analytical exercise, a take-home exam on the readings, and a research project that explores in-depth a topic in visual communication theory, research, pedagogy, or practice, or some combination of these.

ENGL 587. Internship in Business, Technical, and Professional Communication

Instructor: (arranged) David Roberts

An opportunity to write, edit, and design business and technical documents in a professional setting.

ENGL 589. Supervised Practicum in Literary Editing

Instructor: Debra Marquart

English 589 provides MFA students an opportunity to edit literary texts and gain experience in a literary publishing setting. Credits are also available each semester (F, S, SS) for variable credits (1 – 3) for literary editing practicum opportunities such as internships with publishing houses, small presses, or other literary editing experiences. Application process and permission of instructor required for all English 589 coursework.
Each Spring semester, this course is available for three credits to MFA students in their second semester who serve as editors for the MFA Program’s nationally-known literary journal, Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment. Arranged Flyway coursework activities include screening submissions, meeting in a roundtable discussions with fellow editors to discuss top tier submissions, corresponding with authors, editing and proofing accepted submissions, assisting with artwork selection and layout, overseeing literary contests sponsored by the journal (Iowa Sweet Corn Prizes in Poetry & Fiction, the Notes from the Field Prize in Nonfiction). Class participants also promote the magazine on social media and in other venues such as the Associated Writing Programs annual conference.

ENGL 602C: Research Methods in RCPC: Advanced Rhetorical Analysis

Instructor: Ben Crosby

Modern humanistic scholarship has developed an overwhelming interest in analysis. In light of this focus, controversies have emerged over what analysis is and how it should proceed. This course is designed to comprehend those controversies and lead students to produce their own careful, sustained analysis of rhetorical and literary artifacts.
The approach this course privileges is close reading, or what French literary critic Gustave Lanson calls explication de texte. Students will be introduced to a particular kind of close reading called concept oriented criticism.  They will learn to read texts (and the contexts out of which they emerge) deeply and repeatedly, and to answer rhetorician David Zarefsky’s questions: “What is going on here?” and “Why should we care?” To this end, students will also study important concepts related to literary and rhetorical theory. Notions of metaphor, style, decorum, audience, kairos (timing), persona, and so on, will become essential as students are urged not only to discover what is interesting about the texts in question, but also what their analysis might contribute to the scholarly literature.
As they learn to “speak the language” of the critic, students will acquire important vocabularies on which they will draw as they complete a variety of assignments: short papers, class presentations, and, ultimately, a paper that is worthy of publication submission or conference presentation.

ENGL 611: Seminar in Rhetorical Theory: Organizational Communication CANCELLED

Instructor: Stacy Tye-Williams

Rhetorical theory, criticism, and/or practice in relation to an historical period or a particular theoretical issue.

ENGL/LING 623. Research Methods in Applied Linguistics

Instructor: Gary Ockey

This course introduces students to research methods used in applied linguistics with emphasis on second language research.  It covers conceptualizing and conducting research studies, including, the process of developing research questions, gathering data, obtaining permission from an Institutional Review Board, choosing data collection measures, and coding data.  It introduces students to differences and similarities between quantitative and qualitative research.  The epistemological bases underlying different perspectives to research in applied linguistics will be discussed and students will read examples from a range of approaches in applied linguistics journals.  Assignments will include analysis of research approaches and designing one’s own study.  Major aims of the course include preparing students to be consumers of second language research as well as to be able to design their research studies. The course also aims to prepare students for courses in research design, quantitative analysis (e.g., statistics), and qualitative analysis.

ENGL/LING 630A. Seminar in Applied Linguistics: Intelligibility

Instructor: John Levis

This seminar will explore research on intelligibility. Intelligibility is the study of how speech is produced so that it is understandable, and more importantly, how speech is perceived by listeners. In this seminar, we will give special emphasis to the perception of intelligibility in L1 and L2 speech. Spoken perception research crosses the disciplinary boundaries of phonetics and phonology, second language pronunciation, speech sciences, engineering, computer science and psycholinguistics.
Perception success or difficulty is affected by familiarity, competition from noise and other competing factors in the speech signal, background knowledge, the native language, the second or third language, the segmental system, word and phrase-level prosody and many other factors. In this seminar, we will explore research on perception from a variety of fields, look at the kinds of tasks used to measure perception, examine the relationship between perception and production in learning an L2, study the assumptions of models of L1 and L2 perception development, and carry out studies of perception.

ENGL/LING 630B. Seminar in Applied Linguistics: Development of Language Assessments

Instructor: Gary Ockey

This course provides students with training on how to develop a language assessment. Students will be introduced to a number of task formats, including multiple-choice, matching, true/false, short answer, interview and discussion. Students will also be introduced to various types of rating scales, including analytic and holistic. Test development frameworks, including Mislevy’s Evidence-centered design, Davidson and Lynch’s Test Specification approach, and Bachman and Palmer’s Test task characteristics approach will be discussed. Students will use one of these frameworks or possibly another to guide the development of their own assessment instrument. The design and development of surveys will also be covered from the point of view that surveys are a type of assessment instrument.