Spring 2016 Graduate Course Offerings

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




ENGL/LING 513. Language Assessment Practicum

Instructor: Volker Hegelheimer

Advanced practicum in language assessment.

ENGL/LING 514. Sociolinguistics

Instructor: Gulbahar Beckett

Theories and methods of examining language in its social setting. Analysis of individual characteristics (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, social class, region), interactional factors (e.g., situation, topic, purpose) and national policies affecting language use.

ENGL 516X. Methods of Formal Linguistic Analysis

Instructor: Sowmya Vajjala

In this course, we discuss the introductory concepts for programming in python, to process textual data. We learn about the basic data structures to store and process texts and how to extract information from textual data. We will demonstrate how learning to apply programming concepts is useful for applied linguists. Unlike a computer science focused course, in this course, we primarily focus on how python programming can be useful for real life applications involving text processing.
Textbook: Python for Informatics: Exploring Information, Charles Severence.

ENGL/LING 519. Second Language Assessment

Instructor: Gary Ockey

This course is an introduction to current issues in language assessment. Students learn about key concepts in language assessment, including, construct validity, reliability, authenticity, washback, and ethics.  They also gain experience in critiquing and creating various types of test tasks, including selected response item types like multiple-choice and true-false as well as constructed response item types such as summary writing tasks and group oral discussion speaking tasks. Students will learn how to use classical test theory statistics to analyze the psychometric strengths and weaknesses of assessment instruments. Procedures for analyzing both norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests will be covered. Students will use both Excel and SPSS to complete these analyses.

ENGL 525: Methods in Teaching Listening and Speaking Skills to Nonnative Speakers of English

Instructor: John Levis

Theoretical and practical issues and techniques in the teaching of second language pronunciation, listening, and speaking skills. Topics will be relevant to those intending to teach in various contexts involving both K-12 and adult learners.

ENGL/LING 527: Discourse Analysis

Instructor: Bethany Gray

Methods and theoretical foundations for linguistic approaches to discourse analysis. Applications of discourse analysis to the study of texts in a variety of settings, including academic and research contexts.

ENGL/LING 588. Supervised Practicum in Teaching English as a Second Language

Instructor: Tammy Slater

Intensive observation of ESL instruction and supervised practice in teaching learners of English in a context appropriate to the student teacher’s goals. ENGL 588 cannot be used for teacher licensure and cannot be taken during student teaching.

ENGL/LING 630A. Seminar in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Validation of Language

Instructor: Carol Chapelle

Topic changes each semester. Topics include advanced methods in natural language processing, technology and literacy in a global context, feedback in CALL programs, technology and pronunciation, and advances in language assessment.

ENGL/LING 630B. Seminar in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Analysis of Learner Language

Instructor: Tammy Slater

This 630 seminar introduces Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) as a discourse analytic approach to exploring the development of learner language. The course will address the basic theory of SFL and will provide practice analyzing learner and non-learner texts (including literature), with the goal of understanding how SFL can be used in formative/summative assessment of oral and written discourse, and how it can help describe differences in texts in terms of the content, the organization, and how relationships are established between the speaker/writer and the listener/reader. The course will also introduce an SFL-based corpus tool.

ENGL/LING 688. Practicum in Technology and Applied Linguistics

Instructor: Volker Hegelheimer

Focus on integrating theoretical knowledge with practical expertise. Assess client needs; develop, integrate, and evaluate solutions. Practical understanding of computer applications used in multimedia development. Create web-based or CD-ROM-based multimedia materials. Work with advanced authoring applications.



ENGL 551. Advanced Multi-Genre Creative Writing Workshop

Instructor: David Zimmerman

An advanced multi-genre creative writing workshop. Students work intensively on book-length manuscripts of fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry.

ENGL 554. Graduate Fiction Workshop

Instructor: K. L. Cook

In this MFA fiction workshop, students will write, workshop, and revise projects of their choice—short-shorts, stories, linked stories, novellas, or novel excerpts.  Students not enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Environment Program must have permission from the instructor to enroll.

ENGL 556. Graduate Poetry Workshop

Instructor: Debra Marquart

The central image of the graduate poetry workshop will be the circle. Every week, in a large or small round-table workshops, we will discuss poems generated by members of the class. This course is designed in such a way that students with varying levels of expertise in poetry writing will feel comfortable bringing their poems to the workshop.
The created poem rises up out of the poet’s consciousness and intellect, but parts of it are drawn from the environment through which the poet walks, which includes newspaper headlines and the troubling stories they report, conversations participated in or overheard, foods and their accompanying tastes and smells, photographs of lost or forgotten ones, words heard in passing. Why certain random details select out of the mish-mash then combine in unpredictable ways to coalesce into a poem is sometimes a mystery, even to the poet. Yet, the poem itself is evidence that it happens.
In addition to the workshop poems, class members will often write a second (flash-length) companion piece of creative work. This may be another poem or a very short prose piece, of fiction or nonfiction, that works to connect or plumb some aspect, however peripheral, of the poem’s generative environment (social, political, emotional, economic, historical, ecological, geological, to name a few).
The approach to discussing work will be open-ended and organic, rather than prescriptive and formulaic. We will discuss our impressions of the poem’s inner workings—its images, metaphors, inventions, language, rhythms, acoustics, and surprises.   In the course of the semester, we will also take some class time to read, discuss, and write critically about a few poetry collections, as well as read and discuss a few short critical essays.

Poetry Collections (UNDER CONSIDERATION)

  • Nikki Finney, Rice: Poems
  • Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn
  • Maurice Manning, The Gone and the Going Away
  • Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric
  • Lee Ann Roripaugh, Dandarians: Poems
  • Julianna Spahr, That Winter the Wolf Came

ENGL 557. Studies in Creative Writing: Pop, Flash & Form

Instructor: Ned Balbo

In a world saturated by technology, popular culture is inescapable: its images pop, flash, and form, illuminating our experience. But how can we, as creative writers, make use of its rich resources? At its core, popular culture marks the passage of time; high culture and human history determine its forms and bear its mark; icons that lose their currency retain the imprint of their era. What will last and what will not? That very question, which we direct toward our own writing, is even more crucial when we incorporate popular culture into our work.
This course for MFA students will consider the ways that genres marked by concision—flash fiction, micro essays, prose poems, and poetry—allow us very different means of exploring popular culture, including the use of hybrid genres born of the boundaries between. How could the techniques of film inspire an approach to fiction? Does a film’s minor character deserve her own dramatic monologue? How does a favorite song lead to a micro essay on race or gender? How can a folk song lead to a poem about the history that inspired it? How does work about popular culture echo other ekphrastic traditions? What archetypes influence a comic strip that haunts our memory?
Course readings will include selections from a variety of sources, including Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Eula Biss’ The Balloonists, Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, Edward Galeano’s Genesis, Albert Goldbarth’s Dark Waves and Light Matter, and Ai’s Vice, as well as readings from After Yesterday’s Crash: The Avant-Pop Anthology (fiction), Real Things: An Anthology of Popular Culture in American Poetry, Interfictions: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing, and Brevity: A Journal of Concise Nonfiction.
Class time will combine discussion of assigned reading and models with a multi-genre workshop; students will be encouraged to explore several genres and/or to discover new ways of reinventing or blending existing ones.

ENGL 559. Creative Writing Teaching Internship

Instructor: K. L. Cook

Students assist in an introductory creative writing class. Some supervised teaching but mainly evaluation of submissions and individual conferences. Requirements and grades determined by participating instructors.

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 589. Supervised Practicum in Literary Editing

Instructor: Debra Marquart

In English 589, the Supervised Practicum in Literary Editing, MFA students gain expertise in publishing and editing in a hands-on, real world setting. During the spring semester, MFA students assume editorial duties for Flyway: A Journal of Writing and Environment, a nationally distributed literary journal.
Coursework includes the following activities: screening submissions, meeting in a roundtable discussion with fellow editors to discuss top tier submissions, corresponding with authors, editing and proofing accepted submissions, assisting with layout, overseeing contests such and the “Iowa Sweet Corn Prize” (fiction & poetry) and the “Notes from the Field” prize (nonfiction), and promoting the magazine on social media and in other venues. Editors of the journal also represent Flyway at AWP, the national conference of the Associated Writing Programs, each spring semester. (www.flyway.org)



ENGL 531. Topics in the Study of Literature: Absence in Cinema

Instructor: Justin Remes

The composer John Cage once asserted, “There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear.” This course will attempt to theorize the role of absence and erasure in cinema and other art forms. This will include an analysis of films without sound, films without imagery, and found footage films in which pre-existing imagery has been erased. We will also give attention to texts in other art forms that traffic in absence, including poems without words, music without sound, canvases without paint, and Garfield without Garfield. Films screened will include works by Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Douglas Gordon, Walter Ruttmann, Nam June Paik, Takahiko Iimura, Naomi Uman, Cory Arcangel, and Martin Arnold.

ENGL 534. American Literature since 1865: Representations of the Self in Modern Autobiography

Instructor: Connie Post

Are blogs and tweets edging out other forms of lifewriting in the United States? Should autobiographers tell the truth, or do they have the right to break what Jacques LeJeune calls the “autobiographical pact” by fudging the facts? What is the connection between the production of autobiography and late capitalism? Take English 534 and join a hot debate about the genre of autobiography, long regarded as the “ugly duckling” of literary study. Critics and writers have much to say about the genre, and so will we in our examination of lifewriting by Americans primarily from 1900 to the present. Through a variety of critical approaches, we will explore the impact of race, gender, and class on autobiography and consider whether modern autobiographical praxis in the United States is the expression of a unique individual, a unique generation, or a unique nation.
Texts include Benjamin Franklin’s 1867 The Autobiography; Zitkala-Sa, Four Autobiographical Narratives; Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House; John Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks; Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas; Richard Wright, Black Boy; Alfred Kazin, A Walker in the City; Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems; Mary McCarthy, Memories of a Catholic Girlhood; Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior; Richard Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory; Cheryl Strayed, Wild; and a final selection to be chosen by the class. 3 credits. Constance Post, Instructor.
Requirements: Seminar presentation, term project, review essays, and final exam.

ENGL 543. The Study of Environmental Literature

Instructor: Brianna Burke

Becoming Beast: The Humanimal in the Age of Biotechnology and Escalating Ecological Crisis
This semester we will tackle four theories within the growing field of the Environmental Humanities—Ecofeminism, Environmental Justice, and Trans- and Post-humanism—to ask: what does it mean to be human in the age of escalating ecological crisis? What does it mean to be animal? Through what ideological and political mechanisms are some considered more human, or more animal, than others? How do emerging practices in the biosciences—particularly bio-engineering and genetic manipulation—trouble the boundary between human and non-human? How can we talk about ethics or social justice when it comes to our treatment of our environment, of animals, and of other (human) beings? Might it be true that in the age of climate change we are all just so many beasts slouching toward extinction? Might this demand that we re-think what it means to be human immediately?
The texts are largely from the late 20th– and early 21st-century, and may include Animal’s People by Indra Sinha (2009), The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (2010), Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (2004), Mama Day by Gloria Naylor (1989), Tracks by Louise Erdrich (1989), Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (2010), A State of Wonder by Ann Pachet (2014), Tropic of Orange by Karen Tai Yamashita (1997), Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008), Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (2012), and Under the Feet of Jesus by Helena Maria Viramontes (1996).



ENGL 501. Research Methods in Rhetoric and Professional Communication

Instructor: Tina Coffelt

Official catalog description: Survey of the major qualitative and quantitative methods used in research on communication and language in academic and nonacademic settings.
More information: This course positions students at the beginning of a research journey, which begins with background information on the history of higher education and graduate education in the humanities progressing toward research in modern RCPC and RPC programs. The landscape of the course includes an introduction to research and scholarly activity approaches employed by faculty in the RPC program. Students will understand the assumptions of research traditions, appraise the advantages and limitations of research methods, recognize the topics and research methods of RPC faculty, and evaluate personal commitments to a research paradigm. The course will require reading approximately 100 pages per week, contributing to class discussions, and completing written assignments, among other tasks

ENGL 507B. Writing and Analyzing Professional Documents

Instructor: Jo Mackiewicz

This graduate seminar introduces important concepts for analyzing and developing business, professional, and technical communication. We will examine simplified, plain, and global English. We will also examine principles of document design; publication management; usability and accessibility; localization and globalization, and readability formulae, among other topics. As we study these topics, we will examine methods for conducting research in business, professional, and technical communication, including ethnography, experimental research, and corpus analysis. We will develop individual and group projects related to these topics.

ENGL 507C. Writing and Analyzing Professional Documents

Instructor: Charles Kostelnick

Accounting majors only.  Introduction to the theory and practice of planning, preparing, and presenting information in written, oral, and visual forms prepared for business, science, industry, and government. Guided readings. Team projects. Individual projects.

ENGL 549. Multimedia Design in Professional Communication

Instructor: Geoff Sauer

Rhetorical principles of information-based multimedia design. Practical understanding of computer applications used in multimedia development. Focus on theoretical and practical elements of producing multimedia training programs in both education and industry. Work with interactive hypertext, digital audio, and non-linear video editing.

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

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