Spring 2017 Graduate Course Offerings

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




ENGL/LING 512. Second Language Acquisition

Instructor: Elena Cotos

Theory, methods, and results of second language acquisition research with emphasis on approaches relevant to second language teaching.

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 515. Statistical Natural Language Processing

Instructor: Sowmya Vajjala

This course aims to introduce the computational methods that form the foundation for statistical analysis and processing of language. This involves the discussion of various techniques to develop applications related human language processing such as information retrieval and extraction, automatic text classification, topic models, spelling and grammar check, statistical machine translation,  word-sense disambiguation and automatic speech recognition.

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/LING 526. Computer-Assisted Language Learning

Instructor: James Ranalli

Theory, research, and practice in computer use for teaching nonnative speakers of English. Methods for planning and evaluating computer-based learning activities.

ENGL/LING 527. Discourse Analysis

Instructor: Bethany Gray

Discourse analysis is concerned with making sense of how language is used in the wider communicative context, and focuses on the way that texts are organized and constructed to create meaning. This course explores linguistic approaches to discourse analysis and considers a range of theories and methods, such as genre or move analysis, register analysis, Systemic Functional Linguistics, and corpus-based discourse analysis (these approaches can be contrasted to socio-cultural approaches to discourse analysis, which are not covered in this course). Theories and methods of discourse analysis will be discussed and practiced while exploring topics such as language use, language variation, information structure, coherence and cohesion, text structure, pragmatics, register/genre variation, and classroom discourse, in both spoken and written language.
The class will pair discussion-based explorations of theories, methods, and research with practice-based activities implementing various discourse analysis steps and techniques. Evaluation will be based on class presentations, analysis projects applying various methods to language data, a research proposal, and a final research project report.
Pre-requisite: 511 or introductory course in linguistics

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: Psychometrics Methods for Language Testing

Instructor: Gary Ockey

The course focuses on advanced measurement techniques for language assessment researchers/Applied linguists. Major topics covered are applications of generalizability theory, item response theory, including Many facet Rasch measurement and binary IRT models, and differential item functioning. Emphasis is on the use of quantitative techniques for analyzing tests with computer software. While some discussion of the statistics and math which underlie the techniques will be included in the course, the emphasis will be on test/research design, applications, and interpretations. Students use computer software packages, which include SPSS, IRT PRO, and FACETS.

ENGL/LING 630B. Seminar in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Corpus Linguistics

Instructor: Bethany Gray

This seminar focuses on corpus linguistics methodologies for analyzing large samples of authentic language. The first part of the course will focus on foundational concepts in corpus linguistics methodologies, from corpus design and representativeness, quantitative research designs for corpus data, corpus analysis tools (from concordancers to specialized computer programs), the definition of language varieties (registers, genres, text types), and the major types of corpus analyses. During this portion of the course, students will have the opportunity to apply these foundational concepts to the analysis of published corpus research, proposals for corpus collection and research, and analyses of corpus data. The second part of the course will survey and critique corpus research on a range of topics, such as vocabulary and lexis, grammar, lexico-grammar, learner language, and register variation, along with others selected by students in the class. The final part of the course will focus on multi-dimensional analysis, including the theory and assumptions underlying this analytical approach and the steps required to carry out and interpret multi-dimensional analyses.
Note: Computer programming knowledge is not required for the course. However, students with this experience will have opportunities to apply and build on programming skills they may have been developing in courses such as English 516x and 520.

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 554. Graduate Fiction Workshop

Instructor: Barbara Haas

A workshop sometimes asks of its authors, “Is the truth in the writing?” The question isn’t intended to interrogate whether such-and-such event really happened but to puzzle over whether the work captures what we’ve come to expect from a story: an authentic experience, something believable and credible, a flesh and blood reality that conveys an emotional truth beyond actual fact.
The Greek root for the word “story” translates out as “I have seen; I know.” Steeped in the artifice of craft, fiction writers “know” their stories partly from what they have lived and experienced and also from what they have “seen” before the mind’s eye. The recipe is familiar—–add a little of ‘what happened’ to a lot of ‘what never happened’ and boil it down to ‘what should have happened.’ In theory, ‘what should have happened’ reduces to a kind of fictive truth thqt resonates with the reader.
Ours will be a 554 dedicated to that truth. With this to guide us, we will especially examine how the paradox—“Fiction is the lie that gets at the truth”—-operates. We’ll explore, debate, critique and detail ways to generate writing that is true, and understand the mechanics of doing so. In fiction workshops at Irvine, we had a hypothesis—Desire + Danger = Drama—and we found ourselves forever testing that notion in as many different permutations as we could dream up.
Our 554 is ideal for permutations and dreams. I am calling short story writers to this cause and novelists, too—also writers interested in genre fiction, including Solar Punk and other types of speculative work. Young Adult fiction, thesis swaths for those prepping a book-length manuscript, post-thesis work for those wanting to gain traction in that next project beyond the MFA—all of these are appropriate for our workshop. Critiquing fiction each week through the sedate winter months will be the perfect activity to see us through the dormant season. Addressing very rough, very raw material, as well as material that has evolved through a couple drafts will be ideal.
Workshop-style format. Each participant will have numerous opportunities to workshop their fiction and seek feedback during the semester.
I’m considering a modest reading list composed of fiction from Adam Johnson (Fortune Smiles), Kirstin Valdez Quade (Night at the Fiestas), Anthony Marra (Tsar of Love and Techno) and others TBD.

ENGL 556. Graduate Poetry Workshop

Instructor: Ned Balbo

A foundation of this graduate poetry workshop is that all types of poetry are welcome—lyric, narrative, free verse, metrical, experimental, everything in between—and we’ll also welcome work that explores the boundaries between poetry and prose. In addition to our weekly workshops, I’ll hold individual conferences in order to help with ongoing projects, or to provide post-workshop follow-up.
Your own poetry will take central place; thorough workshop discussion will ensure that each participant gains a clear sense of revision’s possibilities and options for future work. Students working on longer projects (such as poetic sequences) will be able to meet in conference for added commentary.
Translations are welcome, too. Students working in this area may submit versions-in-progress for workshop; there, we’ll discuss the translation as a poem in its own right, to be read on its own merits. As follow-up in conference, I’ll be happy to discuss the special challenges of translation, as well as specific approaches to the art, and to discuss issues related to the technical aspects of transposing style, voice, and meaning between languages.
Our required text, poet/editor Mike Theune’s Structure and Surprise (Teacher & Writers Collaborative), offers insights into how strategic structural turns allow us entry into poetry of any style by means of elegy, argument, dialogue, meditation, etc. The book contains excellent essays by poets such as D.A. Powell and Mary Szybist, as well as a generous selection of poems by a wide array of writers.
For students interested in meter and poetic forms received or nonce (or for the whole class, if interest is high), I’ll provide resources and examples.
For inspiration and discussion, we’ll read three recent collections: Erica Dawson, The Small Blades Hurt (Measure Press; winner of the 2016 Poets’ Prize); Paisley Rekdal, Animal Eye (U of Pittsburgh Press, 2013 UNT Rilke Prize winner and finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award); and Daniel Albergotti, Millennial Teeth (Southern Illinois University Press), which, as Natasha Trethewey affirms, is “a beautiful and necessary book.”

ENGL 557. Studies in Creative Writing: Writing as Performance

Instructor: Charissa Menefee

This interdisciplinary course examines the practical and theoretical links between writing and performance.  The process of performance extends beyond what happens in front of an audience or on the page.  Rehearsal and performance require critical and creative thinking, skill-building, analysis, and focused experimentation in order to make artistic choices that effectively communicate meaning and intention.  For the performer, it can be a method for learning and exploring, another way of knowing.  For the writer, it can also provide innovative ways to generate, evaluate, revise, and present work.
In this class, students will actively engage in the creative process, exploring techniques for both creating texts and bringing texts to life for an audience, as well as examining previously-held assumptions about appropriate approaches to generating and revising written work.  Readings, discussions, assignments, and workshops focus on performance as both a means and an end to creative writing.  Students will experiment with projects in writing, performance, and interactive combinations of these areas, create new written work, and perform pieces created by themselves and others in the class.

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 523. Introduction to Old English Language and Literature

Instructor: Susan Yager

This course is for students who are interested in delving deeply into words and language. In it we will read and study some of the earliest surviving texts in English in their original form, examining Old English prose and verse from the ground up. We will begin the course by learning about Old English and reading simple prose passages; then we will look further at Old English grammar and syntax as questions arise from the readings. We will also study some of the great poetry of the period, including the Dream of the Rood, “Wanderer,” “Seafarer,” and selections from Beowulf. Topics that may be explored in presentations or papers include translation/modernization; rhetorical and literary devices in Old English; teaching early literature; and the continuing influence of landmarks like Beowulf in our time. Course requirements will include a few quizzes, translations, a survey of secondary material on a topic related to Old English, an in-class report, and two papers or one paper/one project.

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 562X. Topics in the Study of Film: Found Footage Films

Instructor: Justin Remes

In the early 20th century, Marcel Duchamp revolutionized art by recontextualizing ordinary objects, thus pioneering the development of the ready-made or objet trouvé (found object). Following Duchamp’s lead, a number of filmmakers have made cameraless films using only found footage. In other words, these artists have repurposed segments from pre-existing films, embracing an aesthetic of appropriation and collage. This course will attempt to explore the questions implicitly posed by these radical experiments. Can a found footage film be “original”? Is found footage filmmaking a form of theft? How do such works complicate traditional notions of authorship? To what extent are contemporary viral videos (such as mashups and supercuts) manifestations of the found footage aesthetic? Films screened will include works by Joseph Cornell, Bruce Conner, Peter Tscherkassky, Martin Arnold, and Bill Morrison.



ENGL 501. Research Methods in Rhetoric and Professional Communication

Instructor: Jenny Aune

Survey of the major qualitative and quantitative methods used in research on communication and language in academic and nonacademic settings.

ENGL 507. Writing and Analyzing Professional Documents (Acctg Majors)

Instructor: Charles Kostelnick

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 529. Multimedia Content Management

Instructor: Geoff Sauer

Strategies for developing and delivering multimodal content via digital media. Focus on the principles of database design, interface development, usability testing, and collaborative content management within professional communication settings.

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 602A: Research Design in Rhetoric and Professional Communication: Qualitative

Instructor: Stacy Tye-Williams

The purpose of 602A is to teach students how to design qualitative research projects, collect and analyze qualitative data, and write-up results. Either individually or in teams students will produce an article worthy of publication in an academic journal.

ENGL 631. Organization and Administration of Multimodal Writing Programs

Instructors: Barbara Blakely and Charles Kostelnick

The purpose of 631 will be to survey the major components of writing instruction in academic settings, including its history, theory, organization, and evaluation. You’ll be introduced to the major issues and current challenges and opportunities of writing program administration.  By the end of the course, you’ll have learned about curriculum and faculty development for first-year (or foundational) composition programs, including writing centers and WAC/WID programs, as well as about the professional issues related to the work of a WPA.  The course will relate the theories behind rhetoric/composition, administration, and pedagogy to the practices current in American universities.
Much of the work you will do for this course will consist of reading about and discussing issues in writing program organization and administration.  In addition, you’ll do the following:
1.   Three reading responses in which you put one of the readings into conversation with other pieces from the literature and present the issues and possibilities related to the topic. Bringing the readings back to one or more of the professional statements of goals or frameworks will be important as a way to contextualize the topic.
2.   A mini case study of another institution’s writing program. We want a variety of institution types here (community colleges, 4-year liberal arts colleges, as well as schools presenting different institutional contexts of other sorts from those of ISU).  The case study will include both a written and oral component.
3.   An issue-analysis paper, in which you trace a long-standing or newer issue writing program administration and discuss it as it relates to challenges and current topics in higher education.