Summer 2017 Graduate Course Descriptions


Creative Writing

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: (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.


English 595A. Graduate Study & Travel (Creative Writing)
On the Road in Ireland: A Traveling Writer’s Workshop

Travel Dates:  Tuesday, May 9, 2017 – Friday, June 2, 2017

Instructor: Debra Marquart

In this creative writing Study Abroad class, we will travel in Ireland for three and a half weeks, visiting sites of literary, archeological, historical, and cultural importance while reading and discussing great works of Irish literature and experiencing cultural events (plays, literary readings, music performances).  Along the way as we travel, the class will be journaling and recording their impressions and discussing literary texts, then writing and workshopping their own creative work (poems, stores, essay, plays). Class members will have ample time to write, share, and workshop their creative pieces on the road. Course activities culminate in a completed-works portfolio of revised creative work due two weeks after the class returns from the trip.
A summary of the course activities, set up in weekly increments, is as follows:
Week One: Stay in Dublin in city apartments, attend plays at historic theaters (The Abbey Theater/The Gate Theater); meet Irish authors; attend literary festival events; visit Trinity College and view the Book of Kells; take day trips to sites around Dublin (the Boyne Valley, Newgrange archeological site, Trim Castle); do historic walking tours (Literary Pub Crawl, 1916 Rebellion Walking tour), visit Kilmainham Jail (where the 1916 rebels were held); Visit National Museum of Ireland (tour the Bog Man Exhibit); visit the Yeats Exhibit at National Library; visit the National Gallery of Ireland.
Week Two:  Travel by coach to the northwest parts of Ireland.  Visit Yeats’ grave in Sligo and travel to other places around Sligo about which Yeats wrote poems; travel to Galway, then take ferry to Aran Island (Inishmore) for three day stay.  While on Inishmore, we traverse the island with bicycles, visit the beaches where seals can be found, visit Dun Aengus (a prehistoric hill fort archeological site).  Returning from Inishmore by ferry, we travel to Doolin, a western Irish town known for its rich music heritage.  From Doolin, we travel to The Burren (a site of natural wonder), view ancient standing stone structures, and visit the legendary Cliffs of Moher.
Week Three:  We travel to the Dingle peninsula and stay in a sleepy seaside town on the western coast of Ireland. During our final week, we meet with visiting Irish authors, and tour the Dingle peninsula and the Atlantic coast Slea Head road by private coach; visit the Blasket Island Interpretive Center, and other sites of archeological importance.
For a complete itinerary as well as a breakdown of Study Abroad course costs, please visit the Study Abroad site:  On the Road in Ireland: A Traveling Writer’s Workshop or contact Debra Marquart ( for more information.

Rhetoric & Professional Communication

English 508. Advanced Workshop in Academic Writing

Instructor: Charles Kostelnick

English 508 gives hands-on practice in writing academic discourse and, in the process, provides background information regarding various academic journals, including the referee process and journal editorial decision-making.  Students will review editorial policies and expectations of selected journals, discuss current trends in academic discourse, talk with faculty who have published in academic journals, and participate in peer review of their manuscripts in progress. Assignments will include a bibliography of representative journals in the student’s respective field; a short piece for a journal or a conference proposal; an article-length paper; and a substantive revision of the article-length paper. The primary texts for the class will be students’ own work; secondary texts will include two books on academic/scholarly writing, a reader of scholarly articles, and submission/review procedures for various journals.  Several class sessions will be devoted to workshopping students’ work.

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

Instructor: David Roberts

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