Summer 2018 Graduate Course Descriptions

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

ENGL 508. Writing for Academic Publication

Instructor: Charles Kostelnick  (May 14-June 22)

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.

ENGL 513. Language Assessment Practicum

Instructor: Gary Ockey (May 14-August 3)

Advanced practicum in language assessment.

ENGL 531. Topics in the Study of Literature  CANCELLED

“You Gotta Know the Territory”: Writing Iowa, Being Iowan

Instructor: Barbara Ching  (June 12-June 28)

Guest session-leaders: Brianna Burke and Matt Sivils

In this intensive, graduate-level course, you will be able to focus on writings about Iowa in three crucial moments of its history:its founding, its twentieth-century flourishing as America’s agricultural heartland, and its millennial reckoning with that history. All three points demand that we ask, who is an Iowan? How do we become Iowans? How are Iowans connected to the land that defines this state? We will explore these questions through a variety of texts, and we’ll make a field trip to the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City.
Because this course includes so many genres, you may choose from among many
research options—archival, pedagogical, and critical—for your course project. For
the same reason, this course will be useful to students of literature, rhetoric, or
history, English education specialists, and writers with an interest in place.

  • Readings may include:
  • Sauk leader Black Hawk, “Surrender Speech” and autobiography
  • West Coast observer, novelist, and non-fiction writer, Dagoberto Gilb, “Iowa”
  • Playwright, novelist, journalist Susan Glaspell, “A Jury of her Peers” and Glaspell’s non-fiction reporting on the murder depicted in this story
  • Nature writers Paull Errington and Aldo Leopold, selected prose
  • Pulitzer Prize-winner Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres
  • Composer and playwright Meredith Willson, The Music Man
  • Painter and essayist Grant Wood, “Revolt Against the City”
  • Poet and novelist Ray Young Bear, selected poetry.

A limited number of $1,000 tuition scholarships are available for this course. Please contact Linda Kramer ( by April 16 to express interest. MA students will be given first priority; all grad students will be considered.

ENGL 560. Environmental Field Experience

Instructor: Debra Marquart (May 14-August 3)

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.

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

Instructor: Charles Kostelnick (May 14-August 3)

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 (May 14-August 3)

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.