College Writing II

English 21011-603 College Writing II


Suskind, Ron. A Hope in the Unseen.
Conley, Dalton. Honky.
Newman, Katherine S. Chutes and Ladders.
Golden, Daniel. The Price of Admission.

Additional necessities:
a college-level dictionary
a valid KSU e-mail account (if you choose not to use your Kent e-mail account, then please set that account
to forward messages to the account that you do use)


This course will require a variety of things from you, but most of all I ask that you bring to class your intellectual curiosity and your unique ideas and opinions. Any class that I teach is a student-centered class, and because of this, your participation is not only vital, but required. I will design projects and classroom experiences that will make necessary your participation and ask that you help to create a classroom environment in which your voice is heard, and in which the voices of others are valued and respected.

English 21011 is a general-education course designed to help you to build and strengthen the writing skills that you will need in order to be successful throughout your college career. There is an increased emphasis in this class on research skills and on assessing the best ways to discover information. While we will read and discuss several full-length texts during the semester, the readings are primarily meant to be starting points for your own writing. This is not a literature class. Be prepared to write a lot! You will write both in class and out of class, both formally and informally, and you will write four essays that include information from research and outside reading. In this class we will spend the semester focused upon the themes of social class and educational access, and we will consider both formal and informal/cultural forms of education as a way in which to gain access to the larger society.

This section of English 21011 will offer you a unique opportunity to gain some of your research and ideas first-hand through providing service to selected schools in the Canton City Schools system. If you choose to be a part of this service-learning project (Track A), then some of your writing requirements will differ from the writing requirements of those engaged in different, mostly library-based research projects (Track B). Working as a tutor and mentor for elementary-school children will be a valuable experience for any student who plans to major in an education-related field and can also be great experience for any student who learns best through experience.

On the Stark campus, service-learning has been defined in several ways:

  • Service-learning is a credit-bearing, educational experience in which studentsparticipate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs
    reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.

    Adapted from Robert Bringle and Julie Hatcher, ?A Service Learning Curriculum for Faculty.?
    The Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning, Fall 1995, pp. 112-22.

  • ?Service? should be considered direct or indirect service that meets needs defined by a specific community partner while simultaneously meeting the specified learning goals of the service-learning course. When engaged in service-learning, students should ideally provide for specific needs of underserved populations or communities for whom such services would be out of reach without the participation of service-learners. True service provides assistance that is necessary and that promotes civic engagement among all stakeholders.

Track A: This ?track? will require a service-learning component. For this component of the class, you will work as a tutor and mentor at McGregor Elementary School in the Canton City school system. In order to gain consistent experience and to provide service that will meet a real need in the school, you will be required to perform consistent service for approximately two hours per week: one hour a day, twice per week, over the course of the semester (other schedules can be negotiated, dependent upon the needs of McGregor and its students and teachers). Service-learning experiences will begin during the week of February 5 and will continue through the week of April 23. Assignments will often ask you to draw from your experiences at McGregor, and your final essay will be based upon experiences you have had during the course of the semester. Much of your ?research? will be done through direct experience rather than through traditional library research (although you will be required to do outside research for the longer paper). A journal that chronicles your service-learning work will serve as a document of this experiential research and will be graded as part of the writing requirements for the class.

Track B: This track will allow you to take a more traditional approach to research and will require you to familiarize yourself with various library offerings and with methods of finding a variety of resources in the library and on the internet. An annotated bibliography that outlines a number of outside sources (minimum of ten) related to the topic of your longer essay will be required. Time spent on this project should equal the time spent in service by those on Track A. The bibliography will be accompanied by a report that will give a detailed overview of the materials that you discover, and that report (along with those of other students from this class) will be a useful tool for the Canton city Schools and their diversity coordinator. More on this project after you have chosen your course track.

Everyone will hear a great deal about service-learning and Canton City schools during the first few weeks of class. Because the schools will come to depend upon the service you provide, you should be sure when choosing your course ?track? and when selecting times and days for service that you can complete the semester-long service requirement. Scheduled times for visits can be changed only if such changes are OK-ed by the school, teacher, principal, etc. Failure to complete the service-learning component, however, as well as failure to complete any component of the class, will result in a below-passing grade for this class.


Although directed in-class writing assignments will help you to formulate theses for your essays, as well as to draft and edit your work, you must be prepared to put in time outside of class as you revise and polish your graded, written assignments. Use a writing handbook like Andrea Lunsford?s The Everyday Writer, to guide you as you proofread and edit your papers. Ultimately, you are responsible for basic grammatical and mechanical knowledge, and so please ask me to work with you on these issues if you know that you have trouble with the basics.

I will meet with you as often as you like during my office hours and by appointment. I will also require that you meet with me for one individual conference during the process of writing Essay #3 (I will ask you to sign up for these conferences at a later time).

Essays may be written in multiple steps: pre-writing exercises; an outline paragraph or thesis statement, to help you define the topic of your paper; a draft that will be read by other students (“peer editors”), and by me if you would like to meet with me outside of class; and a final draft. Any steps that I require will factor into your grade. Required processes will be outlined in each assignment sheet that I prepare during the term.

On days when we have a peer-editing session, each student will read and comment on other students’ work in his/her group. Peer-editing sessions will be guided sessions that you must attend! On the day of each peer-editing session, you must bring in a copy of your essay that can be shared with your group (not your only copy!). The peer-editing process will figure into the grade for each out-of-class essay. If you don’t have a draft prepared on the day of peer editing, at least come to class and participate in the peer-editing process?help your classmates to write effectively! A one-third letter grade will be docked for a missed peer editing session.

As a part of the process of writing and researching Essay #4, you will be required to prepare and present researched information to the class. This project will be a presentation that outlines information gained through service-learning that you use in the longer research-based essay that will be due at the end of the term. I will explain this component of the class more fully later in the term.

Reading Responses
All reading assignments should be read prior to class discussion. For each day when there is a reading assignment, you will be required to hand in a written response to that day’s reading. Reading responses should be approximately one typed, double-spaced page in length. This assignment will help to ensure that reading will be done and that we can have lively, informed class discussions. These responses will be part of your homework grade. Responses should not summarize the day?s reading assignment, but should strive toward reflective and analytical considerations of the reading. You are free to make personal connections, or to express distaste or confusion about a text, but you must do so critically and thoughtfully, always taking the time to think about your own reading process and your critical and other reactions to texts.

You must regularly attend class in order to meet all requirements of the course. I will not impose an attendance policy, and there is no such thing in this class as an absence that is automatically ?excused.? Each student and each issue will be approached on a case-by-case basis. If you have a special consideration, then please see me on your own, in my office, during office hours or by appointment.

please keep track of your absences in this or in any class.

University policy also explains, ?The use of the intellectual property of others without attributing it to them is considered a serious academic offense. Cheating or plagiarism will result in receiving a failing grade for the work or course. Repeat offenses will result in dismissal from the university.?

Plagiarism is a serious offense, and is one that neither I nor the University will tolerate. In order to avoid any unintentional breaches of academic honesty, please use MLA documentation to clearly document your research. If you have any questions regarding proper citation or appropriate ways in which to use the ideas or writings of others, then please meet with me to discuss the process. Any student whom I suspect of plagiarism will receive a zero grade for the paper or an ?F? for the course, and may be sent to the dean for counseling or additional recourse. I am also required to report any instances of cheating or plagiarism to the student conduct officer, regardless of whether formal charges are filed.


  • All assignments are due in class, when we begin. No late work will be accepted. Reading responses and other daily writings cannot be made up, so come to class and come prepared.
  • Out-of-class writing should be typed, double-spaced, on 8.5×11-inch white paper.
  • Reading responses will be given grades of ?, ?+, or ?-. A ?check? indicates competency and that clear ideas are present; basically, you?re doing what I?d like to see. A ?check plus? indicates a high-caliber response, and a ?check minus? will designate a response that I find insufficient. At some point during the semester (usually before mid-term), I will notify you if those ?check minuses? will become zeros. A ?check minus? means you need to step up your game and engage with texts more thoroughly and/or analytically. All checks earn one point toward the total grade earned for these responses (I will also include in this grade any in-class writing assignments that I choose to collect). At semester?s end, I will assign grades based on a traditional scale (i.e. 90% = A, etc.). This is the easiest portion of your grade to control; turn in your responses!
  • Please make careful note of any assignment sheet or other explanation I give you during this semester. Any essay or other assignment that is not completed to the specifications I lay out in class or in a written directive will not be graded at the ?satisfactory? (C) level. If you have any questions, then please come to see me during my office hours or by appointment.
  • I assign letter grades to essays, presentations, etc. Grades for assignments and for the course will be plus/minus, and will factor into the following final grading scale:A 93 and above
    A- 90 up to 93
    B+ 87 up to 90
    B 84 up to 87
    B- 80 up to 84
    C+ 77 up to 80
    C 74 up to 77
    C- 70 up to 74
    D+ 67 up to 70
    D 60 up to 67
    F Below 60

    All work must follow my specifications in order to receive a grade of ?C? or higher. Requirements for written work are as follows:

    • A= thoughtful, clear writing relatively free of grammatical errors; clear, specific thesis that shows focus and that is fully explored within the essay
    • B= above-average work that shows intelligent and analytical thought (and often attempts an ambitious thesis), but may lack a clear focus or adequate development of ideas; may show evidence of weak mechanics
    • C= satisfactory work that fulfills the assignment but does not move to claim an original point of view; this work might also show evidence of severe grammatical problems that need direct attention
    • D= does not meet the assignment; does not show evidence of specific analysis or of thoughtful reflection
    • F= words on a page that do not cohere to form an argument, an analysis, or to meet an academic standard of writing.
  • If you have questions or concerns about any grade, or if you wish to ask me for special consideration about any assignment or due date, then you must do so in my office, during office hours. Do not ask such questions in front of classmates. Ideally, you should wait until you?ve had time to review my comments before you meet with me to discuss a grade.
  • You must complete all assignments in order to pass this class. Any essay not turned in, any whole requirement missed (i.e. no homework ever turned in), or any other component skipped altogether will result in a grade of no higher than ?D? for the class.


(Dates are tentative, but any changes will be announced well in advance of new due dates)

Grades for all students will reflect:

Writing Inventory: 1/22 (5%)
Essay #1: Due 2/9 (10%)
Essay #2: Due 3/16 (15%)
Essay #3: Due 5/4 (15%)
Homework/in-class writing (15%)
Presentation (10%)

Grades for Track A
(service-learning participants)
will reflect:
Service journal (15%)
Reflective research essay #4 (15%)

Grades for Track B
(diversity research)
will reflect:
Annotated bibliography/report (two parts; 15%)
Research-based Essay #4 (15%)

School: Kent State University
Professor: Dr. Andrea Adolph
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