Getting library help is often your first step in any writing assignment. This set of links will help you get started.
This free, one-on-one tutoring center will help you focus and revise your compositions. Here are some resources.
This free, one-on-one tutoring center will help you focus and revise your compositions. Here are some online handouts to get you started.
Click on the link to bring up the current Writing Center hours.
navigating the center
Don't know how to schedule an appointment? Confused as to what you should bring to your Writing Center consultation? Everything is answered here.
How to study
If deadlines make you tear out your hair, here is a nice place to start. Check out the study guides, sample timetables, handouts and links at this Writing Center page.
Undergraduate Course Descriptions
SUMMER I 2013
Introduction to Professional Writing
This course introduces students to professional writing as a field of study while providing instruction in organizational research and writing skills beneficial to students from any discipline. Students will learn to analyze writing situations and produce both print and electronic texts, such as memos, email, documentation, and websites, for use in organizational contexts. Course work includes writing projects and presentations and involves service learning.
Introduction to Literary Studies
In this course we’ll refine our critical reading skills, sharpen our research, writing, and speaking skills, and learn major theoretical approaches to the study of written texts, including psychoanalysis, feminism, new historicism, deconstruction, and post-colonialism. In understanding how texts generate their (often contradictory) meanings, we’ll also see how those approaching texts are themselves “written” by both the texts before them and the cultural contexts in which they are themselves inscribed. In traditional literature classes, one often finds oneself in discussions of “what a text means,” but in this class we’ll shift our exploration of texts, focusing more on “how a text means” and “how we as readers are constructed to read in certain ways.” Through the analysis of poetry, of fiction, and of non-fiction, and through the methodical study of critical essays on those primary texts, we’ll learn the intricacies involved in negotiating the world through language. Students will produce a variety of essays, including research essays
American Literature since 1870
This course covers literature of the late-nineteenth century through the current moment. It challenges us to grasp the meanings and possibilities of literature in a global environment entangled in cultural “clutter.” In many ways, ENG 224 is a course in self-recognition as we encounter our literary and cultural “grandparents” amid the violence and shifts of the last hundred years.
Writing for Teachers
This required course for those seeking secondary English licensure will focus on preparing students to teach writing at the secondary level. Theoretical foundations and instructional strategies will be examined and students will produce model texts in the following genres that are ubiquitous in secondary schools: research, comparison/contrast, response to literature, persuasive, expository, and biography. We will also discuss skills such as vocabulary, grammar, brainstorming, prewriting, and basic paragraph structures. Scaffolding instruction, peer editing/review, alternative forms of assessment, and culturally relevant instruction will play critical roles in this course. Discussions will also cover requirements for on demand standardized writing assessment and how the Common Core State Standards and End of Course exams may impact future writing instruction.
Writing for Business
From short memos to major recommendation reports and beyond, written communication is often the glue that holds a workplace together. Successful workplace writers know how to write clearly, efficiently, and ethically. They are attentive both to the conventions of business genres and to the particulars of each rhetorical situation they encounter on the job. In this class, students will practice these skills, undertaking both individual and collaborative projects in order to become effective business writers.
Introduction to Linguistics
We begin with a brief introduction of speech production, or how speakers organize and produce sounds. Then we examine sentence structure and word meaning, learning to extract regularities from linguistic data. We conclude by discussing how knowledge about language patterns can be applied in context. This involves topics such as how English is spoken differently on the East and West coasts of the U.S., or in Britain vs. America, how speakers may talk differently to single- or mixed-gender groups, or how President Obama’s speech might be perceived differently by varied populations of speakers. Prerequisites: none.
Shakespeare’s Early Plays and Poems
This course considers several works chosen from those written in the first half of Shakespeare’s career. We will read six complete plays, including examples of history (Richard III), comedy (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and tragedy (Titus Andronicus); selected passages from another play (Henry VI, Part 3); a narrative poem (Venus and Adonis); and selected Sonnets. Attention will be given to a variety of critical approaches. Reading quizzes, informal responses, midterm exam, oral presentation, critical paper of at least 1500 words, final exam. Text: Bevington, ed., The Complete Works of Shakespeare, 7th ed.
Southern American Literature
We will examine the techniques which help define and distinguish the Southern Gothic literary tradition. Students will also learn to appreciate how southern writers engage various “divides” through characterization, metaphor, and imagery; such as: the divide of the self; the divide of our country into North and South; the divide between male and female; the divide between racial/ethnic groups; and the divide between good and evil. Requirements: weekly analytical essays, lead discussion as part of assigned group of facilitators, and a final exam. Texts include: McCullers, Ballad of the Sad Café; Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; and the instructor’s course pack which is available at the UNCW Bookstore.
Ways of Teaching Literature
The “I Don’t Like English” Literature Class: Although primarily designed for English Education majors who are working towards teacher licensure K-12, this class is open to all students interested in analyzing how literature is taught. Using an intertextual or “transactional” pedagogical approach to the study of literature, this course seeks strategies to engage even the most reluctant readers in the class by using dark themes as a way to entice resistant readers, especially male students who studies show lag significantly behind female readers. In addition to popular texts, students read challenged, banned or censored selections from all levels (elementary to high school) to reflect on their own individual responses and experiences to literature, to examine the underlying pedagogy of best practices, and then to create lessons incorporating those theories. We will learn the basics of connecting classics to contemporary texts, using more relatable, engaging, and even simpler texts to lead students to a deeper understanding of a more difficult text. By making connections to past texts they have encountered, examining strategies that past teachers have used, and connecting to others in their course community, students will learn how to use innovative and age-appropriate teaching methods.
Literature for Young Adults
In June 2011, The Wall Street Journal published an article that argued that children’s and young adult literature was “too dark.” This set off a firestorm of debates in Young Adult literature, education, library, and parenting circles. Our course will participate in this conversation as we explore constructions of both young adult literature and the young adult. We will look at the history of young adult literature from the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century conduct books, to the post-war phenomenon of the American teenager, to current young adult literature and authors. We will consider issues of genre, publication, marketing, and, of course, censorship. We will discuss the goals of young adult literature, especially when it comes to identity formation, and will pay special attention to how young adult literature handles issues of “otherness,” particularly in depictions of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, ability, and age. Ultimately, we will focus on the various boundaries against which young adult literature pushes, and consider content from the tame to the taboo.
Studies in Literature: —“Laughing Matters”: Contemporary American Humor
“Laugh, laugh, I thought I’d die / It seemed so funny to me.” (So, okay, to set yourself apart from the “common herd,” name that song and, better yet, name the group. You’ve got the whole course to work on this. Feel free to collaborate. Think of it as a shared learning experience and an exercise in solidarity.)
“Many native traditions held clowns and tricksters as essential to any contact with the sacred. People could not pray until they had laughed, because laughter opens and frees from rigid preconception. Humans had to have tricksters within the most sacred ceremonies lest they forget the sacred comes through upset, reversal, surprise. The trickster in most native traditions is essential to creation, to birth.” (Professor Byrd Gibbens, Professor of English, University of Arkansas at Little Rock [From a letter to George Carlin])
Or in other words,
“Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a guy’s head explode just by looking at him?”
“Sometime when you’re watching a street musician, walk over in the middle of a song and whisper to him that you don’t like his music. Then take a dollar out of his cup and walk away.”
“If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.”
“You know the good part about all those executions in Texas? Fewer Texans.”
“When you’re at someone else’s house, and they leave you alone in a room, do you look in the drawers? I do. I’m not trying to steal anything. I just like to know where everything is.”
“Electricity is just organized lightning.”
“’Coming soon to a theater near you.’ Actually, there is no theater near you. Look around your street. Is there a theater near you?”
“I saw a sign that said, ‘Coming soon—a 24-Hour Restaurant.’ And I thought, Well that’s unusual. Why would they open and close it so quickly? At least try it for a week or two, and see if you can build a clientele.”
George Carlin, “Short Takes” (Napalm and Silly Putty)
Regardless of the expression “laughing like a hyena,” laughter is supposedly unique to the human species. So it would seem, if only in terms of the human condition, that “laughing matters.” Come to think of it, we all enjoy a good laugh, whether the source of such voluble risibility is an off-color limerick, another befuddling day in the life of Homer Simpson, Cosmo Kramer’s latest “brilliant brain scheme,” the “funny papers,” or, in the case of our course, the manic adolescent escapades of Paul Feig and Jean Shepherd, George Carlin’s irreverent rants on everything under the sun (and moon, for that matter), the assorted true-life misadventures of David Sedaris and Beth Lisick, or Dave Barry’s reflections on the absolutely worst American pop song lyrics ever written—all of which should confirm beyond a doubt that, indeed, “laughter is the best medicine.”
Just to whet your appetite, here’s what reviewers have to say about a number of our featured texts:
“Written in side-splitting and often cringe-inducing detail, Paul Feig [in Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence] takes you in a time machine to a world of bombardment by dodge balls, ill-fated prom dates, hellish school bus rides, and other aspects of public school life that will keep you laughing in recognition and occasionally sighing in relief that you aren’t him. Kick Me is a nostalgic trip for the geek in all of us.”
“Welcome to the hilarious, strange, elegiac, outrageous world of David Sedaris. In Naked, Sedaris turns the current mania for the memoir on its proverbial ear, mining the exceedingly rich terrain of his life, his family, and his unique worldview—a sensibility at once take-no prisoners sharp and deeply charitable. A tart-tongued mother does dead-on imitations of her young son’s nervous tics, to the great amusement of his teachers; a stint of Kerouackian wandering is undertaken (of course!) with a quadriplegic companion; a family gathers for a wedding in the face of imminent death. Through it all is Sedaris’s unmistakable voice, without doubt one of the freshest in American writing.”
“Beth Lisick started out as a homecoming princess with a Crisco-aided tan and bad perm. And then everything changed. How exactly did this suburban girl next door end up as one of San Francisco’s foremost chroniclers of alternative culture, touring as the only straight woman with a band of punk rock lesbian poets and living in illegal warehouses—all while she managed to get married, buy a house, and have a baby? Lisick explains it all in her hilarious, irreverent memoir Everybody into the Pool. Among Lisick’s true tales are “My Way or the Bi-Way,” in which a series of girl-on-girl fiascos from UC Santa Cruz confirm her suspicions that she’s just a straight girl with a positive attitude who’d give anything the old college try; “The Lowly Hustle,” in which she takes on a litany of odd jobs to make ends meet (‘I was a college student designing my own minimum-wage job’); and the endearing story of her ‘courtship’ with her now husband Eli, who impresses her with a spastic rendition of a song called ‘The Wack-Ass Caucasian Two Step Chicken’ and invites her to his Mission District warehouse space—a world of feral raccoons and exploding sewage pipes. (It’s clear to Lisick that he’s ‘The one’).”
“When funnyman Dave Barry asked readers about their least favorite tunes, he thought he was penning just another installment of his weekly syndicated humor column. But the witty writer was flabbergasted by the response. ‘I have never written a column that got a bigger response than the one announcing the Bad Song survey,’ Barry wrote. ‘More than ten thousand readers voted, and the cards are still coming in.’ Based on the results from Dave Barry’s monumental survey, Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs is a compilation of some of the worst songs every written, including such special categories as Teen Death Songs, Songs That People Always Get Wrong, Songs Women Hate, and, of course, Weenie Music. As always, Dave Barry fans will relish this comic writer’s quirky take on whatever subject he approaches. Music buffs, too, will appreciate this humorous stroll through the world‘s worst lyrics. In fact, the only thing wrong with this book is that readers will find themselves unable to stop mentally singing the greatest hits of Garry Puckett.”
One final observation. Don’t let the title of our course mislead you. We’re talking serous business here—everything from such sobering realities as growing up absurd, growing up throwing up, sexual mis(s)-orientation, “lower education,” parenting, gainless employment, and, no less seriously, “neat freaks,” morning and evening people, throwing things out, tipping, New Year’s resolutions, school bullies, sadistic gym teachers, prom night, “dog moments,’ and standing (and standing and standing and standing) in line. So crank up your “risometer” and let’s get started. Text includes: Barry, Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs; Bryson, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail; Carlin, Napalm and Silly Putty; Feig, Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence; Lisick, Everybody into the Pool: True Tales; Sedaris, Naked; Shepherd, Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories” and Other Disasters.
In addition to a take-home final, which will constitute 25% of your final grade, you will be expected to produce ten pages of writing, which will constitute 75% of your final grade and which will be weighted proportionally based on the page length of your submitted essays. The focus/occasion for such essays may be critical and/or creative in nature. In the case of critical-analytical options, you might want to focus upon one of our featured humorists, in relation to whose work you might want to examine such aspects as topical focus and range (and what such a focus and range reveals about the author), recurring themes, style, tone, attitude, and self-fashioning (the author’s self-conscious shaping/creation of a distinctive persona). Should you choose to write an extended analysis of a particular humorist, you will no doubt want to draw upon additional unassigned selections by that humorist. Commendatory book-jacket “blurbs” might also provide you with a possible angle on your examination of a particular humorist. Or you might want to provide a comparative analysis of selections by two or more humorists dealing with a related topic—for example, Paul Feig’s and Jean Shepherd’s respective accounts of their high school proms, sexual awakening in selected essays by David Sedaris, Paul Feig, and Beth Lisick, or the role of family in relevant selections by various humorists. Or again, you might want to explore various connections between one our featured humorists and an unassigned humorist—for example, George Carlin and Chris Rock or Richard Pryor; or to explore connections between one of our assigned selections and a humorous film dealing with the same subject—for example, Jean Shepherd’s “Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss” and National Lampoon’s Summer Vacation. On the other hand, you might want to explore a personal connection with one or more of the assigned selections. For example, you might want to revisit a memorable family vacation of your own (for better or worse) in relation to Jean Shepherd’s “Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss,” recall a personal dating fiasco in relation to Beth Lisick’s “Didn’t I Almost Have It All?”, compile and measure your own inventory of “bad songs” against Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs, or provide your own personal “reactive-experiential take” on any of the topics addressed by George Carlin in Napalm and Silly Putty (for example, cats and dogs, supermarket shopping, cars and driving, airline travel, advertising, and “euphemistic bullshit”). Aside from exploratory personal connections with various of our assigned selections, you might want to write a humorous essay of your own—a particularly attractive option since we could, perhaps, compile a class anthology of original humor.
The Bible as/in Literature
Using the new Norton Critical Edition of the King James version, we will analyze selected passages from the Old and New Testaments in terms of their original contexts, their literary qualities, and their relationship to selected later works of literature that have been influenced by them. For example, we might consider the story of Noah’s Flood in Genesis on its own terms (its merging of two different sources, its use of symbolism, its “lesson”) and then consider how Chaucer appropriates it for the bawdy shenanigans in “The Miller’s Tale.” Undergraduate requirements: informal responses, midterm exam, oral presentation, critical paper of at least 2000 words, final exam. Graduate requirements: informal responses, oral presentation, annotated bibliography of at least eight items, critical/research paper of 4500-5000 words
SUMMER II 2013
Introduction to Journalism
This course will teach you about the craft of journalism and what it’s like to be a journalist. It is a very hands-on course. You will work outside of the classroom, on campus and in your community, to learn new things, speak to new people and develop compelling news stories. While the course is rooted in print journalism, you will also learn the basic multimedia skills required of a 21st-century journalist. In addition, you’ll learn the importance of deadlines, accuracy, newswriting style and ethical practice.
Introduction to Literary Studies
The UNCW course catalogue cites ENG 205 as “An introduction to literary studies in which students develop their knowledge of how to interpret and write about literature.” We will approach this mission through close readings, in depth class discussions, and research that is focused on the theories and criticisms associated with literature. You will enhance your interpretative and analysis skills as well as become more familiar with the engaging elements of scholarly discussions in the field of English.
British Literature to 1800
As a survey of British literature from Beowulf (first recited in the eighth century) to the death of Samuel Johnson (1784), the course will consider such major authors as Geoffrey Chaucer, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, John Milton, Jonathan Swift, and Samuel Johnson; a broad variety of genres, including narrative poetry, utopian fiction, tragedy, comedy, Christian epic, travel narrative, biography, and the periodical essay; topical and thematic concerns such as wit, imagination, art and nature, reason and passion, life choices, happiness, gender roles, marriage, and crime and punishment; such concerns as the value and purpose of literature, strategies of interpretation, and various factors that figure into the enduring permanence of our featured writers; and the relevance of selected works to other works of literature students have read, the current arena of local, national and international affairs, contemporary popular culture, and other academic courses students have taken. In addition to such standard canonical texts as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Ben Jonson’s Volpone, and John Milton’s Paradise Lost, we will also be reading and discussing a number of texts with which you are most likely familiar such as Mary Astell’s “Some Reflections upon Marriage,” Daniel Defoe’s “The Cons of Marriage,” Aphra Behn’s prose novella Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave, Eliza Haywood’s prose novella Fantomima; or, Love in a Maze, Jonathan Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room,” and Samuel Johnson’s prose novella The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia. Required texts: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (translated into modern English by Nevill Coghill); The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1B: The Sixteenth Century and the Early Seventeenth Century; The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol C: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century.
American Literature to 1870
This course focuses on literature produced in the United States before 1870. We will begin with American Indian, colonial and slave narratives, and then we will survey the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, the fiction of Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the nonfiction of Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. We will approach the readings from a variety of perspectives including historical context, and we will discuss texts through the prisms of gender, race and class, but most significantly we will delve into how early American literature helped define the America we live in today. This is a reading-intensive course that includes two analytical papers. Prerequisite: ENG-201 or 103, or with the permission of the instructor. Text: Cain, Anthology of American Literature, vol. 1.
Themes in Literature: Postmodernism
What, exactly, do we mean by Postmodernism? In this course, we will discuss this question at length as we analyze texts such as Auster’s City of Glass, Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, and Tarantino’s film, Pulp Fiction. In addition, we’ll consider postmodern art, short stories,and poetry, and the relevance of Postmodernism in our daily lives.
This is a fully online course. Assignments may include weekly discussion board items and writing assignments, essays, and exams.
In this online course you can expect to improve your writing skills through a series of practical exercises on such topics as identifying types of essays, using standard grammar and punctuation, defining audience and purpose, devising thesis statements, dividing up large tasks, drafting, writing, editing, proofreading, and presenting the final product. You will read a selection of online essays on various topics in order to analyze what makes successful writing, and you will write four essays, taking each through a series of drafts. Some essays will require you to explain; others will ask you to be persuasive. One essay will be a personal observation; another will require the support of others. It is important that your writing be clear, creative, and true to your voice.
Note: this course will be conducted online. Students must have reliable access to a computer and must be adept at using Blackboard, PowerPoint, and email. We will not have classroom meeting times. Instead, you are required to log onto Blackboard at least once per day to complete assignments. Blackboard tracks your activity, so I will know when you log in and what work you complete each time.310-001
Theory and Practice of Editing
Instruction in strengthening the backbone of writing. Course work includes extensive practice in the fundamentals of punctuation and grammar, editing, copyediting and rewriting, all done with an eye to preparing work for publication. Privacy and libel law are examined. Texts include: Media Writer's Handbook and The Associated Press Stylebook.
Writing for Business
Professional writing is not just crossing the T's and dotting the I's. Writing on the job requires knowing the types of documents that are familiar to our bosses and co-workers, so they can find information quickly. Each of these documents has certain conventions and requirements we need to master to communicate effectively - and efficiently - in the workplace. In this course, we will focus on analyzing and producing rhetorically effective workplace writing with an eye to audience awareness, using different genres, and developing a professional tone throughout. Students will work individually and in groups on projects that range from letters and resumes to reports and proposals. The course is suitable for students of any major who want to improve their professional writing skills and thus their career potential. Text: Meyer, Sebranek, and Van Rhys, Write for Business/A Compact Guide to Writing & Communicating in the Workplace.