M A I N * L I N K S


SUNY Fredonia
Division of Arts and Humanities
ENGL 500: Introduction to Graduate Studies in English
Fall 2008
Section 1: T 4:30-7, Fenton 154
Office: Fenton 265; MWF 1-2, Th 3-5, and by appointment; 673-3856
E-mail: simon@fredonia.edu, brucesimon18@yahoo.com
Web Page: www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/
ANGEL Space: https://angel.fredonia.edu/


About the Course Web Site

This web site is designed to help you get as much out of this course as possible--you can use it to find out what assignments are due and when, how your work will be assessed, how to use the course ANGEL space, and how to use the world-wide web for research, among other things. Please get in the habit of checking back to these pages to keep track of changes to the syllabus and advice on assignments, as well as to surf the ever-expanding list of links to interesting web pages related to the course. And please contact me anytime (see above for my coordinates) if you have ideas about how to improve these pages or the course as a whole.

I. Course Description

Introduction to research methods, strategies, and faculty expectations for reading and writing as a graduate student in literary studies. The course will also explore critical and pedagogical approaches, as well as historical and current trends in literary studies and related disciplines. This required 1.5-credit seminar aims to help graduate students achieve a deeper and broader perspective on the English department at SUNY Fredonia through consideration and contextualization of department goals and practices in curricular, professional, and institutional frames.

II. Rationale

In ENGL 500, as in most courses offered by the English Department, the goals of the professional programs are integrated with specific course goals. Achieving these goals (described in Section IV below) will require us to foster academic skills and intellectual habits of reading closely and carefully, thinking critically and creatively, listening actively and attentively, speaking thoughtfully and concisely, and writing clearly and analytically--skills and habits useful to everyone, but of particular importance to future teachers.

III. Textbooks. The textbooks adopted for this course are:

IV. Course Objectives and Outcomes

ENGL 500 is designed to prepare students for their future endeavors as English graduate students and new professionals in the field. Students will develop an understanding of the history, purposes, and domains of the discipline of English studies and of the current goals, requirements, structure, components, and content of the English major at SUNY Fredonia. To achieve these goals, students will

V. Instructional Methods and Activities

The methods used in the classroom will include lecture, in-class writing, guided discovery, open discussion, various kinds of cooperative group work, and other discussion-oriented activities.

VI. Evaluation and Grade Assignment

A. Methods

Preparation/Participation (10%). Regular attendance and thoughtful participation are crucial to your enjoyment of and success in this course. If there is absolutely no way for you to avoid missing a class, please contact me ahead of time or soon after your absence, preferably by email. More important than showing up on time, of course, is coming to class prepared and focused. I expect you to read what has been assigned for a given date at least once (and preferably more than that!) by the time we begin to discuss it in class, and to familiarize yourself with and think about the online discussion on the discussion forum in the course ANGEL space. This is a discussion rather than a lecture course, after all; although I will provide some context for and interpretations of our reading, the bulk of class time will be spent in discussions. Since it's difficult to make good contributions to discussions about a literary, critical, pedagogical, or theoretical work if you haven't read it carefully or thought about it extensively, how well you budget your time outside of class will to a large degree determine how well you do in this class in general and how well you do on this portion of your course grade in particular. In addition to in-class attendance, attendance at the campus events listed on the tentative class schedule below (see Section VIII) is also required; credit will be given for such attendance only after you have posted to a discussion forum on the course ANGEL space (see below).

Your grade for this segment of the course will be based on a combination of your attendance and your preparation/participation in class and on the course ANGEL space. As there are no exams in this course, think of my evaluation of your preparation/participation as a different but equally important method of assessing your overall performance and improvement in the course. The quality of your reading responses will be factored into this grade. Due to the reliance on attendance of preparation and participation, any unexcused absence will hurt your preparation/participation grade and each non-emergency absence after the first will lower your final course grade by one grade (e.g., with 2 such absences a B+ will become a C+; with 4, it will become an F).

Online Participation (5%). The discussion forum on our course ANGEL space will give you the chance to prepare for and extend our in-class discussions and, in so doing, develop your writing and critical thinking skills, demonstrate your engagement with the course material, and consider and respond to others' questions, ideas, experiences, and analyses. Here are some ways you can participate on it:


During the half-semester we'll be meeting, I will keep track of the timing, amount, and quality of your posts to the course discussion board, including the quality of the ensuing online discussions initiated by them. Your grade for this segment of the course will be determined by your total number of discussion forum posts: 0-3 will earn you an F, 4-7 a D, 8-11 a C, 12-15 a B, and 16+ an A.

Annotated Bibliography (10%). I will provide detailed information on the annotated bibliography on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/igse/ab.htm.

Critical Essay or Structured Field Experience (25%). I will provide detailed information on the five-to-seven-page critical essay/structured field experience on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/igse/cesfe.htm.

Literary Presentation (25%). I will provide detailed information on the closing 10-minute presentation on the work of your choice on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/igse/lp.htm.

Final Reflection (25%). I will provide detailed information on the five-to-seven-page final reflection on the course web site at http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/igse/fr.htm.

B. Grading. All work during the semester will be graded on a letter basis (A=outstanding, B=good, C=average, D=bad, F=awful) and converted into a number for purposes of calculating final grades. I use the following conversion system (the number in parentheses is the "typical" or "normal" conversion, but any number in the range may be assigned to a given letter grade):

A+=97-100 (98); A=93-96.99 (95); A-=90-92.99 (91); B+=87-89.99 (88); B=83-86.99 (85); B-=80-82.99 (81); C+=77-79.99 (78); C=73-76.99 (75); C-=70-72.99 (71); D+=67-69.99 (68); D=63-66.99 (65); D-=60-62.99 (61); F=0-59.99 (55)

Your final grade is determined by converting the weighted numerical average of the above assignments into a letter grade, according to the above scale.

C. Portfolio. All students should be aware of the English department's guidelines for ongoing portfolio submissions in their graduate program.

VII. Bibliography.

A. Contemporary References

B. Classic References

C. Key Journals



VIII. Course Schedule and Policies

A. Tentative Course Schedule. The following course schedule is subject to revision--please refer here regularly for updates to this schedule, notes on the texts, and suggestions for further reading.

T 8/26 INTRODUCTIONS/SET-UP. in class: introductions; course overview; survey; read and discuss "English" (Graduate Catalog 2007-2009 59-65); simulation: bring proposals to revise the requirements for the M.A. and M.S. in Ed. to our "department meeting." after class: read "Preface" and "General Introduction" (Keesey xi-xiii, 1-8) and "Criticism" (Abrams and Harpham 61-64); post a reading report on our ANGEL discussion forum documenting and discussing what you read in these texts to follow up on these overviews.

T 9/2 READING. before class: familiarize yourself with our goals and mission as well as your classmates' reading reports. in class: discussion: debriefing reading reports; reading as a graduate student; understanding and using different reading modes/strategies. after class: begin researching ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY on goals/missions of other M.A./M.S. in Ed. programs; choose and begin reading work for your LITERARY PRESENTATION.

T 9/9 WRITING. before class: post a paper you wrote as an advanced undergraduate or graduate student to our ANGEL discussion forum and share your own assessment of its strengths and weaknesses; bring a printout of the paper to class; review relevant sections of Gibaldi and Beyond Normal: Making Your Writing Devilishly Good (available in Resources area of course ANGEL space). in class: GUEST APPEARANCE: Virginia Horvath, English Department and Vice President of Academic Affairs, SUNY Fredonia; discussion: writing as a graduate student; watch "The Web Is Us/ing Us" and "Did You Know 2.0"; writing workshop. after class: keep reading work for your LITERARY PRESENTATION.

M 9/15 post completed ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY on goals/missions of other M.A./M.S. in Ed. programs to our ANGEL discussion forum by 11:30 pm.

T 9/16 CRITICAL THINKING/RESEARCH. before class: review relevant sections of Gibaldi and Beyond Normal that you didn't already consult when doing your annotated bibliography, familiarize yourself with your peers' annotated bibliographies. in class: GUEST APPEARANCES: Jan McVicker and Christina Jarvis, English Department, SUNY Fredonia; discussion: research as a graduate student; research tools, methods, and strategies; SUNY Fredonia's goals and mission in light of your research findings.

T 9/23 CURRICULUM. before class: read all of Carnochan; consider attending SUNY Fredonia's Teaching and Learning Conference (9 am-3 pm today). in class: meet at 4:30 pm by the Circulation Desk in Reed Library for a workshop with Dawn Eckenrode; afterward, we'll discuss issues raised by Carnochan in our regular classroom. after class: consider attending the Maytum Convocation Lecture by Marian Wright Edelman at 3:30 pm in King Concert Hall on W 9/24. Begin planning how to use one or both events this week in your critical essay or structured field experience. Keep reading work and begin researching its reception history for your LITERARY PRESENTATION.

T 9/30 PROFESSION. before class: read essays and excerpts from Gauri Viswanathan, Michael Berube, and Amitava Kumar (available in the Lessons area on our course ANGEL space). in class: discussion: connecting curricular and professional issues; history and politics of the profession; entering the profession/becoming a professional. after class: Begin writing your CRITICAL ESSAY (or planning how to use one or both events from last week for your STRUCTURED FIELD EXPERIENCE). Try to finish reading the work and your research on its reception history for your LITERARY PRESENTATION.

T 10/7 INSTITUTION. before class: read Bousquet, Ch. 1-4, 6 (1-156, 186-209). in class: discussion: conference call with Bousquet; comparison to local conditions and issues. after class: Keep writing your CRITICAL ESSAY (or decide how to use one or both events from last week for your STRUCTURED FIELD EXPERIENCE). Begin planning your LITERARY PRESENTATION.

T 10/14 LITERATURE. in class: LITERARY PRESENTATIONS. after class: Keep writing your CRITICAL ESSAY (or decide how to use one or both events from last week for your STRUCTURED FIELD EXPERIENCE). Begin writing FINAL REFLECTION; conclude arrangements for your STRUCTURED FIELD EXPERIENCE; you may continue posting to our ANGEL discussion forum until F 10/24.

M 10/20 CRITICAL ESSAY due by 11:30 pm in CE/SFE drop box on our course ANGEL space (students doing the STRUCTURED FIELD EXPERIENCE should turn in their proposal/plan, but will have more time to actually teach their class or mini-unit, assess it, and reflect upon it).

F 10/24 FINAL REFLECTION due by 11:30 pm in FR drop box on our course ANGEL space.

F 12/19 Completed STRUCTURED FIELD EXPERIENCE due by 11:30 pm in CE/SFE drop box on our course ANGEL space.

B. Class Policies

1. Attendance. As stated in Section VI above, barring emergencies any absence after the first will lower your final course grade by a full grade. Be aware that absences due to emergencies are the only absences that will not be counted toward your total for the semester. Emergencies include but are not limited to death in the family, hospitalization or serious illness, and natural disasters; scheduled and unavoidable school-sponsored events (games, meets, performances, etc.) are also counted as emergencies for the purpose of this attendance policy. Besides emergencies, the only other absences that won't affect your participation/preparation grade are excused absences. Please notify the instructor over email, in advance if possible and, if not, as soon after the absence as possible, if you wish an absence to be considered as an emergency or excused absence; the decision will be made at the instructor's discretion.

2. Online Participation. Please familiarize yourself with the college's "Computer and Network Usage Policy" (College Catalog 2007-2009, pp. 240-248) and check with your instructor first before posting something to the course ANGEL space that is not directly related to the course.

3. Late Assignments. Online posts that are not well-timed with the course material and fail to spark other students' interest and responses will not count the same as well-timed posts or posts that do inspire further discussion. Late annotated bibliographies and critical essays will not be accepted or graded. Only students who ask for an extension at least two days before the due date of any project will be granted an extension.

4. Plagiarism and Academic Integrity. To plagiarize is "to steal and pass off as one's own the ideas or words of another" (Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). SUNY Fredonia strongly condemns plagiarism and takes severe action against those who plagiarize. Disciplinary action may extend to suspension from privileges or expulsion from college. Please familiarize yourself with the college's "Academic Integrity Policy" (College Catalog 2007-2009, pp. 236-239, see also p. 222) and check with your instructor if you have any questions about it.

5. Cell Phones. Please turn them off before you enter the class. If you forget and yours rings, I'll be holding it the rest of the class.


M A I N * L I N K S



ENGL 500: Introduction to Graduate Studies in English, Fall 2008
Created: 9/2/08 12:00 pm
Last modified: 10/12/08 10:01 pm
Webmaster: Bruce Simon, Associate Professor of English, SUNY Fredonia