Writing & Pedagogy Coordinator

Each year, the Department appoints an advanced graduate student to coordinate a series of engaging workshops on writing and pedagogy. In consultation with the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and the graduate student body, the Writing and Pedagogy Coordinator assembles a workshop schedule devoted to various aspects of graduate students’ work as scholars, writers, and teachers. Often, these workshops feature faculty and advanced graduate students. For AY 19-20, the Writing & Pedagogy Coordinators are Sarah Panuska (Fall 2019) and Jess Travers (Spring 2020). The Writing & Pedagogy Coordinators will also hold regular office hours: 

Sarah Panuska (panuskas@msu.edu) | Tuesdays, 2-3pm, FS 2019

Jess Travers (traver11@msu.edu) | TBA

Everything You Wanted to Know about Teaching IAH But Were Afraid to Ask (PART 1)

August 22, 4-5 PM, Wells C-607

 This workshop is geared toward new graduate students in our program, as well as other members of our graduate community who are assigned the teaching assistant position for MSU’s Integrative Arts and Humanities (IAH) classes. This workshop will start with the basics, including what your duties and responsibilities are, as well as a grad student’s perspective on how to effectively balance the workload with your scholastic responsibilities as a graduate student. The workshop aims to students who may be approaching this IAH assistantship with no teaching experience, while also helping students who do have some teaching experience navigate the teaching assistant role. You will get an idea about what kind of student will be teaching, what kind of training that student has had before taking an IAH class, as well as some advice on how to manage the needs of your students through the course of the semester. Additionally, several of the department’s peer mentors will offer their advice and experiences on what has worked for them in their semesters as IAH graduate assistants.

Everything You Wanted to Know about Teaching IAH But Were Afraid to Ask (PART 2)

 TBA: Tentatively, Friday Sept 6 or Sept 13th

This workshop will serve as a low-key follow-up to the workshop held for new graduate students and those teaching MSU’s Integrative Arts and Humanities classes. It will provide a space for talking through how your first few weeks as a recitation leader/new graduate student have gone. As a group, we will discuss what’s been fun, exciting, and also what challenges you have faced. We will work to help find solutions to any issues that may have arisen—those we may have expected and those we have not. The workshop will offer a safe space for frank discussion among graduate students where we can cut loose, check-in, and help manage any anxiety or uncertainties you may have.

Comps 101

Friday Oct. 4, 2:00-4:00

You might be nearing the end of coursework and are thinking about how best to tackle your comprehensive exam experience. This workshop will give you a place to start by thinking about how to wrangle your interests into comprehensive exam lists, along with some general advice on how the comprehensive exam proposal document might emerge through those lists. Dr. Scott Michaelsen will attend, and talk us through a variety of approaches that his students have taken. Our main goal for this workshop is to have you leave with a concrete plan of action that will help you begin the process of narrowing down your interests, articulating your research questions, and drafting that all-important proposal document.

Demystifying Publication

Tentatively: Nov 1 at 2PM

Given the realities of the academic job market, publishing your scholarship is essential to making yourself marketable. No matter where you are in the course of your graduate student career, it is never too early (or too late) to start taking publication seriously. This workshop hopes to make the publication process more approachable by talking to Kurt Milberger of our own MSU Press. Our goals in this workshop are to get an insider’s perspective on all of our burning questions about publishing as graduate students. What sets a seminar paper apart from a publishable article? What does peer review actually look like? How does one communicate with editors? Answering questions like this, this workshop aim to provide a unique perspective on what it takes to publish and how you can get started transforming those publication aspirations from anxiety-producing obstacles to into achieved professional goals.

Close Reading

Friday, January 24, 2-4pm.

This workshop focuses on how and why to teach close reading in both the literature and film classrooms. We will consider how close reading can benefit our students and what learning goals can be fostered via this practice. For instance, how can close reading help students engage with and analyze texts in new and surprising ways? Also, what kinds of skills does close reading give students that reach beyond reading a text? Additionally, we talk about how close reading can be a way to facilitate classroom discussion and look at strategies to that end. Guest graduate students and/ or faculty members will join us to share their close reading best practices. Please bring your ideas, experiences, and questions!

Feminist Pedagogies

Friday, February 21, 2-4pm

During this workshop, participants will discuss what feminist pedagogies are and how and why to employ them in the classroom. Because emphases on diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality are central tenets of feminist pedagogy, these classroom elements will be part of this workshop. Our time will also be combined with questions and conversations about teaching as a form of social justice work. For instance, is all or any teaching social justice work? Can it be? Should it be? Guest graduate students and/ or factually members will join us to share their own feminist teaching practices and what it means to them to be a feminist pedagogue. As usual, please bring your ideas, experiences, and questions. Also feel free bring a syllabus you have used before or one you are planning to use, as there may be time to discuss how to make your syllabus “more feminist” (and, of course, this means more than simply adding more works made by woman-identified folks).

What is Writing?

Friday, March 20, 2-4pm

In this workshop we will gather to discuss what constitutes writing. In so doing, let’s talk about what “counts” as writing. For example, if you work on citations or outlining during your daily writing time, can that be considered as writing? What about typing out quotes? How about when finding a quote leads you to read rather than write? In other words, writing can’t just be about getting sentences on the page, right? Time will also be devoted to thinking about different kinds of writing—we’ll discuss writing across different media (i.e. video or photographic essays) and writing across genres (i.e. blogging, reviews, or non-academic writing). Graduate student and/ or faculty members will join us to talk about their writing processes, and please bring your ideas and questions.

Diversity Statement Workshop

Friday, April 17, 2-4pm

It is becoming more and more common that a diversity statement is required as part of the job market materials package. The purpose of this workshop, then, is to discuss what a diversity statement should include, the kinds of language it should use, and what exactly it should communicate to a potential employer. We will also think about how to highlight your own professional experience in this document and take a look at samples. As always, please bring your ideas, experiences, and questions.


Professionalization: What is (on) a CV?

This will be a two-part professor-led workshop. In the first half, professors will describe and detail what belongs on a CV, what does not, how to strategize the presentation of accomplishments, type of language to use, difference between resume and CV, etc. In the second half, attendees will work in break-out groups with one of the workshop faculty to go over, get feedback on, and ask questions about attendee CVs. The purpose of this workshop is to familiarize graduate students with basic purpose, function, and language of CVs. This workshop is ideal for all graduate students, but especially recommended for those going on the job market.

Writing: The Comprehensive Exam Proposal

This writing workshop will focus on the how-to of the comprehensive proposal, building a list, studying for the exams, and jumping from comprehensive exams to the dissertation. It will feature a panel of faculty discussing the process, and a second panel of post-exam (ABD) students who can share their personal insights, tips, strategies, etc. While each student’s exam process is idiosyncratic and based in part on their committee’s demands, the workshop will benefit students by allowing them to share strategies for thriving during the often dreaded, but ultimately rewarding, process. This workshop is suggested for all first-, second-, and third-year PhD students and any MA students who want to look ahead to the process.

Writing: The Dissertation Proposal

This writing workshop will focus on the how-to of the dissertation proposal. Like the comprehensive exam workshop, it will feature faculty and students who have completed their proposals discussing tips, strategies, and logic behind the dissertation proposal. The goal is to familiarize students with the genre of the proposal and give them a space to ask questions of colleagues who have gone through the process, to share information in the face of this great big step toward the dissertation, ultimately to remind proposal writers that we’re all in this together! This workshop is ideal for fourth- and fifth-year students working on their dissertation proposal, and any lower-level PhD or MA students who want a “peek” at the process.

Pedagogy: Designing Innovative Assignments

This workshop tackles assignment design. Because so much of our time is spent thinking about our syllabuses, what to add and what to cover, and because it is easy to fall into well-trod patterns of assignment types (quizzes, essays, etc.), this workshop seeks to jump start pedagogical thinking about alternative and innovative ways to engage students, meet learning goals, and lead a dynamic course. The workshop will feature faculty and advanced graduate students who work regularly with innovative or non-traditional/creative assignments, who will share the assignments they use and walk through their benefits and implementation. The workshop will also offer space for brainstorming ways to incorporate those or others innovative assignment types into your own classroom, whether in IAH recitations, WRAC, or standalone ENG courses.

Pedagogy: Diversity, Inclusion, and Classroom Management

This workshop responds to the notion that including diversity in syllabus text selection is not enough to combat systemic forces of oppression that our texts deal with, especially if the classroom discussions are unsafe, dominated by singular voices, or not productive in eliciting the sort of eye-opening thought toward issues of difference that we seek to teach about. As such, this workshop is facilitated by faculty and graduate students to discuss methods for designing diversity and radical inclusion into classroom management, from syllabus and assignment design, to discussion-leading and activity-based strategies for encourage safe, open, and illuminating academic growth. The format of this workshop is up in the air pending discussion with faculty and student workshop leaders.