By Sarah Madsen Hardy
When Joe introduced WRX in 2013, he said that one of the initiative’s goals was to make our program more interesting. The exciting line-up of new WRX courses for next year suggests that this plan has been working.
In 2015-16, Holly Schaaf and Christina Michaud will be collaborating on a WRX 100 course that features “more decision, and less revision” exploring alternatives to one of our program’s most standard practices. Holly is also working with Anna Panszczyk on a WR 150 assignment sequence that asks students to explore several disciplinary approaches as part of a semester-long inquiry. Jason Prentice is developing a WRX 150 that incorporates digital writing, and Tony Wallace, Bill Marx, and James Pasto are piloting an assignment sequence that uses response papers and Williams’ Style at the beginning of WR 150. Melanie Smith and Seth Blumenthal are designing a WR 150 course that incorporates service learning and research related to the upcoming presidential campaign. And, last but not least, Kim Shuckra-Gomez and Maria Zlateva will join forces to offer a pair of Mediated Integration sections of Theater Now at the 150-level next spring 2016. Clearly our faculty has a lot of ideas about reinventing WR 150.
The WRX Initiative’s first set of experimental classes has also completed its two-year pilot period and is ready for prime time. Nineteen Writing Program instructors so far have worked together on WRX courses, and more instructors will adapt these new approaches to their own subjects and styles next year.
Last fall three pairs of WR 100 instructors taught Mediated Integration courses, Food for Thought, Found in Translation, and The Melting Pot, where standard and ESL sections shared a topic and met periodically. Mediated Integration will carry on in Fall 15 with the addition of what is sure to be a dynamic Kevin and Brandy Barents collaboration. This spring, seven instructors taught an alternative WR 150 assignment sequence focusing on genre awareness and culminating in an essay for a public intellectual audience in courses ranging from The American Road to Visual Cultures of the Middle East. The Genre and Audience cluster is happy that James Pasto, Aaron Hiltner, and Melissa Wessels have signed on to join them next year. Creative Composition and Fairy Tale courses will continue to develop new models for incorporating creative writing into the composition classroom among their other contributions. And in Spring 16 Katherine Stebbins McCaffrey will join Deb Breen in a WR 150 course designed around collaborative research projects that focus on the BU community.
You can click on any of the names or course topics above for contact information, so please talk to your colleagues if you are interested in trying any of these approaches.