Teaching Profile and Philosophy

My teaching philosophy stresses engaged teaching and learning, where I challenge my students to move beyond their comfort zones and take risks.  My classes are inquiry-driven and form a community of practice.  They focus on the craft of writing, and larger rhetorical or theoretical points are always anchored in their own writing.  I teach “on the page,” and the student’s own work becomes generative, opening new perspectives for all in the class.  My assignments typically stress opportunities for ethnographic work in a service-learning or civic-engagement context, or work done in the context of a client or real-world project.  I am quite interested in the connections between writing and design, as I see writing to be a design art.

My teaching is anchored in a deep engagement with the field of rhetoric and composition, as reflected in my publications and conference presentations.  My research questions invariably spring from my classrooms and the curricular contexts in which they are set, and the fruits of that research and my ongoing engagement in a national scholarly conversation likewise feed back into my teaching on campus.

Teaching on the Page

For a short essay on the concept of “teaching on the page,” see this pdf:

Teaching on the Page essay

PDF 76.5 kB

Interdisciplinary Writing Certificate

Beyond my own classroom teaching, I have been deeply involved in curriculum development—both in the Program for Writing and Rhetoric and on the CU-Boulder campus.  A key focus of late has been the developmentof an Interdisciplinary Certificate in Writing.  Approved in Spring 2018, the Certificate represents a partnership among seven units across three schools and colleges: the Program for Writing and Rhetoric, English, Linguistics, Education, Communication, Journalism, and Media Studies.

The Certificate is designed for flexibility, and seeks to engage students in writing (broadly conceived), no matter what their major is.  An electronic portfolio serves as a capstone experience.


Both in the Program for Writing and Rhetoric and on campus, I have become a champion for eportfolios, or electronic portfolios.  Portfolios foster reflection and synthesis across educational experiences—both in the classroom and beyond. We might think of such portfolios as a "Composing across the Disciplines" opportunity, through which students could reflect during their undergraduate careers on what they're studying and why it matters--both personally and professionally, and as members of a larger community.

Identified portfolios as a key “high-impact educational practice” (HIP), ePortfolios facilitate key learning practices: (1) inquiry, (2) reflection, and (3) integration, as well as serving as a means to (4) cultivate student voice and agency, to (5) showcase learning, for constituencies both on and beyond our campus, and to (6) provide both formative and summative assessment opportunities focused squarely on student learning.

Key Courses

  • Technical Communication and Design (WRTG 3035)

This course is a rhetorically informed introduction to technical writing that hones communication skills in the context of technical design activities.  I treat design as a collaborative, user-oriented, problem-based activity, and technical communication as a rhetorically informed and persuasive design art.  Taught as a writing seminar emphasizing critical thinking, revision, and oral presentation skills, the course focuses on client-driven design projects and effective communication with multiple stakeholders.  Over the semesters, my students have engaged in some 125 client projects.

  • Writing for Emerging Workplaces (WRTG 3045)

This course seeks to develop writing competencies to help young professionals enter dynamic workplaces that will constantly evolve.  The course seeks to engage not just the workplace professionals already know, but also the future of work that our graduates might anticipate.  The course foregrounds design activities that can facilitate ‘wayfinding’ in students’ professional futures, and that can help them rapidly prototype experiences to lend clarity to choices and to improve how we might recognize emerging career options.  Throughout, the course emphasizes design thinking, problem (re)framing, and ongoing, rapid prototyping.

  • Writing on Science and Society (WRTG 3030)

This course is a rhetorically informed introduction to science writing that hones communication skills as we examine the relationships among science, engineering, and society, and the manner in which scientific and technical information moves across different rhetorical contexts and becomes relevant to a variety of audiences.  Students examine the rhetorical life of scientific fact and the ethical questions that emerge as science and engineering move into areas of public policy.

  • Advanced Honors Writing (HONR 3220)

The course addresses the intellectual and rhetorical challenges of producing a major piece of scholarship, often a section or aspect of an honors thesis, and or a major paper that can be used as a prelude to a possible honors thesis.  The course explores the intellectual challenges of defining and refining the thesis topic and formulating a specific research question, as well as the rhetorical challenges of preparing a thesis prospectus.  Throughout, the course explores the role of language and rhetoric in composing how and what we know, and the influence of disciplinary conventions on processes of inquiry.  With the collaboration and thoughtful feedback of  colleagues in class, students have the opportunity to engage in independent scholarship in their area of expertise.

  • Additional Courses

Advanced Honors First-Year Writing and Rhetoric (WRTG 1250)

Composing Knowledge (WRTG 3020 Topics in Writing)

Field Studies in Civic Engagement (WRTG 3020 Topics in Writing)