Summer 2011 Courses

Summer 2011 Courses

Department of English

Summer 2011 Course Offerings

**5000-level courses are open to both graduate and undergraduate students.**

Summer I

ENGL 3050: Practical Writing ENGL 4440: Studies in the Novel
ENGL 3210: American Literature II ENGL 4970: Writing in the Secondary School
ENGL 3660: Advanced Fiction Writing ENGL 5970: Language, Gender, and Culture
ENGL 3690: Writing in the Elementary School ENGL 5970: New Play Project
ENGL 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader  


Summer II

ENGL 3050: Practical Writing ENGL 4970: English and the Language Ecology of Michigan
ENGL 3310: British Literature II ENGL 5830: Multicultural Adolescent Literature
ENGL 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader ENGL 5980: Third Coast Writing Project


Summer I

English 3050: Practical Writing
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 5:20; Brown 1045
Dr. Charlotte Thralls

English 3050 is a course designed to develop your confidence and competency in written communication. Whatever your future career plans or your current, favorite media for communicating (print, digital, twitter, Facebook or other social media), you are likely to need strong writing skills. Numerous studies, for example, show that employers place communication skills at the top (first or second place) of their most valued qualities in employees. Many of you might be surprised at how central writing is in the day-to-day life of most professionals. To help prepare you for the challenges ahead, this class will expand your writing repertoires beyond the academic essay or research paper. Through various class projects, you will

  • Become familiar with the formats and rhetorical challenges of various practical genres and document formats (memos, reports, manuals, web text, visual displays and designs etc.).
  • Develop skill for anticipating (and addressing) the needs and reactions of audiences to communications in different contexts.
  • Learn the fundamentals of reader-centered communication, including the fundamentals of document design and readability used to create well-crafted documents.
  • Learn some documents and communication habits typical for professionals in your discipline.

This course is approved as a writing intensive course which may fulfill the baccalaureate-level writing requirement of the student‘s curriculum.

English 3210: American Literature II
Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 – 2:30; Brown 1048
Dr. Philip Egan

The summer section of American Literature II will use Volume Two of the Shorter Seventh edition of The Norton Anthology of American Literature (ISBN 9780393930559). We will read a selection of major poets, fiction writers, and playwrights of American literature from the late 19th century to the present, including (but certainly not limited to): Mark Twain, Henry James, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Tennessee Williams. We'll fit in other authors as we can. Students will do lots of short writing, take quizzes, deliver an in-class report, write a longer paper toward the end, and take a final exam.

English 3660: Advanced Fiction Writing
Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:00 – 5:30; Brown 2021
Professor Richard Katrovas

This will be a traditional "workshop" in which the group critiques one another‘s short stories and novel chapters. We will also read classic and contemporary short stories with an eye to understanding how they are structured and how they achieve their effects. Some of the writing for the course may be in response to assignments. Each student will generate a minimum of thirty pages of prose fiction. There will be a strong emphasis on copyediting.

Professor Katrovas is a tough critic but a relatively lenient grader. The cumulative GPA for the course will likely be approximately 3.2.

English 3690: Writing in the Elementary School
Mondays and Wednesdays, 6:00 – 9:20; Brown 3045
Dr. Karen Vocke

Students in English 3690 assume roles of both teacher and writer. We study what research teaches about the needs and interests of K-8 students, identifying the widely varying experiences and interests that individual students bring with them to our classes. In English 3690 we focus on how to teach young students to write and, just as important, how they can use writing to think and to learn. We focus broadly on the writing development of children in pre-school through middle school, especially focusing on strategies that teachers use to (1) encourage and respond to student writing, (2) assess writing growth, (3) link writing and reading, and (4) use writing as a means of learning. This course emphasizes writing as an integral component of the entire curriculum and demonstrates the use of powerful mentor texts for teaching craft, grammar, and vocabulary.

English 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 – 9:00; Brown 1048
Dr. Judith Rypma

English 3830 focuses on criticism of works for children in grades 4 through 8, with a focus on critical thinking and close literary analysis. Works read include a variety of novels, epics, myths, poems, biographies, etc. This a lecture and discussion class, and serves as a content course for both education and non-education majors. It also fits Distribution Area 2.

Texts will include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Spinelli's Eggs, Nikki Grimes' Bronx Masquerade, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Devil's Arithmetic, The Giver, and Tuck Everlasting. A variety of handouts of myths, hero tales, and poems will also be provided.

English 4440: Studies in the Novel
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 5:20; Brown 3048
Dr. Jon Adams

The WMU undergraduate catalog describes ENGL 4440 as:

The study of the development and diversity of the novel as a literary form. Emphasis will be on the novel from the eighteenth- to the early twentieth-century. Attention shall be paid to the critical and theoretical bases of interpretation. This course is approved as a writing-intensive course which may fulfill the baccalaureate-level writing requirement of the student's curriculum. Prerequisites: Two courses that count toward the English major at the 300-level.

We‘ll fulfill part of this description by studying theories of the birth and rise of the novel, which we‘ll use to inform our reading of the 6 contemporary novels listed below. In process, we‘ll also consider theoretical, cultural, and aesthetic influences on the production of the contemporary novel generally, but also of the specific novels we read.

Requirements: Regular, attentive reading; formal and informal writing assignments (essays and reading responses, respectively); daily attendance; and daily participation in classroom discussion.


(Author, Title, Publisher, ISBN)

Coetzee, J.M., Waiting for the Barbarians, Penguin, 014006110X

Cooper, T., Lipshitz 6, or Two Angry Blondes, Plume, 9780452288065

Didion, Joan, Democracy, Vintage, 0679754857

Hawthorn, Jeremy, Studying the Novel, Hodder-Arnold, 0340887877

Lennon, J., Robert On the Night Plain, Picador, 0312420862 (out of print)

Swift, Graham, Waterland, Vintage, 9780679739791

English 4790: Writing in the Secondary School
Mondays and Wednesdays, 6:00 – 9:20; Brown 3037
Dr. Allen Webb

Learning to write can empower students to trust and value their own words and voice, to inquire more deeply into knowledge and ideas, to be creative, to better understand themselves and the world around them, and to speak out clearly and cogently on topics that matter.

Facilitating the power of writing will be the focus of this section of English 4790 Teaching Writing in the Secondary Schools. Aspiring and practicing teachers will write about their own experiences learning to write, learn about leading writing workshops, effective ways to improve student writing, and help make writing meaningful. We'll think about how to help secondary students meet Michigan and national standards.

We‘ll focus, too, on writing in the digital age and using new tools for composing, collaboration, revision, and publication, and draw on research in teaching of writing.

The work we do will help you develop your pedagogical content knowledge in English education.

Class will be held in a wireless, laptop classroom in Brown Hall specifically designed for English education courses. This room will allow us to integrate technology into language arts teaching in a "classroom of the future." Our class will be organized by our on-line syllabus that also serves as an electronic, hyperlinked, textbook. Students will work extensively with new digital writing platforms.

Technological change is reshaping the world our students will be living in. Course discussions will be significantly extended in the class on-line discussion forum on the English Companion Ning, a remarkable resource with, at the time our course begins, over 20,000 English teacher members.

As the capstone experience for English Education majors, this course entails an exciting variety of professional activities and responsibilities. You should join NCTE,MCTE, and/or MRA and read regularly the English Journal or Voices from the Middle.

English 5970: Studies in English
Language, Gender, and Culture
Mondays and Wednesdays, 6:30 – 9:00; Brown 1048
Dr. Lisa Minnick Fulfills: Ph.D. requirement for English Language or Linguistics Course; M.A.-level elective

Language, Gender, and Culture explores internal (linguistic) mechanisms in relation to external (social) structures, the result of which interaction is our language, a complex human tool constructed as much by our most deeply held beliefs and attitudes as to meet our communicative needs.

In English 5970, we will consider the social and academic contexts that gave rise to "language and gender" as an area of inquiry and analyze its theoretical and methodological developments from early research to the present. We will also consider the influences of culture, power, and ideology on language and on the complex ways that speakers deploy the linguistic options available to them in the construction and performance of identity. Additionally, control of and authority over language in its public and private uses will be explored, along with the tradition of linguistic rebellion in response to prevailing attitudes and ideologies about gender, sexuality, and culture, as well as about language itself.

In addition to learning about theories and practices of research into language, culture, gender, and sexuality, students will also learn general linguistic terms, concepts, theories, and methods. No previous coursework in linguistics is required (although it is welcome), but curiosity and interest are essential.

English 5970: Studies in English
The “New” New Play Project—Live Serial
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 – 11:50 and 7:00 – 10:00; Gilmore Theatre Complex 1119
Dr. Steve Feffer and Professor Mark Liermann
Fulfills: M.F.A. or Ph.D. CW workshop requirement

Now in its eighth summer, WMU’s New Play Project has developed and presented nearly one hundred student written, directed and performed new student plays in a collaboration between the English and Theatre Departments.

This Summer I, the New Play Project will continue its mission of exploring the new play rehearsal process with an exciting new wrinkle. The course will still be team taught by English Department playwriting professor Steve Feffer and Theatre Department directing professor Mark Liermann, and will still include 15 playwrights, 20 actors, 5 directors and weekly public performances.

However, New Play Project Eight will consider some of the other ways that new dramatic work reaches the stage—with a special focus on devised and ensemble creation through the development and staging of a weekly ―live serial,‖ with a new episode staged every week (sometimes twice a week) during the course of the project.

The playwrights will begin their work by developing stories and characters with the actors and directors—leading to an overall story arc, theme and cast of characters. Then, working in teams of writers, each week a new half hour script/episode of the ongoing serial will be written, developed, rehearsed and performed for the public in a full production in the York Arena Theatre. Each writing team will then alternate as the lead group for multiple episodes, as the serial continues through out the term. We also hope to stage live ―next week on‖ and ―previously on‖ previews and trailers during the course of the work, and other such performance projects.

Playwrights will have the opportunity to write and work in a collaborative theatre form that has become increasingly more prevalent, while also being exposed to the nature of writing as a team that is fairly common in television writing. Students who have previously been interested in television and screenwriting will find this an excellent opportunity to experiment with writing for the live stage.

Enrollment is by the approval of the instructors. Interested students should submit a completed short play or screenplay (ten pages minimum and sixty pages maximum) to Dr. Steve Feffer at by Monday, March 7th (Please note: this is the day after Spring Break.). Please include with your submission all necessary contact information and a little background on your dramatic writing experience (courses taken, plays or screenplays written, theatre experience, etc.).

The course meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 AM to Noon with additional meetings, rehearsals and performances Tuesday and Thursday nights 7 PM to 10 PM.

For seven summers the New Play Project has been providing a unique and rare opportunity for WMU’s dramatic writers to explore new work, and this summer promises to be unique and rare even for the New Play Project.

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Dr. Steve Feffer via email.

Summer II

English 3050: Practical Writing
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 5:20; Brown 1045
Dr. Staci Perryman-Clark

A practical course for juniors and seniors who wish to develop their skills in writing. Emphasis is on understanding the writing forms of non-fictional prose such as research papers and reports; personal writing, and pre-professional writing (for students planning careers in business, social service, industry, law, the arts, or other professions).

English 3310: British Literature II
Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:00 – 5:30; Brown 2037
Dr. Christopher MacLean-Nagle

This course provides an intensive introductory survey of British literature from the past two centuries. This era can be divided into three distinct periods: Romantic, Victorian, and Modern. Writers of the Romantic period (roughly 1780 to 1830) were inspired by dramatic social change in the American and French revolutions and initially sought to revolutionize literature by adopting what poet William Wordsworth called the "language really used by men."

The Victorian era, named for the Queen who ruled Britain from 1837 to 1901, was also revolutionary, even though it has become associated with tradition and repression. Advances in science, industry, and trade made Victorian Britain the most powerful nation on earth, but writers and artists also lamented its staggering poverty, gender inequality, declining morals, and increasing sense of uncertainty. This uncertainty came to a head in the twentieth century with a host of changes—the rise of cities, shifts in gender dynamics, the psychological devastation of world war, and the steady decline of Britain‘s empire. Major writers from each of these eras will be covered and the contexts of their writing explored, so that students emerge from this course with a strong sense of the most important literary and cultural influences in the British tradition during these centuries.

English 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:20; Brown 1048
Dr. Judith Rypma

English 3830 focuses on criticism of works for children in grades 4 through 8, with a focus on critical thinking and close literary analysis. Works read include a variety of novels, epics, myths, poems, biographies, etc. This a lecture and discussion class, and serves as a content course for both education and non-education majors. It also fits Distribution Area 2.

Texts will include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Spinelli's Eggs, Nikki Grimes' Bronx Masquerade, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Devil's Arithmetic, The Giver, and Tuck Everlasting. A variety of handouts of myths, hero tales, and poems will also be provided.

English 4970: Studies in English
English and the Language Ecology of Michigan
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 – 4:30; Brown 3037
Dr. Paul Johnston

In this course, the history of the ecology of languages of Michigan is explored from a sociolinguistic standpoint. While the centerpiece of the course is a description of the formation, preservation, and leveling processes involved in the development of the two main English dialects spoken in the state, the use of other languages that have been important in the past and present will also be described in detail. This will include the Iroquoian and Algic indigenous languages; the dialect of the French settlers who were here in the eighteenth century; immigrant languages such as German, Finnish, Norwegian, Italian, Polish, and more recently, Spanish; and English dialects such as African-American Vernacular English, Upper Southern (Appalachian) and Canadian English, all of which wove their threads in the patchwork quilt that is Michigan English.

English 5830: Multicultural Adolescent Liteature
Mondays and Wednesdays, 6:30 – 9:00; Brown 2021
Dr. Gwen Tarbox
Fulfills: Ph.D. requirement for Non-traditional literature; M.A. or M.F.A. elective; M.A. in English with an emphasis in teaching multi-cultural literature requirement and/or children’s literature requirement

This course draws upon a variety of fields – cultural studies, youth studies, and literary history – to explore contemporary multicultural literature about and for young adults. As part of our discussion, we will ask the following questions:

  • What are the characteristics of contemporary multicultural literature? Why should it or should it not be studied separately from, say, the Bildungsroman or mainstream adolescent literature?
  • Who are the key critics who write about multicultural literature for or about adolescents? What are the conventions of critical works that treat multicultural authors, texts, and issues?
  • What are the themes that have emerged in the last 20 years regarding multicultural literature for or about adolescents?

Participants in the course will discuss, on average, one short novel per week and complete the following assignments: mid-term and final examinations, an annotated bibliography, and periodic in-class writing assignments designed to encourage reflection on the texts and ideas generated during class discussion.

Tentative Text List:

Abdel-Fattah, Randa. Does My Head Look Big in This? New York: Scholastic, 2007. ISBN:

Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2007. ISBN: 978-0316013697.

Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007. ISBN: 978-0374531263.

Na, An. Step from Heaven. New York: Penguin, 2001. ISBN: 978-0142500279.

Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. New York: Pantheon, 2007. ISBN: 978-0375714832.

Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese. New York: Square Fish, 2007. ISBN: 978-0312384487.

English 5980: Readings in English
Third Coast Writing Project 
Time and Location: TBA Dr. Ellen Brinkley
Fulfills: English Education Ph.D. specialization requirement; M.A.-level and Ph.D. elective

2011 Summer Program Schedule

1. TCWP Invitational Summer Institute
June 20-July 15, 2011

Now in our 18th summer, participants work with guest writers and with teachers who write professional articles, poems, editorials, personal narratives, digital stories, and more. Summer fellows read the work of strong writing mentors and learn from each other. They create curricular writing workshops that help them use writing to teach and learn in all content areas. This program includes a significant tuition grant. Interviews begin in March. (4-6 graduate credits)

2. TCWP Teachers as Writers Workshop
June 20 – July 1, 2011

Participants in this open program welcome the time and response provided in support of their own writing. They work with outstanding guest writers, focusing on narrative, poetry, or the genre of their choice. In the fall they take their summer writing experiences into their classes and their work with student writers. (2 optional grad. credits)

3. TCWP Writing in a Digital World Workshop
June 20-24, 2011

Participants explore ways to use today‘s tools for tomorrow‘s world—blogs, digital stories, wikis, podcasts, photo-editing, and more. Teachers at all levels of writing and technological experience are welcome. (2 optional graduate credits)

4. TCWP Teaching Writing, Reading, and Comprehension
July 5-8, 2011

Teachers at all levels and content areas learn practical, research-based strategies that help students become stronger writers, readers, and thinkers. Participants leave with new classroom strategies that can strengthen and revitalize students‘ reading and writing for understanding. (2 optional grad. credits)

5. Writing with English Language Learners
July 5-8, 2011

Participants learn from TCWP teacher consultants who work with English language learners in middle and high school classrooms. Teachers learn from each other as well, trying out a wide range of writing and teaching strategies that support student learning for all our students. (2 optional grad. credits)

6. TCWP Camps for Young Writers
June 20 – July 1, 2011

Summer camp programs for young writers feature time for writing and sharing among fellow campers. Camp programs are designed and led by TCWP Teacher Consultants and WMU preservice teachers.


Department of English
6th floor Sprau Tower
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5331 USA
(269) 387-2572 | (269) 387-2562 Fax