Over the last seven years I have designed and taught a range of writing intensive courses across two institutions with widely divergent student populations: San Francisco State University and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. These courses include first- and second-year research- or rhetoric-focused writing, business and technical writing, and multimodal writing. I’ve taught in linked, co-taught, hybrid, and online formats. (Scroll down for a full list of courses taught.) I also teach outside the university, most recently running writing workshops for incarcerated students and teaching yoga to adults and children in my community. Though my approach in each of these courses and spaces is highly situated and attuned to my students’ needs, my central motivation as a teacher is to support students as they practice their individual and collective agency as conscious composers of their worlds. Aware of ways the university itself can pose structural barriers to students’ agency and access, I don’t just carve out that space for students in my own classes. Rather, as an Assistant Director in CWS, a Research Assistant on the Writing Across Engineering and Science (WAES) project, a volunteer with the Education Justice Project (EJP) and in other contexts on campus, I have worked with faculty and teaching assistants across disciplines to create cultures of writing that push back against normative notions of teaching and learning that impact us all. In these ways I work in my own classes and across and beyond the university to invite and support students with diverse histories, knowledges, and needs as they write from and into their various existing and aspirational communities. You can read more about my teacher development work and yoga teaching elsewhere on this site. Here, I discuss my approach to teaching writing.

I see students’ affective, embodied, and community ways of knowing as integral to the capable and compassionate people they already are and are continuing to become. In my courses then, I encourage students to reflect on, share, and build on these histories and practices – not as steppingstones to academic or professional literacies, but as the important work of praxis-oriented scholarship itself. Because this work can potentially feel quite personal, I create a variety of low-stakes opportunities where students may choose to try it on and use a portfolio system that enables students to take risks and share only those activities they choose. For example, in my sections of Writing Across Media (INFO/WRIT 303), we explore the affordances of multimodal composing by zeroing in on each mode in turn. During our unit on the aural mode, we read, discuss, and compose responses to scholarship that posits listening as more fully embodied than just “ear-ing” (Steph Ceraso’s “Re-educating the Senses”) and as linked to cultural ideologies that uphold systemic racism (Jennifer Lynn Stoever’s The Sonic Color Line). Aside from having students compose responses to the texts that engage them academically and through their own experiences, I also craft multiple opportunities for students to feel through these novel individual and cultural approaches to understanding sound. In short, individual composing activities, I prompt them to consider their past experiences of feeling sound, physically, emotionally, and socially. Then, together, we take a sound walk. Attuning our bodies to the surrounding soundscape, we move silently as a group through differently resonant spaces on campus like the tiled, high-ceilinged library hallway, a crunchy-leafed walkway on the quad, and a sidewalk adjacent to a vibrating, clamorous construction site. Unpacking this shared yet highly individual experience together upon our return to the classroom, students offer their sensations, thoughts, and connections made and affirm those of their peers. Together, such prompts and experiences signal to students that their diverse ways of knowing the world are not only welcome in academic spaces but are invaluable to our collective endeavors to understand and act on the world.

Regardless of subject-matter, I strive to help my students see in themselves and their peers a capacious view of human intelligence – intelligence that is distributed, active in the world, and bolstered by self-understanding and respect for diversity. Frequent sharing, workshopping, and celebrating of one another’s work is one crucial set of practices I center in my classes to invite students to support such recognition. A common scene of this work in my classes is students, both verbally and in digitally mediated spaces, workshopping their in-progress compositions together. In peer response, I encourage students to take up the role of interested reader (which I also model in my own feedback), to use the process of deciding which feedback to take on as an opportunity to hone their goals and choices, and to take note of the approaches and processes their peers enacted and consider which might be generative for them to try on themselves. As we build an atmosphere of caring collegiality, my students frequently cite the generative feedback of their peers in class discussions and in their portfolio reflections on their process; I encourage this practice and tie it into discussions of how and why scholars, professionals, and they themselves as knowledge producers, use citations. Many of my students articulate how valuable they find the workshop aspect of the course in their course evaluations, and that attitude is often palpable in another frequent scene in my classes – the gallery walk or digital poster session-style sharing my students do after each portfolio. In these sessions, students in rounds at designated stations semi-formally share the products of their labor and pop in to explore their peers’ finished work. It’s exciting to see students congratulate one another for jobs well done and express awe for the myriad interesting directions folks could take from the shared prompt. It is my hope that these practices of supporting one another’s meaningful projects – projects grown from self- and social- reflection – help students recognize their collective agency as composers of our shared social world.


Courses taught:

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. 2015-present

Informatics/Writing Studies 303: Writing Across Media.

Four semesters and one summer session, ≈18 students per semester.

Rhetoric 105: Writing and Research.

Three semesters, ≈18 students per semester.

San Francisco State University. 2012-2015

Business 300 GWAR (Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement): Business Communication for Professionals.

One semester, two sections, ≈26 students per section.

Hospitality and Tourism Management 531 GWAR: Hospitality Services Management.

Co-taught three sections of ≈26 students, one semester.

English 214: Second Year Written Composition.

One semester, two sections, ≈26 students per section.

English 214 Hybrid Pilot.

One semester, ≈26 students.

English 214 Metro Academy of Child and Adolescent Development.

One semester, ≈26 students.

English 114: First Year Written Composition.

One semester, ≈20 students.

Early Start English 99: Introduction to College Reading and Writing (online and F2F).

One summer term, four sections (3 online, 1 f2f), ≈17 students each.