New Foregrounding Diverse Perspectives Initiative Reframes Writing Courses

The Rhetoric and Composition Office in the Department of English is excited to announce its new Foregrounding Diverse Perspectives initiative that will be rolling out in all writing courses this fall.

Hoping to contribute to changing the culture on campus, the Rhetoric and Composition Office developed the Foregrounding Diverse Perspectives initiative to focus on reframing the discussions that take place each semester and in each unit of the writing courses such as Composition 1, Composition 2, and Advanced Composition. 

In each unit of all writing courses offered by the Department of English, students will have their first course content reading paired with a reading that enables discussion of the unit's subject matter from a distinctly diverse point of view, one that they wouldn't perhaps encounter in a traditional textbook on the subject.

"The goal of the initiative," explained Adam R. Pope, the interim director of the Rhetoric and Composition Office, "is to fundamentally change the way that we teach in our courses. When we think about adding diversity to our readings, we often tack it on a slate of existing readings. What we hope to do by starting each unit with such a reading is to reframe the conversation by starting with diversity. We believe that where a conversation starts has an oversized impact on where it goes, and our aim with this new initiative is, again, to fundamentally change the ways we teach and the conversations that take place in our writing courses." 

The new policy will begin in the fall semester and will be mandatory for all sections of writing courses offered by the RCO. These changes are concurrent with an evolving curriculum in first year writing that has revised the courses to better prepare students for college writing concerns. Composition 1 now specifically focuses on introducing students to college-level writing concerns, and Composition 2 focuses on expanding students' horizons to include the various genres of writing that make the working and academic world work. 

The Foregrounding Diverse Perspectives policy also builds on the revision of the undergraduate English major, a major that now offers a choice of concentrations for students, allowing them to focus their studies on Creative Writing, Topical Studies in English, or Rhetoric and Writing Studies. More information on the revised major can be found on the English Majors page.

"With this policy," continues Pope, "we hope to further embrace the proud liberal arts tradition that the Department of English is part of. The liberal arts prepare the whole person, broadening perspectives and education citizens that are ready to take part in a diverse and changing world. By focusing on expanding students' horizons with diverse readings in each unit of their freshman composition courses and beyond, we hope to build on these strengths and underscore the value of the liberal arts to students at the U of A."

For more information on this policy as it evolves and is implemented, check out the budding Arkansas English Resource, a wiki that is being built by the Department of English to share content from the department's faculty, staff, and students with the rest of the state of Arkansas and the wider world. The wiki can be found at aer.uark.edu, and the policy specifics can be found at Foregrounding Diverse Perspectives page.

 

Contacts

Adam R Pope, interim director, rhetoric and composition office
Department of English
479-575-2286, arpope@uark.edu

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