Upcoming Courses

Previous Courses


3210 Advanced Composition

Course description: In this section, we will spend the semester investigating writing through the lens of culture.  Our principal question is how does culture shape both writing and language?  To address this question, we will consider a series of related sub-questions over the course of the semester:

To help the class navigate through these questions, this course is designed around the reading, discussion, and workshop model.  The course readings serve as a foundation for each unit along with generating ideas and class-based discussions.  Upon completing the readings for the unit, you will begin working on your projects (inside and outside of class) by brainstorming ideas and working with others.

Course Materials: Walter, Keith and Michael Brody, eds.  What’s Language Got To Do With It?  New York: Norton, 2005.



3220 Writing for the Professions

Course Description: In this course, students practice workplace writing and explore possibilities for future careers. This course builds self-awareness, professionalism, habits of mind, and strategies for writing efficiently and effectively. Specific workplace genres are taught in relation to these larger concerns, not as isolated skills to master. Learning goals include:

Throughout the semester, we’ll work toward these goals through four primary means:

Readings: Much of our reading will be workplace texts gathered from speakers to our class, resources provided online, and own writing and that of peers. We will also read scholarly articles on issues related to writing in the workplace and professional and technical writing. These will be provided through our d2l course website.


Assignments: Assignments include the online portfolio with components that will be revised and polished throughout the semester, an opening business letter, job search materials, co-authors newsletter columns, an in-class presentation, and a final project that draws on a number of sources to develop an argument about writing and work. Additional assignments include reflective cover letters, peer review notes, and informal reading responses.



4230 Writing Center Theory, Research, and Practice


Course Description: Participants in this course will study the theoretical and practical aspects of peer tutoring of writing—a topic that may have relevance not only in the short term (for students looking to gain employment at Marquette’s Ott Memorial Writing Center and other campus programs that hire peer writing tutors) but also in the long term (for students looking to cultivate written and oral communication skills attractive to employers in a wide range of professions). Topics of inquiry include the complex processes involved in written, oral, and multi-modal composition; the exploration of the different genres and contexts of writing; the theory and practice of providing feedback on work in progress; and writing center scholarship more broadly. Observation, examination, and reflection upon our own experiences as writers and tutors is a central dimension of the course. Permission of the instructor is required for registration. Please contact Dr. Rebecca Nowacek (Director of the Ott Memorial Writing Center) at rebecca.nowacek@marquette.edu.


Readings: Texts will include scholarly sources made available through electronic reserve as well as original texts composed by current and previous participants in the course.


Assignments: Assignments will likely include two reflective papers, a longer inquiry project, and 15 hours of participation in a “writing center internship” in Marquette’s Ott Memorial Writing Center.


4250 Creative Writing: Fiction

Course Description: A course in writing fiction, organized as a discussion/workshop.  In addition to writing exercises covering the basics of the craft, students will produce 30-40 pages of fiction by the end of the semester.  They will also discuss each other’s works and write critical responses to a number of short stories.


Readings: The Art and Craft of Fiction by Michael Kardos and student short stories.


Assignments: Exercises in fictional techniques, at least one complete short story, and critical responses to workshop fiction.


4260 Creative Writing: Poetry


Thematic Title: Creative Writing (Poetry)

Description (including outcomes):Creative Writing (Poetry) is open and accessible to all, from absolute beginners to experienced graduate student writers.  The workshop format allows every student to find a voice in a supportive, rigorous atmosphere.  Students in this course explore the work of living American poets while developing a portfolio of their own work.  Learning and practicing the art of contemporary poetry will benefit anyone who wants to write—and think—in innovative ways about themselves and their world. 

Readings:  Students will work from 3-4 (economically-priced, non-textbook) individual-author poetry collections and are also required to buy one book of poetry during our field trip to Woodland Pattern Book Center.

Assignments:  Weekly readings from the work of contemporary American poets; weekly prompts and exercises; and a final portfolio of revised work.


4954 Seminar in Advanced Writing

“Tragedy is when I cut my finger.  Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”  So says that great theorist of narrative craft, the filmmaker Mel Brooks.  Of course, most of life (and most of the fiction that tries to reflect the complexity of life) falls all along the spectrum between (and including) those two poles.  Life is both tragic and comic. Or as the Yiddish proverb has it, “Man plans.  God laughs.”

This workshop will give students an opportunity to develop narratives that reflect that complexity.  To paraphrase the Czech writer Milan Kundera, most people would rather believe a simple lie than a complex truth.   This is a course in learning how to write complex truths by making stuff up. In this seminar, which will be run as a workshop, students will develop proficiency with those techniques (many of which they first encountered in ENGL 4250) that will help them do that.  They’ll also add additional techniques to their repertoire, examine narratives from technical (as well as critical) viewpoints and develop fluency in discussing fiction writing from the practitioner’s viewpoint, with the ultimate goal of writing better prose and better narratives.

Readings:  The Story Behind The Story, Barrett and Turchi, eds. + student work

Assignments: In addition to a few writing exercises, students will produce 30 pages of prose fiction by semester’s end (and will do significant revision of those pages.) They will also write and present a number of brief craft-oriented analytical responses to the assigned readings and to the work of their peers.


Course Description: This is a course for writers who aren’t sure yet whether they’re meant to be poets, novelists, literary journalists, or dramatists—or who don’t want to confine themselves to one genre.  Not only will students expand on the techniques and strategies encountered in English 4250 or 4260, they will also have an opportunity to experiment with forms they may not have tried before.

Reading: Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief by David Starkey and the work of other students in the class.

Assignments: Approximately 40 pages of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and/or drama, as well as responses to readings.


English Department

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