English 015: Rhetoric & Composition

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English 015: Rhetoric & Composition


T R 9:05AM-10:20AM Sutherland 217                 Fall 2017                               Section: 018

Instructor: Dr. Matthew Feltman                                          Office Location: 322 Sutherland

Email: [email protected]                                                     Office Hours: M 4:30-5:30PM

Introduction to the Course: Welcome to English 015: Rhetoric and Composition, a course that will engage you in an ambitious semester-long inquiry into the subject of rhetoric, an ancient art that has always been closely associated with education and with democratic institutions.  The course has a simple goal: to help you to become a “critical citizen” inside and outside the university—a citizen who engages actively and influentially through composition with the communities to which you belong.

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here: You should consider this class NC-17. We may deal with some difficult political material and social questions; however, the goal—not dogmatism—is to examine multiple political positions for their insights into the complex questions regarding the intersections of popular culture and American life. Those of you unable or unwilling to participate in a mature discussion about offensive material should rethink your enrollment in this particular class. Substitute materials will not be provided. Students are urged to approach this course with both an open-mind and a willingness to engage in critical thinking

Required Texts and Materials: (1) Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon. Signs of Life in the U.S.A. Eighth Edition. (2) All other course readings will provided for you either on Canvas or on the web. (3) Instead of forcing you to buy a style guide, I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University website. (4) A notebook in which to take notes. (5) A folder in which to organize handouts and materials from class. (6) A Penn State email address that you check regularly and use in all email communication with me.


Come to all class meetings.  You are required to attend every class.  If I need to cancel a class, I’ll notify you promptly by email and/or on ANGEL.  If you need to miss class for an excused absence, please let me know by email as far in advance of the class as possible, but at least 24-hours in advance.  I will excuse absences for religious holidays recognized by the University at , University-sponsored athletic events documented by a note from the coach or Athletic Director, or illnesses that you can verify.  I will also excuse absences for real emergencies that you can verify.  If emergencies interfere with your ability to attend any class, please consult with me promptly by phone or email—ideally within 24 hours of the emergency.  I will not subtract points from your grade for excused absences, but you should obviously try to avoid missing class since missing class might cause you to fall behind in your studies. You can miss 2 classes without an excuse without any adverse effects to your grade, but you should save these for unexpected situations.  If you miss 3 classes without an excuse, you will get 0 points for the class participation portion of your final grade.  For your fourth absence and every absence thereafter, I will deduct 50 points (per absence) off of your final grade / point total.  Be sure to obtain another student’s email address so that you have someone to contact about what you missed in the event of an absence.  You can also contact me to make sure you know what you missed, but don’t expect me to re-teach the class for you. If you’re absent, you’re still required to come prepared for the next class.