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Introduction to Composition Studies

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2012
Prothro-Yeager Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

TR 4-520

Dr. Kristen Garrison (view Profile)


The Norton Book of Composition Studies
Susan Miller, ed.
Course Objectives

Undergraduate (4013)

  • Acquire a more sophisticated understanding of different theories of writing
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply different theories of composing in order to make sound pedagogical decisions
  • Reflect on the relationship between theory and practice
  • Acquire a familiarity with the various discourses, professional journals, and online resources of the composition community


Graduate (5013) 

  • Acquire knowledge of the changing historical contexts informing composition pedagogies
  • Acquire a more sophisticated understanding of different theories of writing
  • Analyze an issue relevant to postsecondary writing pedagogy
  • Hone research skills and demonstrate ability to follow the MLA style guide
  • Gain experience in writing conference-length papers and presenting research to peers.
Course Expectations


Assignment                                                           % of Grade

Book Review                                                             20

Class Discussion Presentation                            15

Writing Activity Presentation                                    15

Annotated Bibliography                                             20

Semester Portfolio                                                      20

Final Examination                                                      10



Assignment                                                           % of Grade

Book Review                                                               20

Class Discussion Presentation (outside readings)       20

Annotated Bibliography (20 sources)                         20

Final Research Paper                                                   25

Final Exam (research presentation)                            15

Grading Standards

This class will not use the plus/minus grading system. In this class, the following numerical equivalents for grades are used: A = 100-90%; B = 89-80%; C = 79-70%; D = 69-60%; F = 59-0%.

Final Exam 12/11/2012 5:45-7:45
Submission Format Policy

All written assignments should be typed, double-spaced, and formatted according to MLA style.  Documents longer than one page may be printed on both sides.  Unless otherwise indicated, they are due at the start of class. 

You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy


Assignments are due at the start of class on the date designated; any papers turned in after these deadlines are counted late and lose 10%. Additionally, you will have one week after the original due date to submit late work.


Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

My policy is very simple and straightforward: if you have more than 6 absences (the equivalent of 3 weeks of class), excused or not, you fail the class.  Please note, however, that this is not an invitation to miss 3 weeks of class—class time will provide the instruction you need to meet the objectives of this course. When you miss class meetings, you miss out on the instruction for which you pay tuition.  In the unfortunate event that you accrue 7 or more absences before the last day to withdraw, you have the responsibility of withdrawing from the class.  Please don’t feel you have to explain or justify any absences to me; I respect your privacy, but you must accept the consequences.  If you miss class, you miss any writing assignment or group work done during that period, and you miss any announcements regarding future assignments.  Please notify me in advance if you will not be able to make class; you may leave an email message.  If you must miss class on a due date for an assignment, email it as an attachment. 

Other Policies

Lateness:   We have 80 minutes for each class meeting, and I expect you to be on time. If you are repeatedly late to class, I will simply begin marking you absent.  Please let me know if extenuating circumstances prevent you from arriving promptly.


General Courtesy:  Please turn off cell phones or put them on vibrate.  Show respect to your classmates by listening to them when they speak.  If you need to get a drink of water or blow your nose or use the restroom, simply leave as quietly as possible; you don't need my permission or a hall pass, but please make an effort to avoid disrupting class.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at