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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jennifer L. Le Mesurier
ENGL 121
Seattle Campus

Composition: Social Issues

Focuses on the study and practice of good writing: topics derived from a variety of personal, academic, and public subjects. Includes a service-learning component allowing students to engage with and write about social issues in applied ways.. Cannot be taken if student has already received a grade of 2.0 or higher in either ENGL 111, ENGL 121, or ENGL 131.

Class description

ENGL 121 fulfills the composition requirement at the University of Washington. The main focus is on building writing skills that will enable students to succeed in their college career. The secondary focus is on exploring food issues at a global and at a local level. Through several writing assignments in different writing genres, students will explore what types of ‘truths’ about food are generally accepted and question/challenge those dominant definitions. We will push past the superficial labeling on the foods we eat and buy and investigate what exactly we and our fellow Washingtonians eat on a daily basis. For example, organic foods are relatively popular here in the Pacific Northwest, but what does the term “organic"? mean? What do terms like “organic,"? “free-range"? and “local"? mean to us, to our families, to users of organizations such as food banks and resource centers? How is our access to these kinds of foods determined by financial, racial, and/or class boundaries? What sort of marketing strategies do manufacturers use when promoting organic foods? How do those strategies push against/merge with our experiences in service learning or in our own lives?

Students will read a variety of readings from food authors such as Eric Schlosser on the industrialization of our food supply and Michael Pollan on the benefits of locally - sourced, organic eating. The main text will be Food Inc, and there will be supplemental essays supplied in a course packet. The readings will introduce students to scholarly views of food production and consumption. In other words, students will be exposed to how more theoretical, larger-concept ideas/ideals of food found in the readings actually hold up in real world situations during service learning.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

This class is a Service-Learning course - be prepared to work outside of the classroom at a related site for at least 3-4 hours a week (there is a 20-hour minimum requirement to participate in service learning in the community).

Class assignments and grading

Several short and long papers that will be revised into a final portfolio. Be prepared to write 3-6 pages a week.

70% portfolio, 30% participation. Participation means more than showing up to class - it means having done the reading/homework and being ready to discuss things you found valuable, interesting, confusing, etc...


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Jennifer L. Le Mesurier
Date: 11/10/2010