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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Julie Dykema
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

Language Politics, Identity, and Community Belonging

Students in this course will not only explore what an ethic of community engagement entails while strengthening their writing skills, but will also have the opportunity to interrogate the role that language plays in defining various communities. This class will navigate the tensions among linguistic, cultural, and personal identities, examining how language acquisition might empower English Language Learners and offer alternatives to cultural assimilation. As students will be volunteering at agencies and organizations serving immigrant and refugee communities, we will also examine the structural inequality these populations face, the assumptions and interests motivating current and past immigration debates in the US, and the articulation of immigrant status and other modalities of difference such as race, class, and gender. Readings that will provide a framework for students’ service learning and written work may be chosen among those by Richard Rodriguez, Gloria Anzaldúa, Ron Schmidt, Christine Tardy, Min-Zhan Lu, James Baldwin, Benedict Anderson, and others.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Service Learning: Service learning provides a unique opportunity to connect coursework with community experiences through public service. Offered as an integral part of many UW courses, service learning provides students an opportunity to experience theories traditionally studied within classrooms come to life, through serving with community-based organizations. Choosing to sign up for this course, which integrates service learning, requires commitment to your community and depends on our ability as a class to link academic studies to practical, real-world experiences.

LOGISTICS: Each student in English 121 will sign-up for a placement at a service organization related to community literacy, academic achievement and/or immigrant services. The Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center (MGH 120, 9:00-5:00 Monday-Friday) facilitates contacts with placement organizations and will help you to coordinate your service hours. You can visit them, email them at serve@u.washington.edu, or call them at (206) 616-2885.

Computer Integrated Classroom (CIC): As part of the English Department's Computer Integrated Classroom (CIC) program, we have access to technologies not available in the traditional classroom. Half of our class periods will be held in a networked computer lab. You will use the computers to conduct research, participate in online discussions, complete group exercises, draft and share work, comment on your peers' essays, and keep a record of your work, all in service of achieving the outcomes for our composition course.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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 Julie Dykema
Date: 02/26/2013