Advanced Composition Classes


 Course Offerings for Spring 2014


Grammar and Style for Writers                                                                                        

 Students will study the aspects of grammar that are most relevant to punctuation and to clear writing, including nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, phrases, clauses, gerunds, participles, infinites, and complete sentences.  Students will also study prose style as a way of achieving rhetorical effectiveness through arranging and rearranging sentence elements.  Students, through frequent writing, will learn to apply principles of clarity, concision, and coherence with more consciousness.  Sentence imitation, sentence combining, and sentence invention techniques will be used to help students become more flexible in their syntactic fluidity.  Several tests and three short papers.                                                                                            

William Marderness - WRT 200.02

MWF 10:00 AM-11:20 AM

Kevin Clouther - WRT 200.01

TUTH 1:00 PM-2:20 PM                  


Rhetorics of the Hero                                                                                                                                 

WRT 302.02

This course will examine the political, cultural, and economic factors which shape popular American understandings of the terms ‘hero’, ‘heroic’, and ‘heroic ideal’. We will trace out the constantly shifting character of American identity (on both national and local levels) in relationship to these terms by interrogating our understandings of the hero’s significance and value through the lenses of race, class, and gender. Texts will include Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven, Hammet’s The Maltese Falcon, and Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. Three 4-5 page essays as well as an 8-10 page research-based final essay are required.

 Wilbur Farley  

TUTH 1:00 PM-2:20 PM                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Rhetorics of Love and Compassion                                                                                                            

WRT 302.03                                                                                                                                                                  

In this course we examine and engage with artistic, rhetorical, and theoretical representations of love and its ethical counterpart, compassion, as distinct and interrelated forces.  Students research individual interests within these subject areas and respond to the call for connecting education to critical citizenship, including with application to contemporary global conflicts.  Addressing verbal, musical, and especially visual texts of popular and scholarly origins, our assignments emphasize analytical and argumentative writing.  A central question throughout the term will be how texts function and can be made to function as influences on individual and collective moralities.  Course materials range from popular songs and films to essays by Sontag and Irigaray to Margulies’s play Time Stands Still to the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Inquiries may be sent to

Peter Khost 

MW 4:00 PM-5:20 PM                                                                                                                                                 


Fiction Writing 

 WRT 302.04                                                                                                                                                                 

In this course we will concentrate on the reading and writing of fiction; you will have the opportunity to improve your own craft, discuss your peers’ short stories, and learn from contemporary masters such as Junot Díaz, Deborah Eisenberg, and George Saunders. In all of the work, we will examine together what makes a piece of writing worth reading—focusing on issues of voice, character, structure, conflict, rhythm, and syntax. You will be expected to participate actively, complete in-class writing assignments, and present your creative writing for workshop. Writing and thinking about writing is hard work, what Fitzgerald called “the moving about of great secret trunks.” Come to this course ready to move.

Kevin Clouther

TUTH 10:00 AM-12:20 AM


Writing for the New Media  

WRT 302.05                                                                                                                                             

In this course we will explore online networked reading and writing practices. We will examine the social, cultural, educational, and ethical dimensions of digital texts. The topics we cover, the readings we do, and the discussions we have should help us to understand digital spaces as deeply rhetorical spaces, become more sophisticated navigators of the information available to us in digital spaces, and become more effective writers and communicators in print and digitally mediated spaces. Digitally mediated spaces to be explored may include, but are not limited to, blogging, You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, networked video games, and Neal Stephenson's Metaverse in Snow Crash. Students will write reading responses and several shorter essays, and have the opportunity to engage a specific issue in depth through a final project with a multimodal component.

Cynthia Davidson

TUTH 2:30 PM-3:50 PM    


Writing Memoirs

WRT 302.06      

Carl Bernstein and Kevin Clouther                                                                                                                                    

TUTH 11:30 AM-12:50 PM


The Personal Essay

The personal essay is a form that has recently come back into fashion. In this class we will engage the form by writing our own personal essays as well as reading and responding to the work of writers who have come to define the genre: examples include Michel de Montaigne, Charles Lamb and E.B. White, as well as more contemporary writers such as Joan Didion and Scott Russell Sanders. We will explore the differences between shaping experience as truth in a personal essay or memoir and as a work of fiction. As a definition of personal essay evolves, we will consider whether personal writing and essay writing (or “essaying”) have a place in academic writing. Students in this class will also be able to prepare a personal statement for their application for graduate or professional school.

Thomas Tousey - WRT 303.01  

MWF 12:00 PM-12:53 PM

Thomas Tousey - WRT 303.02

MWF 11:00 AM-11:53 AM

Rita Nezami - WRT 303.03  

TUTH 4:00 PM-5:20 PM

Kristina Lucenko - WRT 303.04   

TUTH 11:30 PM-12:50 PM

Cathleen Rowley - WRT 303.05  

MW 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM


Writing for Your Profession     

WRT 304.01

Professionals of all kinds consistently attest to the significance of strong writing and communication skills in their field.  In fact, a national study shows that about 70% of paid jobs involve writing. This is verified by data from a 2012 survey of over fifty employers of Stony Brook University graduates. So in this course students learn about types of documents, rhetorical principles, and composing practices necessary for writing effectively in and about professional contexts. Coursework emphasizes each student’s career interests, but lessons also address a variety of general professional issues, including audience awareness, research methods, ethics, collaboration, and verbal and visual communication. Students complete the course with practical knowledge and experience in composing business letters, proposals, and various kinds of professional reports. A creative, self-reflexive assignment also contextualizes each individual’s professional aspirations within a bigger picture of his/her life and culture.

Shyam Sharma

MW 2:30 PM-3:50 PM


Writing for the Health Professions  

WRT 305.01                                                                                                                                                                            

This course will enable students interested in a health care career to strengthen their critical writing skills.  While learning to gather information and to apply ethical principles in a logical, persuasive fashion, students will explore and write about various types of evidence concerning the health care needs of different populations: a field research project on a health issue affecting a local target population of their choice, a critique of government documents that contain data on that issue and population, and a review of scholarly research on the same issue as it affects the larger national population represented by that local one.  Writing assignments will include drafts and final versions of a research proposal, field research results, data analysis, literature review and a 20-30 page project incorporating all of the previous work conducted about that issue and population. Students will also write a reflective paper which can serve as the basis for a personal statement for medical or other health-related graduate school applications.  This course will fulfill the second half of the Writing Pre-Med/Pre-Health prerequisite.

Robert Kaplan

TUTH 5:30 PM - 6:50 PM


Advanced Research Writing

WRT 380.01

Good research skills are critical to academic success.  Most disciplines require writing based upon research, as arguments and explanations make little impact on audiences without effective supporting evidence, drawn from relevant scholarship on the subject. This involves knowing how to use appropriate databases, source materials, and composing processes, as well as negotiating the values, genres, and languages of the scholarly communities in which one is researching.  In this course, students will learn fundamentals of research methods, practice these methods in a series of integrated research and writing assignments, and engage in critical reflection about research and writing.  Students will focus on an area of disciplinary interest to them, and practice these essential research and writing skills through a series of projects: library assignments, annotated bibliography, literature review, I-Search composing, and presentation of results.

Robert Kaplan

TUTH 7:00 PM - 8:20 PM


Advanced Analytic and Argumentative Writing

WRT 381.01

Argumentative writing involves making a claim and supporting it with specific, related points and appropriate evidence—in other words, it is thesis-driven writing. Whenever we don’t quite like someone else’s idea and we want him or her to come closer to ours, argumentative writing is the most efficient method for such persuasion, in whatever profession you’re considering. This class, therefore, will focus on learning how to effectively utilize argumentative and counter-argumentative writing strategies.  Students will explore an area of disciplinary interest to them through several stages—proposal, preliminary draft, multiple versions, literature review—culminating in a 20-30 page piece of writing in which they make a claim about a particular subject in that area of interest and support it with scholarly research and extensive elaboration.  This course will fulfill the second half of the Writing Pre-Med/Pre-Health prerequisite.  Also offered as EGL 381.

Robert Kaplan

TUTH 7:00 PM - 8:20 PM


All 300 level courses will fulfill the second half of the Writing Pre-Med/Pre-Health prerequisite.                                                                                                     

WRT 302 satisfies the University DEC G requirement

Program in Writing and Rhetoric • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5340 • 631.632.7390
Writing Center • 631.632.7405
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