Before students can be expected to write effectively they must be given the tools to do so. My goal is to engage students with the basics of writing: audience, thesis/focus, organization/structure, development, and grammar. I accomplish this goal by explaining these basic concepts of writing during in-class lectures. After lecturing, I provide students with examples and exercises to reinforce the aforementioned concepts. Also, by providing students with careful and liberal feedback on their rough and final drafts as well as conferencing with them one-to-one, I further emphasize how they can apply the material presented in class to their writing assignments in the Composition classroom and writing assignments for courses in other disciplines. Additionally, through exercises such as in-class writing and collaborative groups, it is my hope that students are able to express their thoughts on paper without feeling outside pressures (from themselves, peers, or even me). I believe that it is my responsibility to help students feel comfortable in their roles as writers and readers. Ultimately, through my student-centered teaching philosophy and pedagogy, my goal is to teach students writing matters, especially their writing.
Amanda McGuire Rzicznek co-developed ENG 3420: Literature for Young Children with Elizabeth Zemanski. This course promotes how children’s literature lives beyond the classroom for the public good. In this course, students read and evaluate of books for children from birth through age 8, including picture books, novels, folklore, informational literature, poetry, and bibliographic sources. Students write and design their own children’s books addressing a social issue of their choosing. At the conclusion of the semester, they share their books with community members at events including a picture book showcase and BGSU Literacy in the Park.
R.G. Craven’s research interests include LGBT politics, American government, public opinion, and political behavior. Civic engagement and service learning advance R.G.’s pedagogical goals – based in queer and critical theory – to challenge students to disassemble entrenched systems of power by experiencing the perspective of the “others” in society. R.G. also regularly engages students using active learning techniques and group project in an effort to develop leadership and communication skills that can be translated beyond the political science classroom into any future career path they choose.
R.G. developed two courses, POLS 3410: Public Opinion & Voting Behavior and POLS 3310: State and Local Government. POLS 3410 is a survey of public opinion formation and measurement as well as behavioral theory of political engagement. Students apply this theory to the design and administration of their own surveys in collaboration with community partners. POLS 3310 is a survey of local and state government institutions and processes. Students attend local government meetings and partner with community organizations to explore how local governments partner with community groups, state, and federal agencies to achieve community goals.
Michael Ellison is interested utilizing theatrical tools for personal and community growth as well as personal and systemic change. His research interests include musical theatre pedagogy, acting and directing on stage and screen, the use of stillness on stage and screen, and the actor/singer/dancer as a model for integrating skills.
In 2005 Michael established The Humanities Troupe at BGSU, which uses theatrical tools to stimulate thought, provoke dialogue and promote change by examining values, differences and human experience in ways that are supportive and conducive to learning. In 2015, he co-founded (artist Melanie Stinson) Being Magic Creations, LLC, dedicated to utilizing the arts and play to help people find, claim, and celebrate the power of their own uniqueness. Michael is highly involved in numerous performing arts organizations across the country and world as a director, choreographer, author, coach, and judge.
Michael developed the course THFM 6820 Performance Theory and Practice: Using Theatrical Tools for Social Change. In this course, students explore various forms of Theatre for Social Change‐‐from Augusto Boal’s Forum Theatre to Playback Theatre to Immersive Theatre to Live Action Role Play (LARPing) to Devised Theatre‐‐and a variety of tools they employ in order to give body and voice to important social issues. As the practical application of these tools in real settings is a vital aspect of this type of theatre, there is a service learning component to the course. No theatrical experience is necessary – just a passion for social change.
Bonnie Mitchell works with animation, programming, WWW art, stereo imaging, interactive art installation, and 3D modeling and rendering to explore spatial environments and experiential relationships to natural elements. Bonnie is internationally recognized for her interactive animated installations and collaborative Internet-based art works.
Her recent work involves creating immersive spaces using projections into hand-blown glass objects as well as on walls around the viewer. These art environments typically include natural and man-made elements such as moss, twigs, sand, chairs, etc. The goal is to psychologically alter the perception of the viewer and provoke altered states such as introspection, excitement, tranquility, etc.
Bonnie developed the course ARTC 4410 Collaborative Digital Arts Development. BGSU Digital Arts students work with several non-profit organizations that focus on the environment to create artistically animated public service announcements. The work aims to educate the public, promote sustainable, healthy and environmentally conscious practices, and bring about positive change in the world. Students gain real-world experience working with community partners, learning about important contemporary issues, and understanding that art and animation can be used for the public good.
As a composition instructor, I strive to facilitate students’ learning by providing them with tools they will need to navigate complex texts and images and respond to those complex texts and images. I help students understand how in academia, and often in their professional and personal lives, they will be expected to respond to complex ideas by entering conversations and articulating their own points of view. Composing written work is often the ideal vehicle for young people to articulate their positions on issues affecting their local, national and global communities. And as I help students use tools to compose professional, argumentative pieces on current issues, I encourage students to gain a sense of independence as they respond and write. However, as important as it is for students to craft original ideas, and grow as independent thinkers, it is equally important for students to negotiate their value systems in lieu of other, diverse value systems. To this end, I hope to create a learning community founded on mutual collaboration, respectful discussion, honest critique, and self-reflection. If students invest in this learning environment, they will learn a range of skills to succeed in this writing class and beyond.
Elizabeth Zemanski co-developed ENG 3420: Literature for Young Children with Amanda McGuire Rzicznek. This course promotes how children’s literature lives beyond the classroom for the public good. In this course, students read and evaluate of books for children from birth through age 8, including picture books, novels, folklore, informational literature, poetry, and bibliographic sources. Students write and design their own children’s books addressing a social issue of their choosing. At the conclusion of the semester, they share their books with community members at events including a picture book showcase and BGSU Literacy in the Park.