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WRT 105: Practices of Academic Writing

Fall 2015, Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:00-6:20 p.m., MSM 208A


Patrick W. Berry, pwberry@syr.edu, office: HBC 235
office phone: 315-443-1912
office hours: Thursdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and by appointment

Unit 3: Did College Sell Its Soul? Crafting an Argument


By the time you got to college, you had probably had some experience writing an
argumentative paper. You might have learned that you need to take a standto argue for or
against something. You might have also learned that the best arguments are those that
demonstrate a deep engagement with the issue, including those views that you oppose.
In this last unit, you will produce a portfolio of work that includes exercises in close reading,
debate, and research. The shared text for the unit will be William Deresiewiczs The
Neoliberal Arts: How College Sold Its Soul to the Market, in which he argues that weve
turned higher education into a commodity and suggests that [i]nstead of seeing it in terms of
market purposes, we need to see it once again in terms of intellectual and moral purposes
(32).
Toward the end of the unit, you will write an imaginary address to the Board of Trustees,
translate your argument into a listicle, and present your argument to a panel of professional
writers who will join us throughout the unit.
Your final grade will be based on the timely submission of all assignments (in-class and athome). Your work should demonstrate:
1. a nuanced argument that honors the complexity of the issue.
2. a careful and accurate representation of sources.
3. a consideration of the issue as related to the Syracuse University campus, one that
offers a proposition or solution.
4. attention to effective translation with the listicle assignment
5. an attention to style and sentence-level use.
6. a works cited page that lists your secondary sources.

Date
WEEK 11
Tuesday,
Nov. 10

In class
Introduction to Unit #3; discuss
Passage-Based Papers (PBPs)

At home (due the following class)


Read William Deresiewiczs The Neoliberal Arts;
write a PBP (300-600 words).

Thurs.,
Nov. 12

The art of debate

Draft your debate speech version #1 (300-600


words) and post to Blackboard.

WEEK 12
Tuesday,
Nov. 17

Personally speaking; what


counts as a good source?

Identify one secondary source from The Atlantic,


The New York Times, or a comparable source. Draft
a PBP (300-600 words on the response). Post a PDF
of your article and the response to Blackboard.

Thurs.,
Nov. 19

Another point of view (draft


debate speech #2)

Write an address to the Board of Trustee


(approximately 1,200 words) that argues your point
of view and offers a resolution or proposition.

WEEK 13
Tuesday,
Nov. 24

Thanksgiving break

Thurs.,
Nov. 26

Thanksgiving break

WEEK 14
Tuesday,
Dec. 1

Workshop

Read Liz Funk The Art of the Listicle and David


Leonhardts In Defense of the Listicle. Search on
buzzfeed for three excellent examples. Post your
links to Blackboard.

Thurs.,
Dec. 3

Translating your argument: from


letter to listicle

Prepare a 600-word version of your address for


presentation. You should imagine that you are
presenting this paper to the Board of Trustees.

WEEK 15
Tuesday,
Dec. 8

Presentations
Samantha B.
Dannielle
Reese
Mollie
Nick
James
Brandi
Nicole
Sammi

Thursday,

Presentations

Post your address and your listicle to Blackboard by

Dec. 10

Sean
Abby
Jay
Ryan
Joe
Ben
Elle
Kathleen
Erin
Andrea

Friday, December 11.