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English 494EI (Integrative Experience), Fall 2022

Writing, Identity, and English Studies

University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • INSTRUCTOR: David Fleming, PhD
  • CLASS MEETINGS: MW 2:30 - 3:45 pm, South College E245
  • OFFICE: South College W351
  • OFFICE HOURS: T 2:30 - 4:00 pm, W 1:00 - 2:30 pm, & gladly by appointment
  • PHONE: 545-2972 (o)
  • EMAIL:
  • ZOOM:

  •  Description  |  Assignments  |  Texts  |  Policies & Grades  |  Calendar  


    Writing, Identity, and English Studies is a nonfiction writing course designed to satisfy the University’s Integrative Experience (IE) requirement. The IE is a campus-wide, upper-division course that asks students 1) to reflect on all their learning in college, from their major to their General Education courses to their electives and extracurricular experiences; 2) to further practice key “Gen Ed” objectives, such as oral communication, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary perspective-taking; and 3) to apply what they’ve learned at UMass Amherst to new situations, challenging questions, and real world problems. You can read more about the IE here.

    This course is a writing-intensive version of the IE, designed specifically for senior English majors. Over the course of the semester, you’ll use writing to look back on your work in college and ahead to your future, thinking about possibilities for yourself as a writer, scholar, citizen, employee, and human being. You’ll review your work in English and assess where you are in that discipline, what projects you have found most meaningful and what you’d like to do more of in the future. You’ll connect your work in English with the problems, methods, and discourses of some other subject you’ve studied here, thinking about disciplinary intersections. You’ll think about how you might apply the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired in college to problems, communities, and organizations in the “real world.” And you’ll imagine yourself in some job, program, or situation after college. Throughout, you’ll use the non-fiction personal essay as the focus of your reading and writing. You’ll also practice skills of oral presentation and multi-media composing. And, at the end of the semester, you’ll collect your work from this course into an online portfolio, showcasing your knowledge, skills, accomplishments, and aspirations.

    Learning goals. In this course, you can expect to

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    Work in the course will include:

    Reading. Reading is important for writers: it provides inspiration and models, and it helps center group reflection and discussion. We’ll try to do some reading every week, from both professional writers and one another. I’ll occasionally ask you to bring in or post a written response to our reading.

    Writing. The main work of the course will be your own writing. We’ll do a series of projects, all focused on the IE goals of reflection, integration, and application, each project giving you practice in a different kind of thinking, writing, and communicating.  Tentatively, we’ll undertake the following projects (the linked files below are still to be updated):

    1. Self: in this project, you’ll introduce yourself to others in the class by trying to articulate the present moment in your life and education, looking back at how you have arrived here and looking ahead to where you want to go next.
    2. Major: in this project, you’ll look back at your work in your English courses, reflecting on the projects that have meant the most to you, that you have struggled the most with, that most tellingly point a way forward for you.
    3. College: in this project, you’ll connect your work in English with the problems, methods, and discourses of some other subject you’ve studied here, thinking about disciplinary intersections and roadblocks, possibilities and problems.
    4. Community: in this project, using both research and reflection, you’ll imagine how the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired at UMass Amherst might apply to some problem, organization, or community in the “real world."
    5. Life: in this project, you’ll practice presenting yourself – your knowledge, skills, experiences, productions, and aspirations – to prospective employers, graduate programs, or other potential “sponsors” of your future self.

    Exercises in oral presentation and multi-media composing. In addition to traditional, print-based reading and writing, we’ll also practice public speaking and multi-media & digital composing, doing at least one exercise per project in one of these “other” media.

    Obligations to our writing community. We will do much of our reading, writing, speaking, and composing together; and we’ll be sharing our work often in class and in other venues. Your sensitive and sympathetic participation in both small group and whole-class discussions and activities (in-person and online) will be crucial!

    Final portfolio. At the end of the course, in lieu of a final exam, you’ll produce an online portfolio of your work from the semester, including a reflective introduction about yourself, as well as work from other courses and extracurricular experiences.

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    In addition to readings available as PDFs or links through our Moodle site, there is a required textbook, listed below:

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    Class Policies & Grades

    Please read the following policies carefully and let me know if you have questions about any of them.

    Engagement.  Given the nature of this course, your work will go beyond the traditional academic activities of reading, writing, and discussion. You will be expected to engage energetically with the “outside” world through practical research: attending events like open houses and job fairs; taking advantage of campus resources like the HFA Internship Coordinator; reaching out to potential mentors and employers; and actively preparing yourself for life after college. Some of the websites you’ll want to explore include the University’s Student Success site, the HFA Career Center, and the English Department’s own career-related web pages.

    Attendance:  Regular attendance in this class is important and thus required. If you must miss class for an unavoidable, legitimate reason – serious illness, death in the family, religious observance, etc. – let me know as soon as possible, and remember that you are responsible for any missed work. Beyond one unexcused absence, your final grade will be reduced 1/3 letter grade for each day missed. Coming to class excessively and/or repeatedly late, or turning in work late, may also result in penalties. For campus-wide expectations about attendance, see the University’s Academic Regulations 2022-23 here.

    Classroom Civility and Respect. “The University of Massachusetts Amherst strives to create an environment of academic freedom that fosters the personal and intellectual development of all community members. In order to do this, the University protects the rights of all students, faculty and staff to explore new ideas and to express their views. While the principle of academic freedom protects the expression and exploration of new ideas, it does not protect conduct that is unlawful and disruptive. The University preserves a high standard for members of the community in terms of mutual respect and civility.” For more, click here. For the University's diversity resources, go here.

    Academic Honesty Statement. “Academic dishonesty is prohibited in all programs of the University. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and facilitating dishonesty. Appropriate sanctions may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty. Since students are expected to be familiar with this policy and the commonly accepted standards of academic integrity, ignorance of such standards is not normally sufficient evidence of lack of intent.” For more information, click here.

    Accommodation Statement. “The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to providing an equal educational opportunity for all students. If you have a documented physical, psychological, or learning disability on file with Disability Services (DS), you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations to help you succeed in this course. If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify me within the first two weeks of the semester so that we may make appropriate arrangements. For more information, consult the Disability Services website here.”

    Final grade.  Your final grade for the semester will be based on the following formula:

    Exercises (quizzes, posts, presentations, speeches, group projects, etc.)


    Writing projects


    Project 1: Self


    Project 2: Major


    Project 3: College


    Project 4: Community


    Project 5: Life


    Final portfolio




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    Calendar (tentative)

    day topics and assignments
    1 W 09/07 introduction to class; assign project 1: Self
    2 M 09/12 invention workshop
          Mon., Sept. 12 is last day to add or drop the course with no record
      W 09/14 first draft project 1 due: peer response
    3 M 09/19 writing workshop
      W 09/21 project 1 due; assign project 2: Major
    4 M 09/26 speeches
      W 09/28 speeches, cont'd
    5 M 10/03 first draft project 2 due: peer response
      T 10/05 writing workshop
    6 M 10/10 holiday: no class
      W 10/12 project 2 due; assign project 3: College
    7 M 10/17 invention workshop
      W 10/19 first draft project 3 due: peer response
    8 M 10/24 writing workshop
      W 10/26 project 3 due; assign project 4: Community
    9 M 10/31 invention workshop
          mid-semester: Tues., Nov. 01 is the last day to drop with a "W" (back to top)
      W 11/02 speeches
    10 M 11/07 speeches, cont'd
      W 11/09 first draft project 4 due: peer response
    11 M 11/14 writing workshop
      W 11/16 project 4 due; assign project 5: Life
    12 M 11/21 invention workshop
      W 11/23 Thanksgiving: no class
    13 M 11/28 first draft project 5 due: peer response
      W 11/30 writing workshop
    14 M 12/05 project 5 due; assign final portfolio
      W 12/07 portfolio presentations
    15 M 12/12 last day of class; portfolio presentations
      F 12/16 final portfolio due

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