The Author in Context course teaches students how to examine an individual author's work in view of the literary, biographical, historical and cultural forces that shaped that work. The course also develops students' understanding of the critical and theoretical issues that have informed literary scholarship and criticism on an individual author's works. In addition, since all Author in Context courses fulfill one of the writing-intensive requirements for the major, each section must fulfill the criteria for such courses. Hence, Author in Context courses will meet the following guidelines:
1. The course focuses primarily upon a single author, the contexts that shaped his or her work as well as the critical and/or theoretical contexts that continue to shape the reading and interpretation of the work.
2. Required readings include primary literary works by the author as well as historical or cultural contextual scholarship, literary criticism, and/or theoretical readings to suggest a range of ways the author's works may be read.
3. The course requires students to produce 15-20 pages of formal writing for a specific audience and purpose. This does not include in-class essay exams or informal writing about course content. Students will produce two or more formal written pieces unless a single longer piece written in multiple drafts is more appropriate to course objectives. Instructors will provide explicit written directions for completion of the formal writing assignments as well as clear assessment criteria; they will build into the course syllabus instruction in how to complete formal writing assignments.
4. For at least two of the formal written pieces, the instructor will intervene in the students' writing process, guiding them to generate ideas, plan a draft, and make substantive changes to produce a final draft. If a single longer piece written in multiple drafts is more appropriate to course objectives, the instructor will intervene at least twice in the students' writing process. The instructor may choose to make suggestions for revision either in written form or in conferences with students.
5. Students will use informal writing to explore course materials, engage the readings, and reflect on course content. Such informal writing can include any of the following and any number of other writing activities: reading journals or logs, focus questions or discussion topics, short in-class responses to lectures or readings, invention and pre-writing for formal papers.
6. The course description and syllabus distributed to students will indicate that it is a writing-intensive course, describe the role writing will play in it, and explain any special policies related to writing such as a policy on late papers, peer writing workshops, revision, or plagiarism.
Author in context course procedure for approval
Faculty who have determined that they would like to teach an Author in Context course that also meets all the criteria for a writing-intensive course will indicate on their teaching preference sheet their desire to do so and the author they would like to teach. Approved Author in Context courses are scheduled at the Chair's discretion.
Faculty will submit a completed Author in Context proposal form to the Curriculum Committee for approval or suggestions for revision. The Curriculum Committee will forward to the Chair all approved proposals. The Chair will keep a record of approved Author in Context courses and schedule them based upon the number of sections required each year for English majors, keeping in mind the need for balance and diversity in the curriculum.