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ERIC Number: EJ960941
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-1534-9322
Taking it on the Road: Transferring Knowledge about Rhetoric and Writing across Curricula and Campuses
Fishman, Jenn; Reiff, Mary Jo
Composition Studies, v39 n2 p121-144 Fall 2011
Since Fall 2004, the Undergraduate Catalog at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville has listed a two-part "Communicating through Writing" (WC) requirement, which includes two first-year composition courses and an upper-division course in one of thirty-five majors. Most students fulfill the former by enrolling in English 101 and 102, a two-semester sequence that for many years covered expository writing and a combined introduction to literature and college-level research (19). Starting in 2004-2005, however, we substantially revised both courses. Responding not only to the inauguration of the WC requirement, but also to emerging institutional and disciplinary imperatives, we chose to reorient our curriculum toward transfer. Specifically, we worked to establish courses that promote what D. N. Perkins and Gavriel Salomon describe as "high road" transfer or the "deliberate mindful abstraction of skill or knowledge from one context for application in another" ("Teaching" 25). With this in mind, our redesigned FYC sequence focused on knowledge domains and skills that transfer across writing contexts, such as rhetorical knowledge, knowledge of writing processes, and engagement with multiple literacies and diverse research methods. Elsewhere, we have offered a detailed account of our collaborative, three-year revision process (Fishman and Reiff). In this essay, we turn our attention to the courses we designed along with the research and theories that support them, and we reflect on the possibilities for not only students' knowledge transfer in and beyond FYC, but also our own. In 2004 Jenn was new faculty, and Mary Jo was a newly tenured veteran WPA. In 2010 as we finished writing this essay, we both were leaving UTK, and we found ourselves wondering whether and how our experiences would transfer to new institutions, departments, and FYC programs. Although at this juncture a great deal remains to be seen, we believe that reaching back to reflect on our UTK experiences will provide the distance necessary to facilitate the purpose of the "Course Design"--"to self-critically describe a specific pedagogy that engages in the larger discourse of the field"--and will help us reach forward in new jobs and new locations to address topics of common concern, including the content, scope, and surprisingly strong disciplinarity of transfer-oriented writing instruction. (Contains 3 figures and 3 notes
University of Winnipeg. Department of Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2E9, Canada. Tel: 204-786-9001; Fax: 204-774-4134; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee