Gerri McCulloh


Teaching Philosophy:GerriE.McCulloh.12.2015.Mexico
As a teacher, coach, resource, and mentor in rhetoric and composition and professional communication classrooms, I encourage students to engage ethically situated document-design goals toward acoustic accessibility for audience participation. We live our lives in material-discursive acoustic fields where ratios of overlapping waves of affinity, alterity (and resistance), multiplicity, fluidity, and tone enrich rhetoric and composition pedagogy.

Students learn that affiliation, for instance, to a thesis, is partial, open, and mixed, making perspective taking necessary for rich critical thinking on a subject. When students analyze peer-reviewed journal articles or other literature for thesis statements and supports, they also learn to identify underlying assumptions, supporting quotes, methodologies, and limitations, to complement the importance of ethics in rhetorical expressions. Identification becomes important for developing their own thesis statements and supports in informational or analytical arguments. Tone and flow offer inroads into the kind of integrated multiplicity and critical thinking necessary to engage in rhetorically productive arguments and compositions. My students revise, support their assertions, and read their documents aloud, to purposefully engage rhetoric and composition as professional social acts.

I am committed to the implementation of openness at multiple levels to encourage safe learning environments built upon respect, engagement, and celebration of differences. In my online teaching, all composition submissions are open for all students to see, with only grades remaining private. This openness translates well in face-to-face classrooms and those hybrid courses with online components. Students learn from one another as they see how classmates meet assignment challenges. My commitment to openness is combined with an emphasis on peer review, designed as respectful team learning using course texts and other resources for revision. Peer review acts as a catalyst for students to reflect on their own rhetorical processes along with the myriad ways to approach composition challenges, helping students embrace revision as a friendly tool.

My students also begin to focus on how transitions, in their personal writing, professional writing, indeed in their lives, can be supported through respectful and safe review of their composition work and rhetorical ideas. Curiosity is supported as students cross boundaries they thought were fixed or unmovable. Practicing fluid and multiple contexts while retaining their own materially situated voices students gain confidence to use inquisitiveness to engage their disciplines. While my classes are challenging, particularly as students shift from private ideals about writing, I get high student evaluations. Students are enthusiastic about losing their fear of writing, transitioning to ‘writing their disciplines’ with confidence.

My students also focus on ethical team support, understanding the fluidity of rhetoric and language has important tonal qualities and exchanges cross-culturally. These insights are particularly important for my ESL and first generation college students. Student mentoring is a significant part of my success as an instructor. The perspectives my students shift within, often the terrains of productive tension, are supported and engaged as sites for organizing new rhetorical outlooks and adaptive relationships with composition processes.

Courses Currently Taught:

  • ENGL111: Rhetoric and Composition
  • ENGL211: Rhetoric of Documentary Film
  • ENGL203: Business and Professional Communication (online and face-to-face)
  • ENGL218: Technical and Scientific Communication (online and face-to-face)


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