FALL, 2009 SYLLABUS (Tentative)

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SEMESTER: Fall, 2009 (August-December, 2009)


COURSE NUMBER:  UNIV 1301                    


INSTRUCTOR  Owen M. Williamson, MA

OFFICE LOCATION:   Education 209

OFFICE HOURS:  To be announced in class.

TELEPHONE:  915-747-7625  

E-MAIL: omwilliamson@utep.edu

CLASS HOMEPAGE: http://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/www.univ1301.edu


LIBRARIAN: Charles Gaunce, 747-8939; cgaunce@utep.edu




COURSE DESCRIPTION: Seminar in Critical Inquiry 

University 1301 is a 3-credit hour course created to help you make a successful start at UTEP. This course will strengthen your academic skills and will help with your transition to university life by offering you a “taste” of what it is to be a university student. 

You will receive considerable support in the course. Your section will be taught by an instructional team consisting of an instructor, student peer leader, and university librarian. In addition, you will wok closely with others, forming friendships with classmates. The goals, instructional team and class size all combine to make University 1301 a course designed for your college success.

METHOD OF INSTRUCTION: Seminar (web enhanced). A variety of instructional techniques may be used depending on content area. These may include but are not limited to: lecture, multimedia, cooperative/collaborative learning, labs and demonstrations, projects and presentations, speeches, debates, panels, conferencing, performances, and out of classroom learning experiences. Methodology will be selected to best fit class needs. You are responsible for taking notes during each class (including lectures and discussions, films and other activities). You will be expected to dedicate about 3 hours outside of class for every hour in class (that is, about nine hours a week outside class), including no more than 75 pages of reading a week, plus a brief written Learning Log assignment and other writing practices, online assignments, research and activities.  If you ever find that you regularly need to spend more than nine hours a week outside of class on this course, please advise Instructor immediately.


Goal 1. Students will begin to understand their roles, opportunities and responsibilities that impact their success within the context of the University.

·         Objective 1.1.  Students will explore one or more academic topics to become familiar with specific academic disciplines.  

·        Objective 1.2.  Students will demonstrate knowledge of the rules of academic integrity and will practice acceptable academic behavior.

·         Objective 1.3  Students will become familiar with current UTEP academic policies and requirements in order to remain in good academic standing and graduate in a timely manner. To fulfill this objective, you  will read and study the Borders: Crossing into Your Future textbook, and the UTEP Undergraduate Catalog.

·         Objective 1.4. Students will participate in appropriate advising procedures to develop a plan of study. You will be encouraged to take control of your own education by obtaining your required program of studies from your current, prospective or desired major department.  This document will be used throughout the semester.

·        Objective 1.5. Students  will examine personal and social transition issues affecting college success. You will be assigned to use the Borders text to facilitate this process. You will also have assignments that "Celebrate Diversity," which will offer the opportunity to encounter people, ideas, images, cultures and lifestyles, on campus and off, that may be radically different from those you might have encountered previously in your everyday life.

Goal 2. Students will learn about and practice essential academic skills in order to strengthen performance in the University setting.

·         Objective 2.1 Students will demonstrate an improved level of skill in critical thinking and problem-solving.  You will be asked for verbal and written critical responses and you will be introduced to new and challenging concepts and problems. You will have ample opportunities to learn and practice varied rhetorical techniques, along with other intellectual and cultural experiences related to the theme of the course.

·         Objective 2.2. Students will demonstrate an improved level of skill in oral, written and electronic communication. For this course, you will be required to obtain and regularly use a personal Facebook page online. You must read all your course-related e-mail and Facebook messages, as you will be responsible for their content, as well as for checking the course  website <http://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/www.univ1301.edui> on which you can find all class assignments along with a wide variety of resources and links related to the theme of the course. You will be able to communicate with the Instructor, with your Peer leader and with your classmates on Facebook or by e-mail. Groups of students will present reports to the class using posters, Internet websites and / or PowerPoint presentations.

·         Objective 2.3. Students will demonstrate an improved level of skill in library and electronic research. During this course you will receive an orientation to the University Library and the resources that it offers to you. The class will be visiting the Library and receiving an orientation on its hardcopy and electronic resources. For this course, you will have a assigned librarian as part of the instructional team, to whom you can turn for help at any time.

·         Objective 2.4.  Students will demonstrate an improved level of skill in discussion in both small and large groups.

·         Objective 2.5. Students will demonstrate an improved level of still in academic survival and success strategies (e.g., active learning skills, note-taking, reading, test taking, time management, etc. For this purpose you will be required to keep a Learning Log in which you will complete a series of rhetorical learning exercises along with your own comments. During the course, strategies for note-taking and annotation, time management and rhetorically-informed approaches to reading and composition will be directly addressed, through intensive use of the Borders textbook and reference to rhetorical theory and practice as appropriate. 

Goal 3. To help students build a network of faculty, staff and peers in order to create a supportive and positive learning experience / environment.

·         Objective 3.1. Students will meet at least twice with the instructional team to discuss academic progress and transition to UTEP and to explore options for improvement.  Your attendance at these conferences is mandatory and required in order to pass the course.

·         Objective 3.2. Students will meet at least once other appropriate staff and instructors, such as their academic advisor, their other professors and / or teaching assistants, and the librarian assigned to their UNIV 1301 section.  These meetings will be scheduled as an integral part of the class calendar during the semester. Attendance is mandatory in order to pass the course.

·         Objective 3.3 Students will participate in group activities and learn more about group roles and facilitation skills. Each member of the class will participate in a major group research project and in a written and oral presentation of the results.

·         Objective 3.4. Students will become familiar with the University’s student organizations.  You will be required to contact at least two different on-campus student organizations that are of interest to you, and report to the class on their activities, requirements, membership and other characteristics.

Goal 4. Students will begin to assess and better understand their own interests, abilities, and values in order to more efficiently pursue their academic, career and life goals.

·         Objective 4.1.  Students will engage in at least one goal-setting activity or exercise. This activity will be scheduled on the class calendar.

·         Objective 4.2. Students will participate in at least one activity or exercise to assess learning styles and relate them to college tasks.

·         Objective 4.3. Students  will participate in at least one assessment activity or exercise that examines the student’s interests, abilities, and values. 

·         Objective 4.4 Students will participate in at least one activity or exercise to become familiar with the steps required to prepare for a career.  There will be a UTEP advisor assigned to this course, who will be asked to speak to the class at least twice during the semester on career-related themes.

Goal 5. Students will become involved in UTEP activities and utilize campus resources.

·         Objective 5.1. Students will attend / participate in social, cultural and intellectual events at UTEP.

·         Objective 5.2.  Students will become aware of and use selected academic and student support resources, especially the Tutoring and Learning Center, Counseling Center, Career Services, Academic Advising, Student Development, Health Center, and on-campus computer labs.  You will have the opportunity to meet personnel from these departments, and there will be in-class discussion of how to make best use of the diverse resources that you pay for in your UTEP tuition and fees.

·        Objective 5.3. Students will demonstrate regular use of University information dissemination systems, such as e-mail, bulletin broadcasts, and websites.  The class will make extensive use of University websites and web spaces, and course instructions and updates will be provided via e-mail.  Regular activities will involve University broadcasts, bulletins and information systems.

Weekly calendar of Fall, 2009
University Seminar sessions, readings and assignments:

May be modified at any time with advance notice. Notice of updates will be provided by e-mail and online at http://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/www.univ1301.edu/calendar.htm.  In case of absence, or if class is ever cancelled due to circumstances beyond Instructor control, students are still expected to complete and submit all assignments shown on the Calendar page if possible.

To be announced.


A.                 You will be able to define and apply the classical rhetorical concepts of logos, pathos, ethos, audience, kairos, style and delivery to your own life and experiences as an individual, a consumer, and as a UTEP student.

B.                 You will be able to identify and analyze the practical rhetoric of current issues of public debate.  

C.                 You will be able to identify and analyze rhetoric in examples of current advertising,TV, music and movies.  

D.                 You will be able to discuss the persuasive appeals of contemporary demagogy, cheats, predators and con games.

E.                  You will be able to discuss your own rhetorical situation as a university student.

F.                  You will be able to compare and contrast your own rhetorical practices and assumptions with those of other diverse components of the University and the wider adult world.   


Ongoing student progress in this course is evaluated based on class participation, out-of-class written assignments, in-class exercises, and in- and out-of-class written responses to diverse films, events and presentations. Letter or number grades may not be provided for all assigned daily work. There will be a major research paper and presentation, and a comprehensive final exam covering the goals, vocabulary and subject competencies of the class.

MEASURABLE SUBJECT COMPETENCIES [you will be tested on these!]:

1. You will be able to identify the most important concepts of classical rhetorical theory, both by name and by example.
2. You will be able to apply a basic classical rhetorical analysis to real-world examples of current public rhetoric.
3. You will be able to discuss the basic rhetoric of college, of scholarly work, of the intellectual life and of adulthood.
4. You will be able to apply elements of dialectical analysis to examples of current reality and public debate.  
5. You will be able to identify and differentiate between examples of antagonistic and non-antagonistic rhetoric, and discuss when each approach is appropriate.  
6. You will be able to discuss the rhetorical character of some contemporary music and entertainment.  
7. You will be able to discuss why demagogues, con artists, predators and cultists seem so easily able to persuade unsuspecting victims, and you will be prepared to identify and better resist these hostile rhetors' appeals.

Grading will be based on the following factors:

Total: 100%   

Extra Credit is available (and strongly encouraged) for extra diversity or on-campus event reports directly related to the theme of this course. Ask instructor for details. 

Instructor expectations and penalties: All University norms of conduct apply to this course. This class is a "Free Speech Zone" and students are encouraged to courteously question and/or challenge the Instructor or anything in the course content.  A "contempt" penalty (off the "class participation" component of your final grade) will be applied for each incident of deliberate non-participation in class, here defined as sleeping or pretending to sleep in class, refusing to respond appropriately to the Instructor, or behavior that is hostile to the educational process or which, in the Instructor's opinion, shows a clear attitude of contempt for the course, the Instructor, classmates or visitors to the class.  This should be extremely rare, and before this is imposed you will normally be given ample opportunity to "show cause" why this penalty should not be applied in your case.

Guiding principle: "Results count." Though "good faith effort" is important in regard to the Instructor's willingness to help you achieve good results, in the grading process effort will not substitute for results.

Timeliness and completeness expectations: All graded work will be downgraded one letter-grade for each calendar day late.  Any student failing to submit a major assignment, including a fully completed Learning Log, the two Diversity papers or the Final Research Project (including presentation), or failing to sit for the Final Exam will receive a grade of "F" for the course. No “Incomplete” grades are available except in well-documented emergency cases clearly beyond the student’s control.  Anyone unable to attend class on the scheduled Final Exam date may request to take the exam early.

Attendance is required unless special arrangements are made to the contrary. Enrollment in this course is voluntary, and by making the choice to enroll you agree to attend and participate. If you are having trouble attending a class session, please advise the Instructor by e-mail.  You are expected to make proper arrangements (including having alternate transportation or child care options available whenever necessary) to ensure attendance at class sessions and to complete all in-class and homework assignments. Family or job obligations, transportation problems or health or child care difficulties do not excuse absences or missing coursework--the only "excused" absence is for University-related activities. If you are absent, you are still expected to complete all assigned work on the Calendar for that class session.  Unless special arrangements are made before hand, if you are counted absent for any three weekly class sessions during the semester you may be dropped without further notice any time after the third absence, or you may graded "F" for the course, for failure to participate.


Students with disabilities are expected to adhere to attendance requirements the same as other students without disabilities. However, for a few students the nature of their disability may preclude them from attending class regularly. The Instructor will discuss with the student needing “absence consideration” the maximum amount of absences he/she can have and still receive credit for the course. .Maximum amount of absences will be determined by the Instructor in consultation with DSSO


Extended time on coursework:   You may be eligible for this accommodation if you have a substantial limitation:

You should request this accommodation from DSSO well in advance of coursework deadlines, and speak with the instructor to make arrangements for flexibility of deadlines.

Academic integrity statement:  Academic dishonesty is prohibited in this course. It is the official policy of the university that all suspected cases or acts of alleged scholastic dishonesty must be referred to the Dean of Students for investigation and appropriate disposition. Any student who commits an act of scholastic dishonesty is subject to discipline. Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to cheating, copying, falsifying research or data, plagiarism, collusion, the unacknowledged submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, or any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student, or the attempt to commit any of the above acts.

Disability statement:  If a student has or suspects he/she has a disability and needs an accommodation, he/she should contact the Disabled Student Services Office (DSSO) at 747-5148 or at <dss@utep.edu> or go to Room 106 Union East Building.  The student is responsible for presenting to the instructor any DSS accommodation letters and instructions.   

Special notes: This syllabus is intended to provide an outline of the course plus the rules that the instructor will adhere to in evaluation the student’s progress.  However, this syllabus is not intended to be a legally-binding contract and should not be interpreted as such. Questions regarding the syllabus are welcome at any time.

Name, phone and e-mail of two classmates: 

1. ____________________________________________________________________________

2. ___________________________________________________________________________


For educational purposes only.


Owen M. Williamson - Education Bldg 211E - phone: (915) 747 7625 - fax: (915) 747 5655


The University of Texas at El Paso - 500 W. University Ave. - El Paso, TX 79968

Important Disclaimer

Open Courseware | OCW |This work is dedicated to the Public Domain..



Special notes: This syllabus is intended to provide an outline of the course plus the rules that the instructor will adhere to in evaluation the student’s progress.  However, this syllabus is not intended to be a legally-binding contract and should not be interpreted as such. Questions regarding the syllabus are welcome at any time.

Name, phone and e-mail of two classmates: 

1. ____________________________________________________________________________

2. ___________________________________________________________________________


For educational purposes only.

Owen M. Williamson - Education Bldg 211E - phone: (915) 747 7625 - fax: (915) 747 5655
The University of Texas at El Paso - 500 W. University Ave. - El Paso, TX 79968
Important Disclaimer

Creative Commons License
Open Courseware | OCW |This work is dedicated to the Public Domain..