full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Martin Nakell / Chapman University
contact email: 


The following is a list of suggested topics. We are very much open to topic suggestions and would greet warmly any ideas.

1. The new ESL
Many of our students now are first generation immigrants from around the world. Each group faces different difficulties in moving from their first language to English. We seek, in this essay, to explore unique learning challenges to different language groups. Giving Professors this information can help them teach a diverse student population.

2. Work Habits & the Study Room
As we are dealing with developmental writing, we recognize that many of our students today come to college without a good idea of how to go about their work as students. Often, they don't understand their responsibilities. They may not be clear about their relationship with their Professors. Colleges and Universities have set up Study Rooms to give students structured study time. We can also use these times to teach our students how to go to college as well as listening to and helping them with the obstacles they face in getting their education.

3. Holistic vs. Rhetorical Modes
It has become popular to teach writing by breaking the discipline down to rhetorical modes – narrative, argumentative, descriptive, etc. While this approach makes clear the different forms of an essay, some believe it forces students to write awkwardly because every essay needs more than one such mode to make it work. A holistic essay, on the other hand, incorporating the traditional rhetorical modes, focuses on forming a strong, clear thesis from which to develop the essay. We expect this essay would examine and evaluate the relative values of these two approaches.

6. Teaching Grammar – Again?
Teaching grammar fell out of fashion, and possibly for good reason. Students, especially developmental students, can be put off even by the word "grammar." Likely, they don't benefit from detailed study of all the complicated aspects of grammar. Yet, basic grammar is the genius that organizes language for us to use it to communicate. Students must know the basic elements of grammar in order to understand what makes writing work well. They must know what their Professor means by "comma splice" or "verb agreement." This essay would examine the relative values of the pedagogies that abjure grammar and those that embrace it.

7. Origins and Importance of Language
The Fountainhead Press textbook, The Assignment: Why Am I Writing This Essay?, raises the question of what we would do in a world without language. It also presents origin-of-language myths from several cultures. We want our students to learn the act of reading and the art of writing. We also want them to gain an appreciation of language in our lives. Your essay need not, of course, refer to The Assignment. We mention it to illustrate our concern with this issue and as an example of reference to origin-of-language mythologies.

8. Visual Literacy
Visual literacy, the ability to read and interpret visual images, has, quite importantly, become a vital aspect of composition courses. We expect this essay would ask why it is important to gain this skill, what kinds of images bear close attention, etc.

9. Integrating Language, Analysis, Reading, Writing, & Critical Thought
We understand literacy as a discipline that includes a general study of all linguistic activities. We find it important to make that evident to our students who are learning an integrated range of skills. We are looking for an essay that will explore writing as an aspect of literacy.

10. Narrative vs. Analytical Essays
We are interested in an essay that will examine the relative values of narrative vs. analytical essays, discussing the wide range of issues involved, such as: thesis formation and development, argumentation, presenting evidence and presenting experience, narrative strategies, learning outcomes, etc.

11. Technology & Literacy

Any essay in this vast subject will be relevant.

12. How To Motivate Reading in a Hyper-media Age.

Any essay that could tackle this complex issue would be welcome!

13. The Value of Close Reading & the New Criticism Made New

While New Criticism fell to the wayside in the rise of post-structuralism, the New Critical methods prove beneficial to developmental writing students. Can the old "close reading" now offer a way to fill in deficient analytical skills and training? This essay might include a discussion of teaching essay form, clarity, word choice – in particular vis a vis tone and meaning – and the form of an argument.

14. Dialogue with the Text: Reader Response, Writing, & Free Writing

We are interested in an essay that explores the relationship between reader and text,
making the text a living thing, an aspect of the reader's life.