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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Third Year Writing Course Descriptions

Spring 2018

Ms. Kimberly Balding (Sections 02, 13, 39, 40). In English 3010 we will read and write on an advanced level with the following unifying theme: An Interdisciplinary Look at Ireland.  We will read stories and factual accounts related to Ireland.  We will also read what many of Ireland’s writers have to say about Ireland. Other mediums of discussion will revolve around film, art, and music.  Readings, topics, and discussion will include the Celtic people, the myth and legend of Ireland and her people, An Gorta Mor/The Great Famine, The Easter Rebellion of 1916, and The Troubles. That said, we will spend a great deal of time writing about such both reflectively and purposely. Once we have an understanding of Ireland, we will look at what our individual disciplines look like in Ireland.

Dr. Sarah Blomeley (Section 24, 35  ). New Yorker in Nashville. In this course, our essential text will be the upcoming issues of the New Yorker magazine, the most prominent literary magazine published in the United States. Since it began in 1925, the New Yorker has been celebrated as a lively multi-genre journal known for its thought-provoking content, meticulous fact-checking, careful research, and style. We’ll be reading the New Yorker as writers who aim to imitate its purpose, process, and format. Our goal in this course will be to function more as editors and writers than students and teachers as we put together polished, playful, and compelling publications.

Dr. Wyeth Burgess (Sections 15, 23, 27). From Inspiration to Vocation. Beginning with Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, students examine the role of the individual in social and intellectual change. Such films as The Spirit of St. LouisThe Race to the Double Helix, GandhiRachel Carson, Malcolm X, The Buddy Holly Story, and Steve Jobs, along with short readings in a variety of disciplines, prompt inquiry about the ripple effects of individual lives on the fields in which we work. Each student designs a written research project relevant to his or her college program, field, and future. The project may include primary documents and interviews on personal mentors and influences. The companion text, Academic Writing: Real World Topics provides models of writing across the academy with a structured approach for students.

Dr. Heather Finch (Sections 01, 22). To Be Free. Our understanding of freedom is influenced by a range of identities, experiences, disciplines, and career fields. Questions and conversations about freedom lead us to critically think about what it takes to be free through our understanding of religion, gender, class, race, speech, etc. If you have not been personally impacted by or thought critically about freedom within the scope of the aforementioned, you have probably read or encountered many arguments that surround these topics that concern the issues of cultural diversity in America. We will use the theme of freedom as an umbrella to align with English 3010’s objectives to advance your writing, research, critical thinking and reading skills.

Dr. Eric Hobson (Sections 07, 08). Efficient and Effective: Writing to Get the Job Done. By this point in your academic career you control general and discipline-specific knowledge…at least inside your cranium. The challenge, however, is translating that info to audiences that matter: not you (or your teacher…really). Using practical guides and processes (admittedly quirky at times), we follow a structured process to streamline and amplify your writing, while meeting university learning goals. Powerful writing is work (never think it is anything but); yet, it is doable…and, sometimes, not entirely painful.

Dr. Jason Lovvorn (Section 19S *Service-Learning).  This section of Third Year Writing will explore three broadly connected themes: service, poverty, and literacy. As part of our process, we will examine academic research and narrative accounts that expand our understanding of these key concepts. In addition, throughout the semester, we will engage in a service relationship with a Nashville community partner. This work will enable us to approach course themes from an embodied, experiential perspective and will inform the course's reflective writing components. In addition to reflective writing, the course involves writing in an academic mode, including the completion of an annotated bibliography and a research project. Here, students will be encouraged to pursue research connected to a major or minor field of study or to another personal interest. For all writing efforts, the course will consistently stress ways to make prose clear and graceful through drafting, reviewing, and revising.  If you have questions about the class or the service involved, feel free to contact Dr. Lovvorn at

Dr. Carla McDonough (Sections 05, 16, 82). Writing with Purpose. What role does writing play in our personal and in our professional lives? What makes writing matter? How can/does writing make a difference? How can you use writing to accomplish specific ends? To become informed? To inform and persuade others? To bring about change? How do you acquire reliable information? How do you conduct research to become truly knowledgeable about a topic? What difference does it make if an argument is based on faulty logic or questionable data? And how can a writer or a reader tell? First from a personal and then from a professional perspective, we will be investigating these questions in order to arrive at an understanding of how to identify and to create effective writing that can make a difference in your personal and your professional life.  The goal is to consider the many purposes of researching and writing: to think, to learn, to communicate, to inform and to persuade.  All of these roles of research and writing extend far outside of the classroom and into our everyday lives as professionals and as people.

Dr. Gary McDowell (Section 18). What is magic? Is it, “Pick a card, any card”? Yes. But there are nine other categories of effects we magicians use to baffle, confuse, contradict, and entertain.  They are: production, transformation, vanish, restoration, teleportation, escape, levitation, penetration, and prediction.  We float across the stage on a hover board, we walk through The Wall of China, we make elephants and jumbo jets disappear, sure, but we also predict a card chosen at random, we also transform a dollar bill into a blank piece of paper, we also know what you’re thinking before you’re thinking it.  But how? Oh come on, do you really think I’m going to tell you?  Nope. Not now.  But come spring, all bets are off. We will learn here, in ENG 3010: Misdirection: The Magic of Writing, that magic can teach us about how we communicate, how we manipulate our worlds and truths and opinions, how we can best approach our audiences so we can be heard. It turns out that performing a magic trick and writing about our topsy-turvy lives aren’t that different. There’s plenty of magic in our everyday lives; miracles happen every day. You will learn sleight-of-hand; you will write about your experiences with magic (both the everyday and illusionary kinds); and you will learn to see the world, through readings/viewings (TBD, though will certainly be several books, articles, a couple films, etc) and experiments and experiences, one step ahead of your audience.

Dr. Beverly Schneller (Sections 06, 47). “The Power of Narrative” focuses on our innate desire and capacity to tell stories.  Texts for the course include Jonathan Starr’s 2016 memoir, It takes a School about his experience leaving a career in finance to start a school in Somalia; Michael Madden’s 99 Ways to Tell a Story, which tells the same story in visual narrative 99 ways; and, Jonathan Taplin’s Move Fast and Break Things about the influence of social media on language, writing, and our minds.  Our grounding text is Rectenwald and Carr, Academic Writing. Real World Topics (2015), which serves as a guide to writing about digital culture, games, global issues, and other “real world” topics of conversation to which you will want to contribute.  Throughout the semester, we will focus on how to compose and think about effective writing that will engage readers’ minds and imaginations.  Projects for the course will include writing about your own journey through your education, position papers on the cultures of reading, writing, and thinking, and a final, extended project investigating a real world problem you can expect to face in your future.  Attention will also be paid to communicating ideas orally as you will have the chance to give a modified version of a TED Talk on your final project.  At the end of the class, you will have multiple stories, or ways of connecting, with diverse audiences for multiple purposes.

Dr. Jayme Yeo (Section 17, 21).  What does school have to do with your soul? This class invites students to freely explore connections between spirituality, learning, and life in order to better understand the search for meaning and how we find it in our daily experiences. Our conversations on spirituality will not only touch on traditional religious belief, but also artistic creativity, ethical living, human flourishing, and non-traditional religious identities such as spiritual secularism. In order to understand the relationship between spirituality and learning, both historically and today, we will read a variety of materials, including nonfiction books, fictional novels, academic articles, and newspaper stories. Ultimately, this course aims to help students become more insightful thinkers by improving critical skills through writing both personally and academically on this subject. Assignments will include weekly written responses and a research paper that explores connections between your academic field or future career and some aspect of spiritual identity. Although there will be opportunities for personal reflection, you do not have to share your personal beliefs in class or in your papers in order to participate.