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CASLL-L  February 1999

CASLL-L February 1999

Subject:

Re: your book

From:

ROBERTA LEE <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CASLL/Inkshed <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 2 Feb 1999 18:12:46 -0400

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (91 lines) , text/html (382 lines)

Hi, Roberta --

I started a message to the group this morning, and my computer crashed
in the middle! It was in response to a posting about programmes in
rhetoric at other institutions. I had a whole stream going at Lethbridge
-- a dozen new courses in under 6 years, including things like Rhet and
Professional Communication and Rhet and Popular Culture. From 1995 until
1998, when I left there, my students submitted and presented 28
conference papers (these were *undergraduates*) making them the only
ones from Uleth to ever do such a thing. We had a 100% acceptance rate
at the annual Northwest Comm. Association conference, which is a
terrific conference put on by a wonderful group of people. I'm taking
the last of my Leth students this year -- we've put in a panel proposal
for 5 of us. At U of S I hope to be doing some similar things, and have
two former students applying here to do graduate study with me through
the U of S's Interdisciplinary Studies graduate programme (there's as
yet no communication programme here). My web site has details of the
special projects my students did and their conference papers, as well as
a page of general information for anyone who's interested in doing
graduate study in rhetoric and communication. It was originally written
for English majors (I was in English at UL; did I tell you that
already?)

I guess my point to the group was going to be that there may well be
graduate opportunities at U of S in another year or so.

I did know about the Laurentian programme, at least a little bit. It
does sound intriguing. I am very interested in the practical uses of
rhetoric -- I know that some people like to think of it as mainly a body
of theory, but I am inclined to think that you can't divorce rhetorical
theory from practice if you're going to understand the discipline --
including its theory -- fully, since I see communication as both process
and practice. As a result, I've been doing a whole series of practical
hands-on "experiential learning" projects with my students for the past
few years. They have been really interesting and are part of the reason
I was successful in getting this Chairship, I think. Both versions of my
textbook heavily emphasize practical application; they have an abundance
of models (and weak examples, some of them amusing). The real strength
of the book, I'm told, is the job application chapter, which covers
resumes, letters, app. forms, and interviews. It pleases me that people
find this segment of value, because I've put a lot of effort into
getting it "right." When I first began teaching comm courses, I had very
little experience with interviews or the job search process, and I
wondered on what basis my advice would be of value to my students. I
wanted to be sure of what I was saying -- so I proceeded to expand my
job search (I was a sessional at that time [early 80s] and actually
looking for work) to allow me as much experience in interviewing as I
could get. As a result, over the years I've been to more than 80
interviews, have served on committees that interviewed others (as
interviewer, I"ve taken part in more than 200 interviews). The stuff in
that chapter is based on that experience.

I love teaching rhetoric and communication. I am also interested in the
connection between rhetoric and culture, both mass culture and national
culture. I've done several new courses on this topic -- Rhet of Canadian
Identity is one, the only such a one that I know of, in fact. The
students loved it too -- I taught it twice at Lethbridge. I love the
enthusiasm of my students for the subjectof rhetoric -- it's amazing the
way they respond. My web site has some comments from students about
studying rhetoric as well. I'll attach it in case you want to have a
look. I had originally intended to ask Russ Hunt to add it to his page
of links, but the computer crash this morning has put me in a tizzy. I'm
rushing around here like crazy trying to finish up my ms for the
language reader I'm doing with my former colleague John Moffatt. It's
behind deadline because of a severe setback I had in the fall -- I lost
my dad suddenly. We were quite close, so it's been hard. I barely go 5
minutes without thinking about him, still. I imagine that will always be
the way.

I will bow to your greater wisdom and experience with the group as far
as sending on my comments. I'm glad to have another rhetoric person to
correspond with!

I've been to Saint John, but it's been years and years and years (I was
only 16 or so -- too long to remember!). I have a clearer impression of
Fredericton, since of course you pass  through there when driving to
Nova Scotia from points west (which I have done far too often -- it's a
long drive from here!)


----------------------------------------------
Dr. Jennifer MacLennan ([log in to unmask])
D.K. Seaman Chair, Technical and Professional Communication
College of Engineering
University of Saskatchewan
57 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK   S7N 5A9
(306) 966 5388
FAX: (306) 966 5205 (Dean's Office)
----------------------------------------------

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