(Photo by Pete O'Shea)
Ms. Sheila HonigDepartment: English Language and Literature
EUReka Course: Discourse 200: Culture and Diversity (Writing and Speech)
See Ms. Honig's Syllabus.
How do you think your EUReka students benefited from being exposed to undergraduate research early in their academic careers?
On the first day when I told my Discourse II students that this was a class in which they would conduct their own research about writing, not just use the library to find published scholars’ research about some topic, they seemed intimidated. But then we discussed Kenneth Burke’s parlor metaphor where he describes scholarship as an ongoing conversation in a parlor where those who have listened for a while are invited to offer their own ideas. Throughout the semester this metaphorical invitation proved liberating for students who had the faulty assumption that they needed extraordinary credentials to ever have anything interesting or original to say. And ultimately they became pretty enthused when they realized they began to conduct their own surveys and interviews, were given tools to analyze primary sources, and presented their findings to the class with the opportunity to participate in UMKC’s Undergraduate Research Symposium later. I believe this EUReka class was empowering for many students because they became more engaged with reporting on their original research findings rather than just writing another “library paper.”
What advice would you have for colleagues thinking of offering a EUReka course?
My class used Writing About Writing by Wardle and Downs, a text which encourages undergraduate scholarly inquiry about writing studies, along with excellent examples of student primary research in the field of writing. Those interested in creating a EUReka class may want to look for a text/readings that encourage student inquiry in their field, plus read sources on student research such as Sara Orel’s “Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities in the General Education Curriculum.”