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6 ASU English spring 2022 courses for clearing your head

November 3, 2021

In 2021, ongoing social, environmental and economic upheavals have made sifting through the noise — sometimes metaphorical noise, sometimes literal noise — an unfortunate part of daily life. How to determine what’s worth your time? What’ll make you spiral versus make you soar? And what’s that sound?

New for spring 2022, a set of courses from the Department of English at Arizona State University will provide a positive outlet for existential angst. From poetry for the people, to writing for social change, to speculating on the future, to analyzing sports media, these courses won’t add to the questions, they’ll answer them.

Registration information for these and a sampling of other fall semester classes is provided below. Find more in the ASU class schedule (search by “ENG,” “FMS,” “LIN”  or “APL” prefixes), searchable by both online and in-person options.

1. ENG 394: Poetry for the People

Creative writing students M. McDonough and Aida Campos participate in a Humanities Week event on the ASU campus, Oct. 2021. / Photo courtesy Sally Ball

ASU creative writing students M. McDonough and Aida Campos participate in a Humanities Week event on the ASU campus on Oct. 19. Photo courtesy of Sally Ball

What it is: Modeled on the blueprint of June Jordan’s revolutionary UC Berkeley program, ENG 394: Poetry for the People at ASU is a lecture and workshop series that introduces a variety of poetic forms and traditions. Focused on bridging the divide between the academy and community, students write their own poems while exploring the ethical and political possibilities of poetry. Throughout the semester, poets visit the class to read and speak on their role as a poet in the world.

Why it matters: Poetry’s unique ability to say a lot with a little is a primary source of its power. Poetry for the People demonstrates the art form’s applicability in everyday life while naming the sociohistorical realities that underpin it.

Who’s in charge: Poet and ASU Assistant Professor Solmaz Sharif teaches this course as a master class in speaking truth and sharing it with others. Sharif, who is the author of the National Book Award finalist “Look” (2016) and the former managing director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, studied and taught with Jordan’s Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley.

Who should take it: ENG 394 is open to undergraduates of any major with an interest in literature, poetry, language, writers and writing, community engagement, activism, ethics or politics who have met basic first-year composition requirements.

If you register: ENG 394 Poetry for the People (class # 20576) meets Tuesdays from 3–4:15 p.m. on ASU’s Tempe campus. Students must also register for a recitation section.

2. ENG 494: Chicana/o/x Futures: Prophecies, Science Fiction and Other Speculative Ruminations

A mural in San Francisco’s Mission District. / Photo by Fabrice Florin on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0.

San Francisco’s Mission District is filled with inspiring murals painted by local artists, many of them Chicano. Photo by Fabrice Florin on Flickr (used under CC 2.0)

What it is: What does the future hold? Is it a utopian moment where all humanity comes together? Will the challenges of today metastasize into a dystopian nightmare? And if it is the latter, what are we to do now? ENG 494: Chicana/o/x Futures will explore these questions primarily through Chicano cultural texts, such as “La Raza Cósmica,” “Lunar Braceros,” “High Aztech,” “The Last Generation,” “The Rag Doll Plagues,” “Sleep Dealer,” and more.

Why it matters: The future is now! Also, reading sci-fi can really help articulate and navigate our fears about the future.

Who’s in charge: Professor of English Lee Bebout, an affiliate faculty in the School of Transborder Studies, teaches this course. Bebout is the author of the books "Whiteness on the Border: Mapping the U.S. Racial Imagination in Brown and White" (2016) and “Mythohistorical Interventions: The Chicano Movement and its Legacies” (2011).

Who should take it: ENG 494 is open to any undergraduate with an interest in writing, reading, fiction, science fiction, speculative futures, literature, language, communication, culture, media, technology, Latino identity or diaspora studies who has met basic first-year composition requirements.

If you register: ENG 494: Chicana/o/x Futures (class # 30834) is offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon–1:15 p.m. on ASU’s Tempe campus.

3. FMS 360: Sports Media

Brandon Marshall, a linebacker for the Denver Broncos American football team, kneeling in protest during the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner at a game in 2016. / Photo by Jeffrey Beall on Wikimedia Commons. Used under CC 4.0.

Brandon Marshall, a linebacker for the Denver Broncos, kneels in protest as the cameras roll during the singing of the national anthem at a game in 2016. Photo by Jeffrey Beall on Wikimedia Commons (used under CC 4.0)

What it is: Commercial sports and the media have long enjoyed a symbiotic relationship. Sport has been featured in hundreds of films, boosted television viewership and provided a generation of fans a continuously streaming pastime on the internet. This course will survey the history of the connection between sports and media, with emphasis on the technological and economic favors that sports has been granted. In addition, students will explore how media representations of athletes comment on larger issues in American society.

Why it matters: The hundred-billion-dollar sports media industry is worthy of a closer look; the informed consumer can make reasoned choices about where to spend time, money and social capital.

Who’s in charge: Professor Aaron Baker, a film and media studies specialist, teaches this course. Baker is the author of “Contesting Identities: Sports in American Film” (2003) and the editor of “Out of Bounds: Sports, Media and the Politics of Identity” (1997). His newest book, “The Baseball Film: A Cultural and Transmedia History,” is forthcoming in 2022.

Who should take it: FMS 360 is open to any undergraduate with an interest in film, television, digital culture, media and marketing, internet gaming, business, sports, race, gender, politics, technology, communication or writing who has met language or film course prerequisites; see course catalog for details.

If you register: FMS 360: Sports Media (class # 30749) meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3–4:15 p.m. on ASU’s Tempe campus.

4. ENG 598: How to Teach Shakespeare

ASU student Noah Brown recites a speech from Shakespeare's "Henry V" at a Mary Lou Fulton College fair outside the Memorial Union in 2016. Photo by Charlie Leight / ASU News.

ASU student Noah Brown recites a speech from Shakespeare's "Henry V" at a Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College fair outside the Memorial Union in 2016. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

What it is: This course covers strategies for lifting Shakespeare from “tired” to “wired” in the secondary and college-level classroom. Designed to build confidence in teaching the Bard’s plays to Gen Z learners, students will learn different types and modes of instruction in a practical, fun and hands-on atmosphere.

Why it matters: Right. So you’ve heard the controversy over Shakespeare. He’s dead, he’s white, his language is glitchy. Is he still worth classroom time? This course’s answer is a resounding “yes.”

Who’s in charge: Regents Professor Ayanna Thompson, who directs the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and created RaceB4Race, is the course’s instructor. Thompson is the author of “Shakespeare in the Theatre: Peter Sellars” (2018) and co-author of “Teaching Shakespeare with Purpose: A Student-Centred Approach,” among other performance and literary studies.

Who should take it: How to Teach Shakespeare is ideal for in-service language arts and drama teachers and any graduate student with an interest in literature, education, language, literacy, theater or communication.

If you register: ENG 598: How to Teach Shakespeare (class # 30702) meets Tuesdays from 4:30–7:15 p.m. on ASU’s Tempe campus.

5. ENG 494: Writing for Social Change

A student types a custom poem during a Humanities Week on October 19, 2021 on ASU's Tempe campus. / Photo courtesy Sally Ball.

A student uses a manual typewriter to type a custom poem during a Humanities Week event Oct. 19 on ASU's Tempe campus. Photo courtesy of Sally Ball

What it is: Climate change. Affordable health care. The income gap. Food insecurity. What are the issues and concerns that call you to action? ENG 494: Writing for Social Change offers a rhetorical approach to understanding and using writing to participate in social change, highlighting the often “behind the scenes,” or invisible, rhetorical work on which such efforts depend. Each student researches a concern that they consider deserving of broader attention and action, identifies the conditions that have created and/or perpetuated this concern, and designs elements of an infrastructure that is responsive to the complexity of that concern.

Why it matters: Who doesn’t have a cause they’d like to champion, if only they knew how? Writing really can play a role in solving problems and bringing about significant social change.

Who’s in charge: Professor Shirley Rose, former director of ASU’s Writing Programs and an authority on activist rhetorics, is this course’s instructor. Rose is most recently the co-author of “The Internationalization of U.S. Writing Programs” (2018) and “Going Public: What Writing Programs Learn from Engagement” (2010).

Who should take it: Writing for Social Change is open for any undergraduate with an interest in writing, advocacy, activism, politics, social justice, creative nonfiction, rhetoric, literacy, communication or media and marketing who has met basic first-year composition requirements.

If you register: ENG 494: Writing for Social Change (class # 25610) meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon–1:15 p.m. on ASU’s Tempe campus.

6. ENG 414: Studies in Linguistics: Multimodal Discourse Analysis

Creative Writing student Erin O'Malley performs a reading during a Humanities Week event, October 19, 2021. / Photo courtesy Sally Ball.

Creative writing student Erin O'Malley speaks during a Humanities Week event Oct. 19 on the ASU campus. Photo courtesy of Sally Ball

What it is: Don’t be fooled by the complicated title; ENG 414 makes interpreting meaning a clear process. Examining various “modes” of media, from television to visual art, from video games to social platforms, students will learn how to analyze many kinds of text and talk, from speaking to the role of not speaking, from participants’ body language to the colors of fashion. The course will approach various “texts” from a critical perspective of their representation of identities, location and many other expressions of meaning.

Why it matters: The ability to separate substance from style — and meaning from mode — is a skill that will come in handy, no matter a student’s career path.

Who’s in charge: Professor Karen Adams, a sociolinguist, teaches this introduction to discourse analysis. Most recently, Adams is the author of “Mediated Campaign Debate Subgenre and Their Importance for Analytic Considerations” in the 2018 volume “Doing Politics: Discursivity, Performativity and Mediation in Political Discourse” and researches genres such as “talking head” shows and street signs.

Who should take it: ENG 414 is open to any undergraduate with an interest in language, linguistics, rhetoric, communication, writing, culture or other related fields who has met language course prerequisites; see course catalog for details.

If you register: ENG 414: Multimodal Discourse Analysis (class # 19878) is offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30–5:45 p.m. on ASU’s Tempe campus.

This list is just a sampler of what you can explore in the Department of English at ASU, a unit in the humanities division of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, during spring 2022. Taught by award-winning faculty from myriad specialties, the courses cross disciplinary boundaries and are designed to reach students where they are.

Top photo: Aida Compos writes in a spiral during a Humanities Week event on the ASU Tempe campus Oct. 19. Photo courtesy of Sally Ball

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Senior marketing and communications specialist , Department of English

480-965-7611

Flexibility, support attract active duty military members, veterans to ASU health programs


November 3, 2021

Courtney Lefko has always wanted to serve her country and she’s also always wanted to earn a degree. Becoming a member of the Army National Guard has afforded her the opportunity to do both.

“The National Guard makes it possible for you to serve and go to college at the same time, and I really like that aspect because getting my degree was really important to me,” Lefko said. ASU students Courtney Lefko, left, and Heather Greene, right, pose in their military uniforms. Courtney Lefko (left) and Heather Greene say they've received a lot of support as they navigate their schooling and military service. Download Full Image

Heather Greene moved to Arizona more than a decade ago to attend college but wasn’t able to afford it, so she enlisted in the Air Force knowing that one way or another she’d be able to get financial help in pursuing an education.

“The Air Force has a scholarship called the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program, or NECP for short, and I decided I’m going to pursue this and if I don’t get selected, worst case, I’ll just separate and use my GI Bill. I didn’t want to but I was like, if I have to I will,” Greene said.   

Their military service is not the only thing they have in common. Both Lefko and Greene are nursing students at Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation. 

Lefko is in the concurrent enrollment program while Greene is enrolled in the accelerated program. Upon graduation, they will both earn a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

And while their paths to ASU were different, the flexibility and support they received from Edson College before even enrolling in a program were the same.

“I started the program and then was sent on deployment overseas, and the entire time, the ASU program was very supportive of me, helping me stay on track and communicating with me so I could get right back into classes when I came back,” Lefko said.

For Greene, the college went a step further, working with her to accommodate the requirements of the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program scholarship, which she learned she’d received while on deployment in Honduras last year.

“I am so blessed to even be here and have this opportunity because it’s just so competitive on both ends of the stick, getting into nursing school and getting selected for this scholarship,” Greene said.

Both students say their professors and advisers have played big roles in helping them to not only get where they are but in helping them stay on track and engaged when duty calls.

Working with military, reserve and veteran students to ensure they can navigate their service and schooling is nothing new for the college.

Katherine Kenny, associate dean of academic affairs for Edson College, says there are students enrolled in every undergraduate program who are either actively serving or have served. In total there are 284 military-affiliated students across all programs.

“Our military and veteran students have already done so much for this country. It’s really an honor for us to be able to provide excellent service to ensure they can achieve their academic dreams. We want to see all of our students do well, and we are dedicated to providing resources and time to support their success,” Kenny said.

It’s not just individual college support either. Lefko points to the military and veteran services offered universitywide that make ASU a great choice for enlisted, reservist or veteran students and their families.

“ASU has been really helpful in connecting me with resources to help get my tuition covered. The Army pays for the majority of my tuition but whatever is leftover is covered by ASU’s Military Active Duty and Reservist Commitment Scholarship,” Lefko said.

In addition to the day-to-day services, there are also year-round opportunities for engagement and connection. Right now, the university is in the midst of recognizing and celebrating all who have served through the annual Salute to Service campaign. It’s an opportunity for the university to show support to our military community and their families. 

“I think it’s so inspiring to see people who are serving their country and then taking their free time because they don’t get any time to do classes and bettering themselves,” Lefko said.             

Both students are on track to graduate in 2022 and plan to use their degrees to continue serving in their respective branches as registered nurses. As they continue working toward that goal, they shared some advice for fellow military members and veterans considering attending ASU.

“My best advice would be, don’t be afraid to reach out. Just because you don’t feel like you are a perfect fit or you have some sort of restrictions or restraints or something that would hold you back, don’t be afraid to ask the question and reach out to the college, because everyone I’ve met has been extremely helpful and kind, and I feel like they want every student to succeed,” Greene said.

“I think people see the university as this big inflexible entity but that’s not the case. As I said, in my experience, if you reach out, talk to them ahead of time and let them know what’s going on, they will work with you to find a solution. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, for help or support,” Lefko said.

Amanda Goodman

Senior communications specialist, Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation

602-496-0983