Instructor: Madison Priest

Office: 7-290E

Office Hours: W 2:15-3:15 or by appt.


Class Time: W/F 12:25 – 1:45                       

Conference Time: W/F 1:45 – 2:05

Classroom: VC 11-140


Required texts

  • The Little, Brown Essential Handbook, 7th ed. (This is required reading for all first year writing students, and is available in the bookstore bundled with 80 Readings for Composition).
  • McInerney, Jay. Bright Lights, Big City. (Vintage; available on Amazon)
  • The rest of the texts will be available on the course website under the “Readings” tab. The password is “nyc2014”.


Course Description

Welcome to English 2100! In this course, you will develop your reading, writing and analytical skills through an exploration—literary and otherwise—of the city around us. I chose this topic because we’re here: For us as a class, New York City is both common ground and a lens through which to explore our differences. A big city of small neighborhoods, New York has been shaped by centuries of immigration and emigration, not to mention countless cultures and subcultures. As we will see in this course, no one person’s experience of this city is exactly the same as anyone else’s. I chose our grammatically questionable course title for a reason: in writing about, in, and through New York City, the texts we will encounter in this class not only create their own versions of the city; they also change how we ourselves see the city around us. By reading fiction, journalism, essays and poetry and watching films, we will seek to understand and critique the New York City these texts offer; and by composing our own formal essays and informal, open-ended writing, we will work towards building our own versions of New York City as individuals and as a class.


Learning Goals for 2100 and 2150: After completing ENG 2100 and 2150, students should be able to:

  • identify the key ideas and techniques used in a variety of articles, essays, and literary works, and subject these works to logical analysis;
  • undertake writing as a process requiring the outlining of ideas, multiple drafting, and revision of complete essays;
  • create an original and cogent thesis and develop an imaginative argument in unified and coherent paragraphs;
  • observe sentence boundaries, punctuate correctly, vary sentence structures, and employ the conventions of standard English grammar and usage;
  • engage with different genres of writing, including the short story, the novel, the essay, poetry, and drama, and comprehend and use appropriate vocabulary in interpreting the material by paying close attention to language and style;
  • identify, analyze, and synthesize multiple sources as support for written arguments;
  • gauge the value of different strategies for argumentation, including the use of counter-arguments;
  • produce researched essays that incorporate sources and that effectively evaluate multiple (and even conflicting) points of view;
  • avoid plagiarism and understand why it is unacceptable, at the same time learning how to appropriately document your research and ideas;
  • imagine the needs of one’s reader when writing in different rhetorical modes and social contexts and take audience and occasion into account when writing.


Course Requirements:

Class Participation: 15%

Students are expected to arrive on time, complete the reading(s), and bring all relevant materials to class. These are the baseline requirements. This grade will also be based upon my assessment of the student’s general responsiveness in class, his or her preparation for and participation in student-led discussions, as well as his or her effort in a few low-stakes writing assignments throughout the semester. In the interest of transparency, here is a rubric of sorts for this grade:

  • We will have 26 classes, after each of which you will be assigned a grade of 0, 1, 2, or 3. I will drop your lowest score, and this will account for 75% ((26 classes-1 freebie) x 3 points) of your participation grade.
    • A 0 will be awarded if the student fails to meet any of the baseline requirements. Please note that I will also award this grade if I see a cellphone or if you’re using your internet-enabled device for anything other than taking notes, referring to the reading or answering a question we as a class have posed.
    • A 1 will be awarded if the student fails to meet one of the baseline requirements. There is a caveat, though: if you’re five minutes late or forget your materials, you can make up for it through strong classroom participation. To wit…
    • A 2 will be awarded if the student meets the baseline requirements and demonstrates active and critical engagement in the classroom. This can happen in full-class discussions, small groups, or in-class writings.
    • A 3 means you’re killing it. You’ve met the baseline requirements; you’re participating thoughtfully in discussion without dominating it; you’re engaging respectfully with your peers and facilitating their learning as well as your own.
  • 15% of your grade will be based on the student-led discussion you actually lead. You’ll be graded on a scale of 1 to 5 on each of the following: your opening statement, your discussion questions, and your facilitation of the discussion that emerges.
  • 10% of your grade will be based on your preparation for the student-led discussions you don’t lead (of which there will be, conveniently, 10). The grading here is simple: if you’re prepared, you get a 1; if not, you get a 0.

Draft Workshops: 5%

Students are expected to meet all draft workshop deadlines and to critique others’ work in a constructive and respectful manner.

Quizzes: 5%

Short quizzes will also be administered from time to time. If you’ve done the reading carefully, you will have nothing to worry about.

Papers: 75%

  • Paper 1 (Personal) – New York City in Transit

1050-1400 words; ~3-4 pp: 10%

  • Paper 2 (Close Reading) – McInerney’s New York City

1400-1750 words; ~4-5 pp: 15%

  • Paper 3 (Compare/Contrast) – Two New York Cities Walk into an Essay

1750-2100 words; ~5-6 pp: 20% 

  • Paper 4 (Research) – New York City in Context

2450-2800 words; ~7-8 pp: 30%


Attendance Policy: Student attendance is expected at all scheduled classes unless excused by the instructor due to extenuating circumstances (illness, family emergency, religious holiday, etc). For an absence to be excused, the student must inform the professor in advance of the absence and must provide documentation. Three or more unexcused absences will result in a failing grade for class participation, and four or more unexcused absences will result in a failing grade for the course. No more than five total absences will be permitted under any circumstances.

Conferences:Two student conferences will be scheduled for the last twenty minutes of every class period. Attendance is mandatory. These do not require any advanced preparation.

Paper Submission and Formatting: All papers should be formatted according to MLA guidelines and in keeping with the assigned length; papers that fail to meet these requirements (i.e. are improperly formatted and/or too short/too long) will not be accepted for credit. Papers should be submitted to by the beginning of class on the day it is due. The class ID for is 8492940 and the password is “nyc2014.”

Rewrites: If you are not satisfied with the grade received on Paper 1, Paper 2 and/or Paper 3, you may choose to rewrite it for a half-grade replacement. In other words, the original grade and the rewrite grade will be averaged to determine the final grade. In the unlikely event that the rewrite grade is lower than the original grade, the original grade will stand. Please note that late penalties will be carried over to rewrites and that late rewrites will not be accepted. In order to be eligible to rewrite your paper, you must 1) speak with me in person about your plans for revising your paper and 2) italicize all changes unless your are changing more than 75% of the paper has been changed. Re-writes are due to at midnight one week after the paper is returned to you.

Late Paper Policy: Students are expected to meet all assigned deadlines except in cases of emergency (which, as for excused absences, must be documented and requested as soon as possible in advance of the deadline). Emergency extensions do not include foreseeable conflicts (religious holidays, unavoidable travel) for which the student may reasonably plan ahead. Late papers will be reduced by 1/3 of a letter grade for each day (24 hour period) that passes after the deadline before the paper is received; that penalty will increase to 2/3 of a grade per 24 hours for the second and subsequent late papers. No papers will be accepted for credit more than ten days after the given deadline.


Additional Writing Resources at Baruch (The Writing Center and SACC): As a writer you’ll want to seek feedback from many different readers. Asking for and receiving feedback does not mean you’re a weak writer; it means that you’re smart enough to know that your writing can always be improved. To supplement the feedback you’ll get in this classroom, I encourage you to solicit feedback from your peers at Baruch at the Student Academic Consulting Center and from the professional writing consultants (some of whom also teaching first-year writing courses) at The Writing Center. The Writing Center is a particularly good resource for this class, as it offers free, one-to-one (in-person and online) and small-group workshop writing support. The Center’s consultants will work with you on your writing and English language skills, and they can be helpful at any step in the writing process.

Disability accommodation: Baruch College is committed to making individuals with disabilities full participants in the programs, services, and activities of the college community through compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. It is the policy of Baruch College that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability will be denied access to any program, service, or activity offered by the university. Individuals with disabilities have a right to request accommodations. If you require any special assistance or accommodation, please contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at (646) 312-4590, and let me know as soon as you can, ideally during the first three weeks of the semester. I encourage persons with disabilities or particular needs that impact course performance to meet with me to co-design accommodations.

Dropping and Withdrawal: If you feel you must drop or withdraw from this course, you must do so by the dates on the Fall 2014 Baruch academic calendar. Merely ceasing to attend class is not the same as dropping or withdrawing; dropping and withdrawing are separate, formal administrative procedures. Dropping is officially removing the course from your schedule within the first three weeks of class with no grade of W appearing on your transcript; withdrawing is officially removing the course from your schedule any time between weeks 3 and 11, and as a result, receiving a permanent “W” on your transcript for the course. If you’re having difficulty in the class for any reason, I encourage you to let me know before dropping or withdrawing.

Academic Integrity Policy: Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in a failing grade for the given assignment; patterned academic integrity violations will result in a failing grade for the course. All violations will be brought to the attention of the Baruch administration. For the purpose of this course, the definitions of cheating and plagiarism are based on the College’s Academic Honesty website:

Cheating is the attempted or unauthorized use of materials, information, notes, study aids, devices or communication during an academic exercise. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Copying from another student during an examination or allowing another to copy your work
  • Unauthorized collaborating on a take home assignment or examination
  • Using unauthorized notes during a closed book examination
  • Using unauthorized electronic devices during an examination
  • Submitting substantial portions of the same paper to two classes without consulting the second instructor
  • Allowing others to research and write assigned papers including the use of commercial term paper services

Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writing as your own, such as:

  • Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes (a functional limit is four or more words taken from the work of another)
  • Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging them
  • Using information that is not considered common knowledge without acknowledging the source
  • Failure to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignment

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