Dimensions of Culture Program
Thurgood Marshall College
Staff Contact: Sue Hawkinson, firstname.lastname@example.org, (858) 534-2742
The Dimensions of Culture Program (DOC) welcomes TA applicants who are committed to using dynamic interdisciplinary approaches to American culture to hone the critical thinking and writing skills of first-year students. Many graduate students will find their own research enhanced by the opportunity to engage in cross-disciplinary work with DOC faculty and TAs with interest and expertise in the social sciences and humanities. Moreover, the opportunity to teach in an interdisciplinary first-year writing program can greatly strengthen academic CVs while providing rigorous training in pedagogical philosophies and practical approaches.
The DOC Director, Dr. Amanda Solomon Amorao, and Assistant Director guide and mentor Teaching Assistants weekly in the instruction of composition and analysis of texts and course questions. All graduate student Teaching Assistants are required to enroll in DOC 500: Apprentice Teaching – Marshall. In this 4-unit graduate seminar they will receive training in best pedagogical practices, including but not limited to: responding to student writing, developing argumentative writing skills, cultivating a democratic and anti-racist classroom, working with non-native speakers of English, and fostering academic integrity.
Teaching Assistants will put into practice what they have learned in DOC 500 as they instruct discussion sections in the program’s lower-division sequence, DOC 1-3. This sequence is required of all first-year students and constitutes the core of Thurgood Marshall College’s general education requirements. It provides a unified academic experience for all first-year students that is grounded in the College’s commitment to social justice while meeting the UC system’s requirement that students demonstrate proficiency in writing. Each quarter, students attend both large-class lectures taught by DOC faculty and small discussion section meetings guided by Teaching Assistants.
DOC 1-3 courses are designed to be integrated, with central themes flowing from course to course and learning objectives building upon each other to ensure that Marshall College students are able to read critically, produce effective written arguments, and practice a rigorous research process after completion of the sequence.
DOC 1, “Reading Diversity,” is a four-unit course offered Fall Quarter. In this course, students practice the critical reading skills necessary to succeed academically through an exploration of the promises and paradoxes in U.S. history, culture, and society. Students read a diverse selection of texts (from historical primary documents to social science theory) to see the many different ways an argument can be presented, supported, and debated. Through sustained analysis of these texts throughout the quarter, students will gain a broad overview of the histories of multiple communities in the U.S., the social construction of race and other categories of difference, the origins of structural inequities, and the movements for social and economic equality. Teaching Assistants attend three DOC 1 lectures each week plus meet with two sections (of up to 16 students each) once each week.
DOC 2, “Arguing Justice,” is a six-unit course offered Winter Quarter that builds on the critical reading skills practiced in DOC 1 and extends the investigation of the concepts introduced in the fall quarter. Students hone their argumentative writing skills by explicitly exploring intersectional questions of justice in U.S. society, particularly in the era just before and after the end of the Civil Rights Movement up to the current day. For this writing-intensive course, students will be required to complete several small low-risk writing assignments that lay the groundwork for two major papers (ranging from 1200-1750 words each) that build in difficulty and require planning, drafting, revising, and editing as part of the writing process. Teaching Assistants will provide feedback to students at every stage of paper development, while also attending three DOC 2 lectures each week plus meeting with two sections (of up to 16 students each) twice each week.
DOC 3, “Imagination & Action,” is a six-unit course offered Spring Quarter. As the culmination of the lower-division sequence, DOC 3 has as its objective the development of students’ research processes. Students will have to use their critical reading and argumentative writing skills to produce a final research paper (1750-2000 words) that analyzes an issue on the UCSD campus related to the larger structural iniquities and questions of justice that ground the entire DOC sequence. Students will not only analyze the topic or issue of their choice as it relates to campus but also propose a solution or intervention supported by their research. DOC 3 thus takes seriously the call to imagine institutions differently. It asks students to propose rigorously researched plans of action, supported by peer-reviewed sources and logical analyses of relevant evidence. For this writing-intensive course, students will be required to formulate a research question, a research plan, a research proposal, and several annotated bibliographic entries, as well as plan, draft, revise, and edit their final paper itself. Teaching Assistants will provide feedback to students at every stage of project development as well as attend three DOC 3 lectures each week plus meet with two sections (of up to 16 students each) twice each week.