Teaching Philosophy

U n i v e r s i t y o f C a l i f o r n i a BERKELEY • DAVIS • IRVINE • LOS ANGELES • MERCED • RIVERSIDE • SAN DIEGO • SAN FRANCISCO

Merritt Writing Program
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343

Dr. Iris Deana Ruiz
Clovis CA 93612


Teaching Statement–Organic Intellectual:

A cornucopia containing a variety of organic fruits is a visual representation I chose to describe my classroom on any given day on any given semester in the Merritt Writing Program. This image portrays many different kinds of organic and colorful fruits; each of them represents their own pattern of growth throughout the duration of their cultivation (in this case, a semester). In order to achieve this result, I envision myself as a collaborator and an organic fertilizer of knowledge involved in the process of making meaning out of texts. As an organic intellectual, I am involved in the growth and cultivation of knowledge, represented through the engagement of not only me and my 20 students (in any given class), but also of the texts that are read and critiqued in class.

My identification as an organic intellectual is closely related to my research, which has undoubtedly influenced my practice. Much of my research is currently centered on the discovery of untold disciplinary histories as well as critical historiography in general. Histories of voices, texts, movements, writing styles are, for example, not often taken for granted in any of my classes. Thus, as a myriad of voices are present on any given day in my class in body and in texts, I feel that my role is to facilitate growth by helping students make meaningful connections with and amongst texts, ideas and opinions of others in a critical manner, always looking for their own best path to understanding and making meaning through reading and analysis of written texts. In the process of doing so, my students write their own critical arguments and write their way into a more critical awareness of how textual arguments are constructed.

As a co-producer of knowledge and critical analyses in the classroom, I see myself as the lead facilitator and, thus, possess a responsibility to my students in ways that also go beyond the classroom, such as serving as a faculty advisor for a potential Sorority that is currently an interest group named, “The Angels”. This group is fascinating; it is composed of all females who are very successful and from a variety of backgrounds economically, culturally and educationally. They are all quite driven. I came to be the advisor of the group and I was able to interact and provide advice to the members of this group as needed. Thus, I feel very comfortable as a co-producer of knowledge among the students here at UC Merced and I have maintained professional relationships with previous students in hopes to see them graduate. I started in the Fall, 2010 and some of my students are now Juniors. While it is not a formal appointment to show interest in one’s students’ successes, I feel that my out-of-class interactions with students contribute to the campus climate positively. Furthermore, as an organic intellectual, it is important that I am always learning by growing and cultivating contributions to my field and to my campus. While these contributions are not in the form of publications, I am an avid teacher/researcher in areas such as the use of technology in the classroom and the place of Generation 1.5 and first-generation college students in writing instruction. I also practice ways to maintain my professional development. I have attended three of the technology and teaching workshops on campus, where I learned various platforms for being creative with technology while trying to achieve pedagogical goals. It was part of the Faculty Seminar Series with Certificate program; my final project will focus on the use of Facebook in the classroom. In my portfolio, one will see how I used Facebook to facilitate much out-of-class thinking and learning related to class contents. In addition, my annual participation in the College Conference on Composition and Communication encourages me to stay current in the field of Composition and Rhetoric and New Media Studis. I have been invited to attend this year’s 4 C’s as a facilitator of the Writing Workshop for the Latino Caucus. I will be facilitating a presentation about Youtube and Facebook in the writing classroom as ways to facilitate theoretical reflections that go beyond analyzing traditional texts. Please consider the following contents as they are means to be understood: an organic whole.

Curriculum Rationale:

Merritt Writing Program
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343

Dr. Iris Deana Ruiz
586 W. Holland
Clovis CA 94612

Academic Review Committee
Merritt Writing Program
University of California, Merced
Merced, CA
Re: Cover Letter for Curriculum

The contents in this portion of my portfolio include an annotated syllabus that I am currently teaching from this semester, two student essays which demonstrate how I provided feedback on one particular student essay to facilitate revision, there is also PowerPoint presentation that accompanies this student’s essay on Social Welfare. Further included are screenshots of Facebook that show how I integrate it in the classroom; these are captioned in a document just preceding the screenshots. Next, there are photos of my white board included to demonstrate
what took place in relation to one assignment last semester; these photos are captioned after their display. Lastly, I have included a lesson plan which includes a Writing 10 prompt from last semester, which directly correlates with the included student essay. This student essay shows one version of a finished project for this
assignment and provides an example of a reading diagram. It also demonstrates how I approach teaching the writing process in my classroom. Students learn to complete this assignment by completing various rhetorical and discursive steps, such as closely analyzing an argument of a successful academic. Please find a brief explanation each of these elements which contribute to the craft of process, research and critical thinking below:

Annotated Syllabus

This syllabus represents an adaptation of my doctoral research on critical historiography to classroom writing pedagogy. It has as it goal three purposes: 1. To introduce students to the conctept of critical history, 2. To show students how the process of writing occurs in the discipline of History and 3. To have students write meaningful arguments in the form of a definition essay, an evaluative summary and a research based essay that represents a culmination of all of the arguments the students engaged in during the duration of the semester. I have taught a version of this course before and its initial design came out of an attempt to provide it as a linked course with History 11 in the History department at UCM. We will attempt to offer this course again in the Fall with hopes for a larger interest and student enrollment. I have also showed a lesson plan here and tried to provide student program learning outcomes and goals of each segment of the course as far as I can project them. The lesson plan and the writing prompt and sample essay all represent the progression of the organic intellectual I strive to create in my students. Thus, my choice of the curricular materials included in this section are meant to provide a snapshot of the organic process of learning that occurs throughout the entirety of the semester and not just one particular assignment.

Sample Student Essay with Comments

Page 12-14 of the student essay included are an expansion of the electronic turnitin.com comments that are representative of my commenting style. I started this style of commenting in the Fall of 2011 and I am learning all of the functions to better facilitate student revision and understanding of my feedback objectives. For example, on the first page of the student essay, one will notice a comment titled “thee part claim”. This is a customized comment that I created for this particular essay that directly relates to the lesson we had in class about constructing a complex/compound main claim for this assignment that dealt with some event or policy that is related to capitalism and business ethics. This particular essay dealt with Social Welfare as a public policy. Thus, this student’s task was to relate her particular topic to the role in a capitalist economy and the ethics involved with the implementation of or eradication of social welfare. Starting on page 12, one will see the expanded form of the comments throughout the essay. On the final draft, one will notice her reflective summary of the comments she received and an explanation of how she attended to these comments in her essay. This student is representative of an actively engaged student who struggled at times with abstract economic concepts, but she seems to develop an adequate understanding as shown in the final essay.

Facebook Screenshots
(Please see the captions that precede the screenshots.)

(Please see the captions that follow the photos.)

Writing Prompt/Lesson Plan
(Please see the writing prompt for an explanation of the goals of this particular essay and the caption on the student essay that follows the writing prompt.)

Powerpoint Presentations:
There are two PowerPoint presentations included because they cover foundational principles that directly relate to program learning outcomes. They are used in every class I teach and other instructors have asked to use them in their classes as well.


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