Michael Murphy

Associate Professor, Director of College Writing


313 Marano Campus Center

Office hours

 T/Th 12:45-2:00, both in person and on Zoom ( https://oswego-edu.zoom.us/j/9223165754 )

Classes taught

ENG 271 PRACTICAL ENGLISH GRAMMAR: Designed for students intending to teach, this course focuses on teaching grammar in the context of writing.  A broad review of parts of speech, the syntax of complex sentences, and the conventions of standard usage will be supplemented by attention to the relation between standard and non-standard dialects, as well as to dealing with dialect difference in the classroom and in written work.  Graded work includes exams, tutoring, teaching a mini-lesson, and the maintenance of a journal of observed usages.

ENG 485 WORDS IN THE WORLD: The Words in the World capstone course partners students with local and regional non-profits, businesses, government agencies, and grassroots organizations to work on real-world writing projects.  These projects challenge students to draw on and expand the strong writing and rhetorical skills they have developed across four years as English majors.  As part of this work, students are asked to compose a “narrative of aspirations” that asks them to think deeply about their intellectual skills and temperaments, ultimately imagining a set of potential professional identities consistent with and following from the intellectual commitments they have made as English majors.  Drafts of the narrative, a résumé, and a cover letter will be due during the first week of classes (instructions will be sent in advance of the first meeting); interviews will follow, after which writers and partners will be matched.  By the end of the semester, writers should be able to: 1) identify the writing needs of a community organization or business; 2) carry out research and conduct ongoing dialogue with key constituents to refine a sense of audience and purpose; 3) imagine and design specific documents through which to address that audience and purpose; 4) demonstrate effective cooperative work strategies; 5) complete agreed-upon, writing-based projects on a deadline; and, 6) analyze and interpret the effectiveness of the writing in line with the client’s goals.

For examples of the sorts of projects Words in World students have found themselves in a position to write in previous semesters, see articles in the Syracuse New Times by Shelwyn Becker, Amy Hogan, and Abbey West, and blog posts by Nellie Owens and Lauren Sandford at the campus Study Abroad office. Students are also commonly involved in writing press releases, grant applications, organizational reports, training manuals, white papers, and web content of a variety of sorts.