Blog Prompt 9/29

In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates draws on his experiences as an adolescent to critique the Baltimore he grew up in, and particularly the school system. He writes, “If the streets shackled my right leg, the schools shackled my left” (25). Using specific examples from the excerpt we read, how does Coates elaborate on and illustrate this idea? What does it mean to be “shackled” by the streets and the schools?

Blog Prompt 9/20

Using examples from Aaron Bady and Mike Konczal’s “From Master Plan to No Plan: The Slow Death of Public Higher Education” please answer the following.

  1. Why were Bady and Konczal writing about Ronald Reagan in 2012, and why are we still talking about him now in 2016?
  2. Why should we here in Queens care about what is going on in California’s higher education system?

Blog prompt 9/15

Ivory Tower revisits longstanding questions about the purpose of higher education, including whether it is an individual investment or a collective social good. In your blog, please address both of the following questions.

  1. How does the film diagnose the contemporary problems with higher education in the United States? In other words, what’s wrong? What specific problems are the filmmakers trying to address?
  2. Which examples were the most striking, surprising, or persuasive, and why? Please discuss at least two.

Blog prompt 9/13

Both of these readings address questions of value, measurement, and assessment. They suggest that, as a society, we should measure what is important to us. Please answer one of the following.

  1. What does Guinier mean by “the tyranny of meritocracy”? Why is meritocracy problematic and what does this have to do with standardized testing?
  2. Based on the readings we have done so far (please cite specific examples), how should we evaluate the success of colleges and universities? What should we be measuring (best value, contributions to society, lifetime earnings of undergraduates, etc.)?

Blog prompt 9/8

Nick Sousanis’s Unflattening addresses a number of topics we have already begun discussing this semester: learning, school, creativity, standardization, imagination, storytelling, and more. Analyze 1-2 panels (pages) from Unflattening, making connections to at least one other text we have read this semester. How does Sousanis’ comic reframe some of the topics we are discussing?

Blog Prompt 9/6

Cathy N. Davidson’s “Project Classroom Makeover,” a chapter from her book Now You See It, issues a call to improve education. According to Davidson, in what ways does education need to be improved and why? How does Davidson make this argument? (You will want to consider the chapter’s thesis/argument, organization, introduction, evidence/examples, and writing style, though you should choose just 1-2 to focus on in your response.)

Professor Savonick – Introduction

Hi, I’m Professor Savonick, the instructor for College Writing 110. I am a doctoral candidate in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, where my research focuses on literature, social justice, and educational methods (this is called pedagogy, and we’ll be talking a lot about it this semester). This is my fourth year teaching here at Queens College and I am very excited to be teaching this particular course, and to hear what you all think about some of the questions I spend a lot of time researching.

As a writer, I struggle the most with figuring out how best to organize my sentences, paragraphs, and ideas. With writing, there’s no one correct answer, but always many different possibilities. One thing I enjoy about writing is how collaborative it is: I never know if I’ve written something effective unless someone else reads it and provides me with feedback (we will be doing a lot of this in the course). The more I learn about writing, and the more I practice it, the more complex and interesting it gets.

Welcome to the class!


Welcome to “College Writing 110 – The Purpose of Education.” My name is Danica Savonick and I am the instructor for the course. I very much look forward to meeting you all this Thursday, August 25 at 4:30 pm in Kiely Hall, room 325.

Prior to our first course session, there are a few things that you can do to ensure a smooth start to the semester.

  1. Review the syllabus. I will be making small adjustments over the week and throughout the semester, but this should give you a general idea of what will be covered in our course. We will go over the syllabus on the first day of class, so please come prepared with questions.
  1. Sign up for our course website. This process can take a few days (you have to be approved for an account and then I have to approve your membership to our course group) which is why it is best to do this ahead of time. Here are the instructions, which are also available on the syllabus.

In order to blog and comment on our site, you will need to set up an account with CBOX. After this, you will login to the site using your username and login. Make sure to write these down.

  • Go to the Futures Initiative homepage ( and click “Join Us.”
  • Create an account and fill out your profile. Please indicate that you are a student at Queens College registered for this course (this will expedite the approval process). You do not need to check the box marked “Yes, I’d like to create a new site.”
  • Once I’ve accepted your request, you should be able to join our course group and website. Look for “The Purpose of Education” in the Group Directory and “Request Membership.”
  • Once your membership has been approved, you will be able to access and post to our course site from our course webpage. If you are having difficulties posting a blog, make sure you are logged in. Please contact me if you have any trouble.
  1. If you haven’t already, sign up for an account with gmail. We will be using Google Documents throughout the semester, and you will need an account.

Enjoy the last few days of summer. Looking forward to a terrific semester.

Photo courtesy of flickr user Nathan