Michael Murphy

Associate professor
Director of College Writing


313 Marano Campus Center

Office hours


or by appointment

Classes taught


ENG 302/800 MWF 12:40-1:35 306 Marano CC
ENG 485/800 MWF 1:50-2:45 258 Marano CC

ENG 302 ADVANCED COMPOSITION: WRITING AS A CITIZEN-If you’re an aspiring teacher, is there something you’d like to tell the rest of the world about school shootings – or maybe about the expansion of for-profit education in public schools?  If you’re studying meteorology or biology, is there some light you think you might shed on climate change for fellow citizens who don’t understand the things you do?  If you’re a student of African-American literature, is there something you have to contribute to the discussion of racial tension in America?  This section of ENG 302 will invite students to bring their evolving expertise in academic and professional fields to larger discussions of public interest – writing expressly for lay audiences, fellow citizens, rather than members of your academic discipline.  The course is likely to involve both (1) a written argument that brings ideas or research from the student’s major to bear on some issue of public interest, prepared for a general interest publication of news and ideas like Slate or the New York Times Magazine, and (2) some digital text (a website, narrated film, or podcast, for example) that makes the same argument in a different medium and form.  There may be limited opportunities for publication of some pieces written for this course – in the Oswego’s daily paper, for example, The Palladium-Times.

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); after receiving peer critique, writers will review project descriptions proposed by partners and revise their job documents accordingly.  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 the white paper on hydrofracking composed by

Alex Bissell for the Onondaga Nation available at:  http://www.oswego.edu/academics/colleges_and_departments/departments/eng...

or Marilyn Borth’s article on the abortion debate for the Syracuse New Times at: