Cultivating Genre Awareness in the University Writing Classroom


  • Emily Staudt George Mason University



Though genre theory has been central to discussions in writing scholarship for 30 years, it is not as central in other academic fields. This poster is based on a Masters thesis project which studies genre theory, genre awareness, and professorsâ curricular choices via interviews with Writing Intensive (WI) faculty and an analysis of WI course syllabi and writing assignments. Overall data reveals that professors are asking students to write primarily for an audience of their professors and that writing is used primarily to measure their studentsâ understanding of course content, though some faculty do focus on genre and rhetorical awareness to a lesser degree. These findings suggest that classroom practices donât align with composition and genre scholarship, nor with the values professors espouse themselves. Further, writing in this way does not prepare students to write in other contexts for other purposes, audiences, and genres.  This poster seeks to raise genre awareness among faculty, so that they might cultivate such an awareness for students. It also recommends faculty consider using genre analysis that recognizes writing as a dynamic social act of negotiation in the classroom.  Further recommendations are made to help faculty raise genre awareness in the ways they situate writing assignments and feedback for students.  

Author Biography

Emily Staudt, George Mason University

Graduate Teaching Assistant