Teaching

In 2013, I was honored to have my teaching recognized by the University of Georgia as the recipient of university-wide Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. On this page, you will find an inventory of courses taught and invited lectures delivered. Underlined terms offer hyperlinks to my teaching materials, youtube videos, and cited professionals’ web-pages.

Philosophy

My basic teaching philosophy is that pedagogy succeeds when it seizes opportune moments to co-opt and contest normative assumptions about communication, persuasion, and rhetoric. Students leave my classes having learned how to deeply sympathize with texts, to marshal exhaustive resources as backing for their own arguments, and to engage in constructive public disagreement with their peers. This teaching philosophy is supported by two separate, year-long pedagogy seminars at the University of Iowa (directed by Will Jennings) and the University of Georgia (directed by Thomas Lessl).

Timeline of Graduate Syllabi. 

  • 2019The Rhetorical Tradition: The Modern Era (WRIT 5776). This class introduces students to key intellectual figures in 20th and 21st Century Rhetorical Theory.  The key theme of the course is to explore the different ways in which a new rhetoric, a rhetorical revival, and/or a rhetorical turn have been advanced and the implications these new revivals have on rhetorical theory.
  • (Prospective) The History of Rhetorical Theory. This class organizes developments in thought within Rhetorical Theory in the late 20th century, foregrounding major contributions of scholars and broad movements across the field.
  • (Prospective) Intelligence, Surveillance, and Secrecy. This class offers a taxonomy of secrecy-related public phenomena, foregrounds their rhetorical and mediated features, and offers case-studies in rhetorical criticism.

Timeline of Undergraduate Syllabi

University of Minnesota

North Carolina State University

University of Georgia

University of Iowa

  • 2010 — The Rhetoric of Science and Technology
  • 2009 — Core Concepts in Communication Studies
  • 2007-9 — Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition

Objectives

This teaching philosophy is also supported by Atilla’s record of teaching/designing public speaking, argumentation, rhetorical criticism, and ethics courses. Each of these courses has more specific objectives:

Public Speaking: This speaking-intensive (100-level) course is designed to familiarize undergraduate students with the Communication Studies major and basic strategies of public speaking. The course moves through four units: the speech of introduction, the informative speech, the persuasive speech, and the encomium. Students also practice strategies of satire, impromptu, and policy debate.  The course heavily employs a controversy-curriculum to provoke discussion and to provide contestable prompts for short in-class exercises. By the end of this class, students are especially familiar with basic formats for speech composition as well as techniques of anxiety management and actively engaging an audience. In addition to the four major speeches, students will also complete two exams and weekly reading quizzes.

Argumentation and Advocacy: This presentation- and writing-intensive (200-level) course is intended for Communication majors and non-majors that surveys the theory, practice, and use of argumentation. The course surveys basic theories of argumentation, key vocabulary and concepts of debate, and stages major assignments in the style of structured two-on-two debates. Additionally, the class is organized around readings that present unique principles of argumentation derived from cognitive and social psychology (heuristics/biases), behavioral economics (incentives/defaults), and public address scholarship. Throughout the semester, students are urged to debate topics related to education policy, local-area and university-wide controversies.

Rhetorical Criticism: This writing-intensive (300-level) course is designed to introduce undergraduate students to the basic principles and elements of rhetorical criticism. The course is divided into three thematic units. The first is dedicated to Lloyd Bitzer’s The Rhetorical Situation and carries the theme “the situations of civil rights.” The second is dedicated to different categories of rhetorical theory and carries the theme of “ideology” across each of the essays read. The final unit is dedicated to rhetorical analysis, and focuses on rhetorical criticisms of wartime discourse. A 5-6 page paper about a rhetorical artifact is due at the end of each section. By the end of the semester, students will assemble these three short papers into a 20-25 page final essay. Students will also complete two exams and weekly reading quizzes. The motive of this class is to empower students to understand how rhetorical critique de-familiarizes otherwise commonplace texts.

Climate Change Communication: This discussion- and writing-intensive (400-level) undergraduate special-topics course has three key objectives. First, to introduce students to climate change communication by carefully tracking its major historical developments from 1956 through to the present. Second, to offer this history of climate change’s controversies and public actors through the lens of prevailing communication theories. Third, to offer this narrative under the heading of Rhetoric, to be understood as a model of strategic communication that involves the identification of a specific crisis, multiple competing audiences, and a rigorous set of constraints that limit in advance the possible arguments that can be made by climate change advocates and reformers. The major premise of this course is that consistent rhetorical strategies have underwritten climate change communication from its inception, and that better understanding these arguments will enable students to understand: (a) how they are personally implicated by climate change and its messages and (b) how they can be more engaged, responsible, and critically discerning citizens when making and responding to arguments about climate change in personal, professional, and academic contexts.

Ethical Issues in Communication: This discussion- and writing-intensive (400-level) course is intended for Communication majors surveying ethical approaches to communication from interpersonal, organizational, and rhetorical perspectives. The first portion of the class surveys these distinct perspectives, while the second explores specific topics like voting, the strategic use of fear and anger, the norm of “balanced” media coverage, and public representations of poverty. The function of these topical units is to situate interpersonal, organizational, and rhetorical perspectives on ethics alongside one another. Each class that covers a specific topic consists of a brief lecture, student presentations, and discussion prompts.

The Rhetoric of Public Secrecy: This writing-intensive (400-level) undergraduate course is dedicated to the rhetorical criticism of secrecy in public and political discourse. The class is divided into three units: Definitions of Secrecy, Reading Strategies, and Histories of Secrecy. The first portion of the course familiarizes students with basic conceptions of secrecy and its related terms (transparency, privacy) as well as the way that rhetorical scholars have defined this area of inquiry. The second is designed to provide students with methods for reading public discourse about secrets. The final section of the course is heavily discussion-oriented and is designed to apply the concepts from the first two units to a chronological sequence of historical case studies. By the end of the semester, students will produce a 20-25 page rhetorical criticism essay on the topic of their choosing. Students will also complete two exams and weekly writing assignments with guided prompts. The motive of this class is to empower students to address secrets as a topos for contesting social asymmetries and privacy violations.

Invited Lectures

Graduate Seminar. “Connecting Classical and Burkean Approaches to Rhetoric.” (COM 542, Qualitative Research Methods in Applied Communication). Instructor of Record: Dr. Lynsey K. Romo. Delivered 11/9/2017.

Student Organization. Public Speaking 101: Preparation, Organization, Delivery.” Engaging Leaders Program of the College of Natural Resources at NCSU, invited by Matthew Byington.

Undergraduate Class. “Defining Rhetoric: Sophistry, Epistemology, and Trope.” (COM 240, Communication Inquiry). Instructor of Record: Cynthia Zuckerman Hyman, MA. Delivered 1/26/2017 at North Carolina State University.

Graduate Seminar. “The Ethics of Authority and Conformism: Asch, Milgram, and Zimbardo.” (COM 562, Communication and Social Change). Instructor of Record: Dr. David M. Berube. Delivered 1/23/2017 at North Carolina State University.

Graduate Seminar. “Trends and Trajectories of 20th Century Rhetorical Theory.” (COM 542, Qualitative Research Methods in Applied Communication). Instructor of Record: Dr. Lynsey K. Romo. Delivered 1/18/2017 at North Carolina State University.

Graduate Seminar. “The Social and Ethical Impacts of Scientific Research.” (Center for the Public Communication of Science and Technology [PCOST]). Instructor of Record: Dr. James Bonner. Delivered 11/9/2016 at North Carolina State University.

Graduate/Undergraduate Class. “Affect and Proximity in Climate Change Communication.” (COM 498/598, Climate Change Communication). Instructor of Record: Dr. David M. Berube. Delivered 10/26/2016 at North Carolina State University.

Undergraduate Class. “Defining Rhetoric as Deception.” (COM 240, Communication Inquiry). Instructor of Record: Dr. Ryan Hurley. Delivered 9/5/2016 at North Carolina State University.