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Jill McKay Chrobak

Jill McKay Chrobak

Title: Special Lecturer
Office: 140 O'Dowd Hall
Phone: (248) 370-2736
Fax: (248) 370-2748

Jill McKay Chrobak is a Special Lecturer in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric at Oakland University. She earned her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Writing from Michigan State University in 2007.

Jill's research interests are rooted in cultural studies and rhetoric with an emphasis in Hip Hop culture/language and composition pedagogy. She has presented this research at many national conferences including the CCCC's and FemRhet.

Currently, Jill is teach WRT 150 and WRT 160 and happy to be back in her home state after four fulfilling years teaching at the University of Miami.

B.A., International Relations/Japanese, MSU, 2000
M.A. Adult Languaue Learning, MSU, 2004
Ph.D. Rhetoric & Writing, Michigan State, 2007

Teaching Philosophy
I believe that education is at its best when the instructor and the student engage in roles of both teacher and learner. Whether instructing freshman composition, professional writing, or an interdisciplinary humanities course, my goal within the first few class meetings is to begin to plant the seeds of a comfortable environment, both theoretically and physically, to foster open and honest discussion. This is not to say that I work to play the role of friend, but more as a co-conspirator in the work that they will produce in my class. I believe that without an attempt to create a community rapport with a class any and all scholarly work can and will be hindered. By viewing my students as co-conspirators, co-creators, and vice versa the course dynamic shifts from teacher teaching to students to teachers teaching with students. With this shift, students feel more vested in their academic work because their attitudes, perceptions, assumptions, and beliefs are valued simply by allowing them a forum to be voiced.In essence what I do in my classroom is make writing the bridge between professional/academic and the personal/creative—to show that both binaries have value and how, when, and why to invoke effective rhetoric to achieve human goals. It is my belief that when students are shown that writing is the means to achieve multiple and varied ends only then will they recognize the power of language—spoken, written, and visual.

A specific practice I commonly engage my students in is weekly journaling through the Moodle interface. Students are presented with a broad prompt and/or question and are asked to reflect on and write informal responses using a minimum of 500 words. These responses are compiled in a blog-like format, which allows an online conversation to occur between me and the student throughout the semester. In all the courses I have taught, I find these journals to be the most productive, honest, and informative pieces of prose the students have created. I feel that this is in some part due to allowing students a personal space within a writing community (both online and in the classroom), to encourage them to be comfortable writing for the personal within an academic and/or professional setting.

Teaching at OU since 2010.