Intermediate College Writing: The Rhetoric of the Climate Crisis


Class Meetings for English 102-26: T-Th 2:30 PM-3:45 PM, Belknap Academic Building 239a

Class Meetings for English 102-47: TuTh 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM, Belknap Academic Building 239a


Instructor Information: Andrew Hutto (he/him/his)



Virtual Office hours: Monday and Friday 1-5 pm on Microsoft Teams.  Additionally, you may email me at any time during the semester to arrange a meeting.   


Course Prerequisites


This course is open to all incoming students. It satisfies a General Education Written Communication Requirement. See the appendix for the general education WC outcomes.


Course Description


Students will practice more sophisticated approaches to writing processes and products with an emphasis on how literacy functions in U.S. society, both with and outside of the academy. Additional focus on conducting primary and secondary research, generating longer texts, improving critical reading, and awareness of how diversity is reflected within literacy practices in U.S. society. Required writing for this course consists of multiple drafts of at least four papers of varying lengths, with one extended documented paper.


Course Theme


ENGL 102 is designed to teach students how to write persuasive, well-researched academic papers. In this course, we will explore how to look for credible sources, what it means to contextualize information and engage in rhetorically responsible communication. We will also be learning tools to analyze texts from a more comprehensive vantage point that considers the audience, writer, medium, intentions, and expectations.

We will be using climate change as the vessel to mediate our discussions around rhetoric. As we will discuss, rhetoric plays an essential role in how we envision the climate crisis. Additionally, we will look back and examine how rhetoric played a role in climate change and look forward to how rhetoric might be used to mitigate future harm. You are not asked to believe everything we read, nor should you. Instead, this topic will provide a shared arena for examining rhetoric and learning how to evaluate sources and form arguments.



We will explore answers to the following questions through readings, writing exercises, class discussions, and major course assignments:

Why study rhetoric?


How did we get here?: Writing’s role in the climate crisis


Where do we go from here?: Polemics and the need for rhetorical action

Student Learning Outcomes


English 102 focuses on creating and answering questions through research and writing using academic sources, both primary and secondary. A student in English 102 should expect to: develop and answer research questions; articulate a position relative to others on a topic; address audiences inside and outside the academic community; and compose, revise, and edit multiple assignments equaling about 20 to 25 pages of text, including at least one extended research project.




Rhetorical Knowledge

  • Students will produce writing that responds appropriately to a variety of rhetorical situations. Their writing should:

  • Articulate a purpose for research and their own position relative to the positions of others

  • Analyze the needs of an audience and the requirements of the assignment or task

  • Adapt an argument to a variety of genres and media to suit different audiences and purposes

  • Use evidence appropriate to audience and purpose



Critical Thinking and Reading

  • Students will produce writing that abstracts, synthesizes, and represents the ideas of others fairly. Their writing should:

  • Use evidence that responsibly represents other research and communities in and beyond the classroom

  • Demonstrate an understanding of a text as existing within a broader context, with a distinct audience and purpose

  • Represent and respond to multiple points of view in research and across community and cultural issues

  • Select academic and nonacademic sources with discernment



Community Issues and Cultural Diversity

  • Students will produce writing that communicates an understanding of how communities and cultural categories are constructed.  Their writing should:

  • Demonstrate awareness of multiple points of view

  • Question existing assumptions about culture and community

  • Describe actions being taken to address cultural and community issues

  • Address concerns of diverse audiences




  • Students will produce writing reflective of a multi-stage composing and revising process. Their writing should:

  • Use sources to discover and develop research questions and/or projects

  • Reflect recursive composing processes and strategies across multiple drafts and research assignments

  • Show evidence of research development through peer review and collaboration

  • Evaluate the credibility and relevance of both print and digital sources


  • Students will produce writing that strategically employs appropriate conventions in different writing situations. Their writing should:

  • Use structural conventions such as organization, formatting, paragraphing, and tone

  • Demonstrate control of surface features such as grammar, punctuation, and spelling

  • Provide an understanding of the conventions of multimodal composition (in print and/or digital media) that comprise developing communication in the 21st century

  • Cite the work of others appropriately

Grading Matrix

Attendance Policy

Attendance will be taken in each class. As a college student, pursuing higher education, it is your responsibility to be in class and on time. We will be discussing the reading materials as a class and doing a variety of in-class activities. If you are not there it hampers your ability to engage with the material and the rest of the class loses your vital insight. Active participation in class will be factored into your labor-based grade matrix, and as such, you will be losing your opportunity for a higher grade by missing too many classes. That being said, things happen, and everyone gets two unexcused absences throughout the semester.


If you cannot make it to class for any reason and still wish to get credit for that day, you will have to email me beforehand to work out an alternative assignment. At the end of the day, your mental and physical health is more important than this course. If you are having an emergency situation at any point in the semester, email me when you are able to, and we will work something out. 


Late Work Policy


Reading Responses: Because our class is going to feature a significant amount of discussion it is essential that you come to class prepared with your reading responses done. While I will still accept a late reading response for half-credit, this will impact the place on the labor-based grading matrix (1/2 a reading response instead of the full 1). 


Major Projects: If you know in advance that you will have difficulty submitting a major project on time, please notify me at least 24 hours beforehand (or, if there is an emergency, as soon as possible). I will consider extensions on a case-by-case basis. If you do not contact me to discuss an extension, your assignment will not be graded.


Accommodation and Support 


My goal is for you to succeed, both in this course and in your academic career at UofL. If there is anything about you or your life that you feel will influence your work or your ability to learn and that you think I should know about, please let me know in a way with which you are comfortable. You can talk to me during office hours, send me an email, or talk to me after class. We will work together to decide on what steps or accommodations can best support you. I do not require documentation in order to work with you to support you in your work and learning. There are a range of resources available on campus to support you during your time at UofL, such as the Disabilities Resource Center, the Counseling Center, and many others. You’ll find a list attached at the end of the syllabus. If you’d like to talk about these, or other, resources, please let me know.


Plagiarism Policy 


Plagiarism is defined by the university as “representing the words or ideas of someone else as one’s own in any academic exercise.” It includes having someone else write your paper for you, submitting the same assignment for more than one class, and inappropriately quoting, paraphrasing, and/or citing sources. (You can read more in Sections 5 and 6 of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities: 


We will discuss how to avoid accidental plagiarism in class, and you should always feel free to contact me if you are confused. However, if I find evidence that you have deliberately plagiarized, I will have to report the case to the Arts and Sciences Dean’s office and penalize you, which could involve a failing grade for the course. 


Visit the Writing Center’s online workshop for more information on avoiding plagiarism:



Title IX/Clery Act Notification 


Sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and any other nonconsensual behavior of a sexual nature) and sex discrimination violate University policies.  Students experiencing such behavior may obtain confidential support from the PEACC Program (852-2663), Counseling Center (852-6585), and Campus Health Services (852-6479). To report sexual misconduct or sex discrimination, contact the Dean of Students (852-5787) or University of Louisville Police (852-6111). 


Disclosure to University faculty or instructors of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or sex discrimination occurring on campus, in a University-sponsored program, or involving a campus visitor or University student or employee (whether current or former) is not confidential under Title IX.  Faculty and instructors must forward such reports, including names and circumstances, to the University’s Title IX officer. For more information, see the Sexual Misconduct Resource Guide (

COVID-19 Public Health Guidelines

UofL has established the following health and safety protocols for all university members to follow while on any university campus. Additionally, all university members are expected to stay in compliance with state and federal safety guidelines.

  1. Wear a mask or face covering in common areas and avoid touching your face.*

  2. Practice physical distancing.

  3. Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue then throw that tissue in the trash.

  4. Disinfect used surfaces and frequently touched objects.

  5. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  6. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.

  7. Stay home if you are feeling sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

*Masks should be worn over the nose and mouth.


For more details, see fall 2021 health requirements and procedures for classroom instruction


Some notable policies (copied from the above site):

  • COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged but not required. At this time, no unit, college or school is permitted to require their students to get vaccinated except for the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry and Music due to the risk these schools’ instructional methods and learning experiences have demonstrated.

  • Masks are required in all classrooms and indoor, public spaces on campus. Faculty should consult the Mask/Face Coverings in Class Response Guide for recommended responses and resources regarding mask compliance. If faculty can achieve six feet or more of physical distance from all students in an indoor space, faculty are allowed to remove their mask for the extent of their lectures.

  • Physical distancing is encouraged, but not required when a space can accommodate six feet between students. Classroom spaces have traditional seating arrangements this semester. Vaccination and masks remain the two primary tools for stopping the spread of COVID-19.

  • Disinfection stations will be available in classrooms. Physical Plant will supply disinfectant spray, towels and hand sanitizer. 

Got questions? 

Feel free to chat with me during office hours or send me an email to discuss missing assignments or excused absences. 


Other Helpful Resources

  • Preferred Name.

    • You have the right to be addressed by the name you prefer. You will have the opportunity in Week 1 to communicate this to me directly. In addition, if the name you used is not currently what’s in Blackboard when you log in, I encourage you to officially update that information in our system. To access the name change option, go to ULink, scroll to “Personal Information” and click on “Preferred Name.” Change your first and/or middle name to your preference and click “Save.” Your preferred name will display on class and grade rosters and in Blackboard. You can also have a new Cardinal Card issued with your preferred name for free. For more information on how to update your name in UofL systems, visit


  • Gender-Inclusive Bathrooms.

    • A list of gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus is available at 


  • Services for Veterans.

    • There is a range of resources for UofL veterans, including an office, a mentoring and tutoring program, a student organization, and a Facebook group (UofL Student Veterans of America, SAC 310). If you need an accommodation, let me know.  I recognize that calls to active duty, problems with GI Bill disbursements, and other issues might affect your ability to complete assignments. If any problems arise, feel free to keep the loop, and I will do what I can to help. 


  • Basic Needs Support.

Doing well in classes (and in life, for that matter) means getting a good night’s sleep, having enough to eat, and being able to get to where you need to go. If you are having any difficulties with these basic necessities, remember that UofL has resources to assist you.  For food items, in addition to some household and toiletry items, you can go to the Cardinal Cupboard pantry in SAC 314, Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm, and by appointment. A Student Success Coordinator in our Student Success Center can work with you individually to provide guidance and support, and connect you to resources, if you’re experiencing any academic, financial, or personal difficulties. Contact the Student Success Center by visiting them on the first floor of the Belknap Academic Building, Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm, call 852-7969, or email Additionally, you can find support and resources via the UofL Concern Center: These challenges are unfortunately more common than we would wish; please reach out to me or to one of these great resources if you find yourself in need at any time during this course or after.