Courses & Research Development

Writing for Research: Constructing Problems

This course is taught by Senior Instructional Professor Kathryn Cochran. Ms. Cochran teaches professional and academic writing at the University of Chicago and to professionals in a wide variety of fields. Students meet twice a week for this course, once in lecture and once in small writing seminar groups led by the Chicago Writing Program staff.

In the course, students learn how to craft their research interests into a working proposal. These skills include summary, annotation, analysis, and the construction of a problem that can be addressed by the proposed research. Students submit writing assignments on a weekly basis, which are intended to help them assemble their research proposals and essays. This course assists students in writing the final requirements of the program, namely a research presentation, completed abstract, critical annotated bibliography (minimum of 20 entries), and revised research essays of 15-25 pages. This research essay is meant to serve as a “roadmap” for the research that students will carry out in the next year and as an agenda to guide them in working with their faculty mentors. You can view the Writing Center’s wonderful staff here.

Engaged Scholarship: Foundations for Critical and Social Theory and Practice

In honor of the legacy of Benjamin Mays, this course examines what it means to be an “engaged scholar.” The goal of this course is to consider how academics contribute to the development of emancipatory politics through the production of socially and intellectually important scholarship.

In order to accomplish this task, we survey writings by critical thinkers and consider the object and method of their critique as a means for developing our own. Where appropriate, we review the connection of these works to their historical context, and consider their value in creating progressive social theory and practice. Readings include examinations of peoples and countries from around the world. Regardless of a student’s research interests, this course is an endeavor that asks students to think epistemologically and to examine the ways in which our own experiences (historical, social, cultural, class-located, gendered, and racialized) inform critical inquiry and may influence how we pose scholarly questions.

Summer Research Development

Where possible, students meet weekly, or every other week, with their graduate student research mentor to discuss their research and to raise questions. Students are asked to develop a reading list (approximately 20 books and articles) in consultation with their mentors relevant to their research project. Program instructors and graduate students guide MMUF students in various ways:

  1. Similar to a supervised reading course, graduate student research mentors introduce their assigned MMUF students to research methods and theories relevant to the student’s research interests.
  2. Graduate student research mentors assist students in understanding readings relevant to their research projects and help them to critically situate these readings within a history of thought –locating them on an “intellectual map” – appropriate to the student’s field of study.
  3. In consultation with research librarians and mentors, students are introduced to the various research tools in the Regenstein and Crerar Libraries.
  4. Graduate student research mentors guide and oversee the development of the MMUF student’s final requirements for completing the SRTP: a research presentation, completed abstract, critical annotated bibliography (minimum of 20 entries), and revised research essays of 15-25 pages.
  5. Graduate student research mentors share their experiences and contribute to our collective effort to demystify the academy.