University of Texas at Austin                Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

Curriculum

  • SPURS pairs sections of the University’s Rhetoric and Writing classes with English Language Arts elective classes from underrepresented high schools across Texas. RHE 306, RHE 309K, and RHE 309S are introductory University courses in writing and argumentation. Each high school is paired with a UT-Austin Assistant Instructor who teaches one of these three courses to undergraduate students enrolled at the University.
  • Participating high school teachers receive ongoing curricular support from the Curriculum Coordinator and UT Assistant Instructors and the Curriculum Coordinator as they teach two types of college-level Rhetoric and Writing essays to their high school students.
  • High school students in the program are introduced to rhetorical theory, academic argument, and a process model of composing as they complete two college writing projects. Throughout the year, students work on rhetorical analysis and synthesis essays. In their rhetorical analysis essays, students summarize, analyze, and evaluate the various rhetorical choices an author makes to persuade an audience. In their synthesis essays, students use analytical and persuasive skills to analyze and evaluate a number of sources with the purpose of synthesizing them into a position paper. In both essays, students typically engage with topics of social debate that would be found in any introductory college course.
  • UT students in the program who are taking either RHE 306, RHE 309K, or RHE 309S conduct peer reviews of the high school students’ writing when they visit the UT campus.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)
http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter110/index.html