PD Arrington (Mrs. A)

TR 2:30-3:45, CS 303


Office Hours: TR 1:15-2:15 (and by appointment)

25 Park Place, 2236

Required Text:

Pullman, George. Persuasion: History, Theory, Practice. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2013. ISBN 9780872209541 (click for bookstore)

Required Technologies:

GSU email (check every day)

Google Doc (for feedback and discussion on individual work)

Course website


English 3080 introduces students to the history of written argumentation from a rhetorical perspective and to some of the theories foundational to a western canonical understanding of how persuasion works. Guided by the course textbook (George Pullman’s Persuasion: History, Theory, Practice), we will focus on analyzing and composing texts (linguistic and multimodal), attending to their power to persuade. Concepts of rhetorical situation, audience awareness, appeals, and fallacies will be particularly important to our work this semester, ending in a thoroughly considered articulation of one’s philosophy of persuasion: a set of articulated beliefs influencing one’s understanding of the ethics of persuasion in the day-to-day reception and formation of texts.

Throughout the course, students will demonstrate an ability to…

  • Identify, analyze, and discuss rhetorical situations of existing texts
  • Assess arguments for credibility and bias
  • Practice producing and revising persuasive texts for multiple audiences via multiple modes and media
  • Engage in dialectical invention
  • Identify and discuss the five canons of rhetoric
  • Practice and discuss classical, Toulmin, and Rogerian models of argumentation


Six mandatory “major projects” for the course will guide students toward achieving the course objectives:

  • Reading Responses and Discussion   15%
  • Midterm Exam   10%
  • Rhetorical Analysis   20%
  • Argument Presentation   20%
  • Philosophy Statement   10%
  • Independent Work & Self Assessment   25%



Work will be assessed based on four general criteria: 1) substance and depth of responses (not to be confused with length); 2) rhetorical consideration and skill; 3) control of writing (including grammar, correctness, style, focus, and design); and 4) quality of  reflection.

Specific rubrics are provided for each assignment, though these might change upon input from students as we progress through the course. Generally they will adhere to these expectations:

A B C Non-passing
100 to 97 = A+ 89 to 87= B+ 79 to 78 = C+
96 to 93 = A 86 to 83 = B 77 to 70 = C
92 to 90 = A- 82 to 80 = B-
Writing insightfully connects aspects of readings and discussions in content and/or delivery. The work is especially effective and demonstrates an awareness of audience, purpose, & context. May contain minor sentence-level flaws. Writing insightfully connects readings and discussions, though perhaps less effectively than it could. Project is high quality in some areas (Content, Design, Organization, etc.), but improvements in other areas are needed. Audience, purpose, & context considered, though improvements could be made. Some sentence-level errors consistently detract from smooth delivery. Major revision needed in terms of reaching insightful connections between readings and discussions. Content/design needs improvement, greater consideration of audience, purpose, context. And/or language-level errors impede clear understanding. Writing doesn’t achieve the assignment, or fails to make connections between readings and discussions. Content & design lack consideration of audience, purpose, & context. And/or the work is unable to be understood on the sentence/paragraph level.

For English Majors

The English department at GSU requires an exit portfolio of all students graduating with a degree in English. Ideally, students should work on this every semester, selecting 1-2 papers from each course and revising them, with direction from faculty members. The portfolio includes revised work and a reflective essay about what you’ve learned. Each concentration (literature, creative writing, rhetoric/composition, and secondary education) within the major may have specific items to place in the portfolio, so be sure to check booklet located next to door of the front office of the English Department. Senior Portfolio due dates are published in the booklets or you may contact an advisor or Dr. Dobranski, Director of Undergraduate Studies. See the English office for additional information.

Accommodations for Students With Disabilities

Georgia State University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering with the Office of Disability Services. Students may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Office of Disability Services of a signed Accommodation Plan and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to instructors of all classes in which accommodations are sought. According to the ADA (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:s3406enr.txt.pdf): ‘‘SEC. 3. DEFINITION OF DISABILITY. ‘‘As used in this Act: ‘‘(1) DISABILITY.—The term ‘disability’ means, with respect to an individual— ‘‘(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual…major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. ‘‘(B) MAJOR BODILY FUNCTIONS.—For purposes of paragraph (1), a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.


Attendance is mandatory. Absences will result in -100 IW points per absence, exceptions granted for documented and discussed required absences. In this course, students are expected to adhere to the Georgia State University student code of conduct. This includes the university attendance policy. Excused absences are limited to university-sponsored events where you are representing GSU in an official capacity, religious holidays, and legal obligations such as jury duty or military service days. Absences for all other reasons will result in a points deduction as outlined above. In the event of extended illness or family emergency, I will consider requests for individual exemption from the general attendance policy on a case by case basis.

Academic Honesty/Plagiarism

The Department of English expects all students to adhere to the university’s Code of Student Conduct, especially as it pertains to plagiarism, cheating, multiple submissions, and academic honesty. Please refer to the Policy on Academic Honesty (Section 409 of the Faculty Handbook). Penalty for violation of this policy will result in a zero for the assignment, possible failure of the course, and, in some cases, suspension or expulsion. Georgia State University defines plagiarism as . . . “ . . . any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submitting of another student’s work as one’s own . . . [It] frequently involves a failure to acknowledge in the text . . . the quotation of paragraphs, sentences, or even phrases written by someone else.” At GSU, “the student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources . . . and the consequences of violating this responsibility.” (For the university’s policies, see in the student catalog, “Academic Honesty,”http://www2.gsu.edu/~catalogs/2010-2011/undergraduate/1300/1380_academic_honesty.htm)

Language Conventions

This course presumes that you have a basic knowledge of standard American English, including but not limited to variations in sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, parallel structure, dangling modifiers, grammatical expletives, possessives and plurals, punctuation, capitalization, word choice, and various other grammatical and mechanical problems. If you are someone for whom the knowledge and practice of standard American English are a struggle, this course gives you time to improve. You have resources available at GSU to help you improve your knowledge. In the Writing Studio (http://www.writingstudio.gsu.edu/) you can work one-on-one, in private, with a tutor to improve. Writing Studio tutors can also help you to help you refine already strong competence, moving from good to excellent. The Purdue OWL (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/) has resources to assist you with identifying and correcting common grammar, punctuation, and usage errors, and to help you with formatting citations and bibliographies.

Receiving a Grade of Incomplete

In order to receive an incomplete, a student must inform the instructor, either in person or in writing, of his/her inability (non-academic reasons) to complete the requirements of the course. Incompletes will be assigned at the instructor’s discretion and the terms for removal of the “I” are dictated by the instructor. A grade of incomplete will only be considered for students who are a) passing the course with a C or better, b) present a legitimate, non-academic reason to the instructor, and c) have only one major assignment left to finish. Note: Only under the most immediate and severe circumstances will I consider giving an Incomplete for this course. If such circumstances occur I will need a detailed, specific plan for when, how, where, and with whom the student will complete the work.

Student Evaluation of Instructor

Your constructive assessment of this course plays an indispensable role in shaping education at Georgia State. Upon completing the course, please take time to fill out the online course evaluation.