Pedagogy

Teaching Portfolio

This page contains the vast majority of my teaching portfolio. Jump to any section by clicking below:

Teaching Philosophy | Teaching Experience | Professional Observations | Select Pedagogical Materials | Course Descriptions | Letters from Students | Quantitative Feedback | Qualitative Feedback | Rate My Professor


Teaching Philosophy Statement

As a sergeant in the United States Army I mentored and trained soldiers during two tours of duty in Iraq. In Germany, I taught European driving laws and mechanics as an advanced motor vehicle instructor in a transportation battalion consisting of hundreds of soldiers. Between those two experiences I felt I had a considerable amount of teaching experience before stepping in front of a classroom. My work as a university instructor draws upon those experiences; but students are not soldiers, and I have had to think in new ways to guide them. My teaching is grounded in the expressivist theories that I used in my early career to help student veterans overcome the adjustment to college life. Experience with collaborative models and non-veterans at the University of Kentucky showed me the importance of helping students translate the personal insights gained from expressivist models into something palpable to those outside of the classroom. My students spoke to each other, but also taught me along the way. I found common among them a persistent fear of the academic system. In response to that fear I feel I have come full circle. Just as sergeants protect their troops from unknowns by educating and equipping them for battle, I protect my students from intimidating university requirements by consciously developing their skills in research, rhetoric, and communication. My goals still center on personal exploration and fostering an appreciation of literature. But those things must take place in a safe space, one where the student can confidently meet my spoken goals and university’s unspoken requirements.

I became interested in expressivist models while working on my Master’s degree. I applied literary studies to veterans’ experiences, resulting in the opportunity to design and implement an orientation to college course for academically “at-risk” student veterans. In an article for UC-Davis’s Writing on the Edge, “Combat in the Classroom,” I discuss how the use of expressivist writing in that course, informed by the theories of James Pennebaker, Mike Rose, Jerome Bump and others interested in bibliotherapy and its relevance to the writing classroom, succeeded in helping my students articulate strengths and weaknesses at crucial moments in their academic careers. Later, in the dissertation of my supervisor, Dr. Brett Morris, quantitative research showed that these “at-risk” students performed equally or slightly better than their peers.

VTSFollowing the success of my veteran orientation course, I began teaching in the division of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies (WRD) at the University of Kentucky. The revolutionary teaching modalities espoused by WRD, skills gained in teaching collaborative assignments, and the opportunity to translate my military-centric teaching to the average college student, enabled me to move in exciting new directions. Prior to beginning my work at UK, my proposed framework for the nation’s first minor in Veterans Studies was adopted by Eastern Kentucky University. Once established, I opted to self-fund my PhD during the second year of study and design the core requirements for that minor as well as its introductory course, VTS 200 (see included syllabus), for both face-to-face and online environments. The online course-design training I engaged in to prepare for that project resulted in a perfect evaluation of my course according to the “Quality Matters” rubric.

James Dao’s article, “A Million Strong: Helping Them Through,” published in February 2013 in The New York Times, understands how my Veterans Studies program helps veterans “not only by making them feel at home but also by bringing them into meaningful contact with nonveterans.” I continued this conversation in a September 2013 article for Veterans of Foreign Wars Magazine, attempting to convince the readers, both those inside and outside of academia, of the importance and viability of Veterans Studies as a new discipline. One non-veteran recipient of the minor, Katie, is an ideal example in that article. She took two of my courses to help those like her brother, a veteran wounded in Afghanistan, win struggles against Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I’ve since helped Katie apply to a number of top-rated graduate programs in mental health, confident that she carries with her the cultural awareness needed to understand veterans as well as the communication skills needed to educate those who don’t. The framework of Veterans Studies, taught to students like Katie in a modular format, involving sophisticated analysis of interdisciplinary scholarship and the presentation of group research to the campus community, is directly influenced by my pedagogical experiences at the University of Kentucky.

I find that the most successful students in my courses are those who succeed in linking academic requirements to personal learning goals. In addition to teaching college orientations, WRD, and Veterans Studies, I have also taught classes in Women and Gender Studies, ESL, composition, and literature. Because of students like Katie, I’m not entirely convinced by the doomsayers who claim today’s college students are less capable. In all of the courses I’ve taught, what I call “academic intimidation” is the most pressing problem, not ability. On one hand, students are conditioned, well before entering into higher education, to believe that scores are more important than achieving higher levels of thought. The difference between an A and a B can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection letters, monetary awards, or any degree of disappointment from family members who care little about liberal education. In college, these same students zero in immediately on the grade requirements, viewing the syllabus as a puzzle, a key that must be unlocked, analyzed, and understood. The result, if academic intimidation is not confronted on day one and the teacher does not present him or herself as a guide, is students who refuse to risk growth and innovation. Why would they? They have so much to lose.

I absolutely agree with Kenneth E. Eble’s subversive look at grading that claims “giving grades contributes to creating grade-oriented as distinguished from learning-oriented students” (from Craft of Teaching, 1990). But we must be able to distinguish between those students who are competent with the subject-matter and those who are not; grades can’t simply go away. We can, however, as the feminist pedagogue Barbara Christian argues in “The Race for Theory” (1987), avoid teaching styles that are “prescriptive, exclusive, elitist” by being upfront about academic requirements and recognizing that we often ask a certain level of bilingualism of our students. In addition to the pressures of finding a career and unlocking syllabi, students are implicitly asked to speak two languages in their coursework. During in-class discussion, my students tend to draw upon the language of appreciation and personal connectedness to the works at hand. On papers and other requirements the expected language is that of the academy. The one is not necessarily more valuable than the other; but students don’t know that. They assume that prescriptive writing should be the end-goal of education. After all, argumentation—theses, structuring, citation—is what determines their grades. So, students mimic what they hear, repress what they love, and choose the language that offers them the most real-world benefits.

In my teaching I do not attempt to translate one language to another in alternating patterns. I find that technique artificial and that the students have what Dubois would call “half a heart in either cause” (from W. E. B. Dubois’s The Souls of Black Folk, 1903). Academic intimidation, then, persists when the instructor pretends there are not two competing languages and the goals of the academy are always congruent with the goals of the humanities. I simply remain inclusive of both languages by including assignments that allow students to explore their personal appreciation of texts and others that give them practice in argumentation for more formal audiences.

What does this inclusivity look like in practice? The use of “The Model of Formal Argument” as a clear, structured approach to academic writing is a key part of my teaching toolbox. It reminds students of the basic skills in logic and rhetorical technique they (should have) learned in earlier composition courses, helping them situate motivated writing within an audience-aware frame. I use this structure in my class so that my students will not feel I am being elusive about the requirements. Scaffolding assignments, such as those I use for literary analyses (see “Assignments”), help me evaluate my students’ progress and provide feedback each step of the way. Peer-review ensures that they are not simply writing to my individual tastes—that they can argue their points to a variety of audiences. The end result of spreading out grades and breaking argument down into its constituent parts enables students to experiment with style and new ideas in their essays. Other assignments help them develop alterity, apply the texts to their own lives through what would be called “autobiographical criticism” in more advanced circles, or respond to the aesthetics of a particular poem or story. I require my students to meet the same standards as their peers in other courses. But I am explicit about those standards and mindful of the need to foster an appreciation for the humanities in each crop of college graduates.

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Teaching Experience

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Professional Oberservations

“Travis is, I think, the most effective instructor I’ve observed.”
-Dr. Jane Vance

Read Dr. Vance’s full report.

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“Excellent rapport with students and command of classroom. All seemed prepared, engaged, and to expect to participate.”
-Dr. Pearl James

Read Dr. James’s full report.

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“Travis presents himself in the classroom as a professional, organized, experienced, and supportive teacher. The lesson plan was meticulously structured, allowing the class time to listen to a student presentation on punctuation, take in a lecture which included a video clip, have group discussion, and then a participate in a small group activity that could be used as invention material for the students’ upcoming speeches. It was masterfully done, and well managed.”

-Dr. Beth Connors-Manke

Read Dr. Connors-Manke’s full report.

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“I believe Professor Martin is an articulate, passionate presence in the classroom, and with a class of his own he will thrive and the students will surely learn a great deal from his knowledge and experience. War literature is his specialty, and he offers an experiential perspective on this subject; however, I believe he will be equally credible with any other literary subject matter.”

-Dr. Lisa Day

Read Dr. Day’s full report.

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“I’ve never seen students more engaged!”
-Dr. Pearl James

Read Dr. James’s full report.

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“Excellent at engaging students and making them feel comfortable.”

-Dr. Emily Shortslef

Read Dr. Shortslef’s full report.

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“[Showed] professionalism, preparation, mastery of material, [and] helpfulness with students. Overall, a good and very successful class.”

-Dr. Matthew Giancarlo

Read Dr. Giancarlo’s full report.

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“Travis knows the content area (writing and rhetoric) well as demonstrated by the lecture/example he explicated in class. He could also give good suggestions for the students’ online projects on the fly because he knows the tech side of things well, which is very helpful to students.”

-Dr. Beth Connors-Manke

Read Dr. Connors-Manke’s full report.

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Select Pedagogical Materials

Full Lecture: Repetition Compulsion, Mastery, and the Question of Literature
Online Creative Writing Workshop: Writing a Combat Sequence
Presentation Notes: Psychoanalytic Examinations of Brian Turner’s Poetry
Presentation Notes: Irony, New Historicism, and the Works of Wilfred Owen and Tim O’Brien
Class Activity: Topos Activity: Ubiquity in Brian Turner’s Poetry
Class Activity: Writing a Literary Analysis
Class Activity: Scaffolding Prompts for Writing Intensive Course
Class Activity: Rap Music Analysis
Class Activity: Writing Diagnostic Tool
Sample Rubrics: Available here
Sample Powerpoints (WRD 110): Available here, here, here, and here.

imageedit_1_7912610445Veterans Studies Materials


Syllabus:
VTS 350 WGS 300 (Masculinities & War – Crosslisted Course)
Syllabus:
VTS 300 (Veterans in Society)
Syllabus:
VTS 200 (Introduction to Veterans Studies – In-Person)
Syllabus:
VTS 200 (Introduction to Veterans Studies – Online)
Syllabus:
GSO 102-V (Veterans’ Bridge to College Success – Veteran Cohort)
Student Poster Presentation Example:
Post-Deployment Mental Health
Student Poster Presentation Example:
Survivor’s Guilt
Student Group Essay Example:
Overmedication in Veteran Healthcare
Detailed Course Schedule:
VTS 200 (Online)
Detailed Course Schedule:
GSO 102-V

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Course Descriptions

ENG 230: Introduction to Literature (American Identities)
University of Kentucky | Spring 2015 | Three Credit Hours | In-Person

ENG 230 is an introduction to literary analysis through close reading and argumentative writing. The course involves studying selected texts from several genres and investigating a unified theme or set of topics. Students will learn how to read closely, how to relate texts to contexts, and how to use basic literary terms and concepts. Attention will be paid to student writing, particularly to devising a thesis, crafting an argument, and learning how to use supporting evidence.

This course will explore American identities in twentieth-century American poetry, prose, and drama. We will look at groundbreaking texts in conjunction with films and other contemporary media. For example, in discussion board responses students will be asked to find representations of American men (i.e. The Expendables or Fight Club) or women (i.e. Girl, Interrupted or The Hours) and compare them to the primary texts from the class. Our overarching question to answer: What does it mean to be an American? How is “Americanness” performed differently for men, women, and different racial and socioeconomic groups? How can American identities be viewed as works-in-progress and in what direction are they headed? We will examine themes like American resiliency and specific versions of African-American(ness) in W. E. B. Dubois’s The Souls of Black Folk as well as a masculine search for “self” in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Poetry by Edna St. Vincent Millay and others will help us explore American Feminisms, while David Henry Hwang and Edward Albee will help us understand America in the wake of colonialism—the local and global interrelations between populations impacted by imperial politics—and constructions of heteronormativity. Zora Neal Hurston will be our starting point for understanding the voice of the African American Women while Kate Chopin will be our starting point for examining the growth of women’s rights throughout the twentieth century. At the end of the semester, students will feel confident writing and making arguments about literary texts from twentieth century America.

Required Texts: Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises | Edward Albee, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? | W. E. B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk | Edna St. Vincent Millay, The Collected Poems | Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God | David Henry Huang, M. Butterfly | Kate Chopin, The Awakening | William Harmon Ed., A Handbook to Literature (11th Edition)

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ENG 280: Introduction to Film (Science Fiction as Social Commentary)
University of Kentucky | Fall 2014 | Three Credit Hours

English 280 involves the analysis an exploration of film. The primary emphasis of the course will be learning how to conduct critical analysis of film. Students will watch and analyze films from a variety of genres, time periods, and nationalities. Additionally, students will learn many of the key terms involved in making film including different shots, angles, and cuts. The course will also explore the key characteristics of the science fiction genre. Science Fiction offers us an escape from our everyday world by giving us glimpses into fantastic societies, alien life forms, or the distant future. Often, however, Science Fiction forces us to simultaneously look into a mirror. In this class, we will focus on the ways in which Science Fiction conducts cultural criticism, through its critique of issues ranging from terrorism to environmentalism. Films watched will include, among others, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 12 Monkeys, and The Hunger Games.

Required Text/Films: The Film Experience, Edited by Timothy Corrigan & Patricia White (2009) | Invasion of the Body Snatchers | The Day the Earth Stood Still | Blade Runner | Starship Troopers | Demolition Man | Gattaca | 12 Monkeys | V for Vendetta | District 9 | Avatar | Batman Begins | Surrogates | The Hunger Games | Looper

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University of Kentucky | Spring 2014 | Three Credit Hours | In-Person

WRD 203 is a course devoted to instruction in writing, speaking, and researching for business, industry, and government workplaces. While this course introduces the various common forms and conventions of business writing, it also requires students to analyze rhetorical, contextual, and ethical factors affecting all human communication. Because communication is such a complex activity, not easily reducible to rules and formulas, WRD 203 uses a process approach. Each unit encourages students to approach their writing and presentations in stages, to consider the common steps professionals follow and the decisions they must make during the development of any project. In addition to offering strategies for planning, researching, drafting, revising, and editing documents, we urge students to examine the broader picture, to consider ways to respond effectively and ethically to professional situations and audiences.

WRD 203 consists of five major unit projects and shorter, daily incremental assignments designed to present students with business workplace scenarios akin to those encountered in the “real world” where creative problem-solving, invention, innovation, and collaboration are highly prized, marketable skills. Through these daily and larger course projects students will learn to emphasize clarity, conciseness, and effectiveness in the preparation of letters, memos, reports, presentations, and group projects; to meet the needs of specific audiences through rhetorical and contextual analysis; to understand principles of professional document design in print and electronic media; to make decisions about the practical application of multimedia technology while acquiring competence in multimedia design; to collaborate with others in the creation of professional documents, digital media, and oral presentations; to respond ethically to professional situations and audiences.

Required Text: Business Writing: A Guide to WRD 203 at the University of Kentucky

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ENG 386-W: War & Peace in Lit Since 1900 (Writing Intensive)
Eastern Kentucky University | Summer 2013 | Three Credit Hours | In-Person

This is a writing intensive course focused on twentieth century American War literature. Early in the semester you will pick a topic related to one of the time periods from which we’ll be reading: WWI, WW2, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraq War, Afghanistan War. Topics might include but are not limited to the following:

1) Historical, Social, or Political influences upon a piece of literature from your chosen area: For example, you may choose to write about how the works of poetry read from the WWI section are or are not “anti-war.” The WWI tended to write about the disconnect between the promise of achieving glory on the battlefield and the reality of dying in droves in trenches with opportunity to fight. Your paper, if you chose to write about this, would look at historical records like propaganda from the period and juxtapose it alongside the poetry, explaining how the two talk with each other and help the reader get a fuller understanding of service during WWI.

2) Biographical readings of the text(s) that attempt to understand how life experiences like military service or war trauma influenced the author’s work: In the work we’ll be reading from the Gulf War, media and spectators tended to focus upon a sexual assault that happened to Rhonda Cornum when she was taken captive by Iraqi forces. Why? Cornum was later quoted as saying that it wasn’t a “big deal” and that “being a POW is a rape of your life” but the focus remained. If you wanted to write about Cornum you might examine society’s focus upon the sexual assault within the context of a much larger story. You might also look at her larger career as a General and see how her book helps you understand her choices as a senior military leader.

3) Situating a piece of literature thematically within works from other areas: We’ll be reading everything from poetry to fiction to autobiography and journalistic reporting. How do these accounts differ? Does fiction have anything “true” to teach us? What stylistic devices used by the different authors help illuminate war better than others? If you picked a topic along these lines you would be interested in the “how” of war writing and explaining what it is about stylistic devices that lends itself to deeper understandings of the war experience.

Required Texts: George Walter, editor. The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry | James Jones. The Thin Red Line | Kurt Vonnegut. Slaughterhouse Five | Richard Hooker. M*A*S*H. ISBN | Michael Herr. Dispatches | Rhonda Cornum. She Went to War | Brian Turner. Here, Bullet | Matt Gallagher. Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War | Sebastian Junger. War

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WGS 201: Intro to Women and Gender Studies
Eastern Kentucky University | Summer 2013 | Three Credit Hours | Online

This course is designed to reflect EKU’s Comprehensive Diversity Plan that “respects and celebrates diversity, which includes, but is not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and cultural or national backgrounds, in pursuit of common unity.” Our University community respects and celebrates the diversity of peoples, seeks to embrace all individuals, and prohibits discrimination. Women and Gender Studies courses seek to deconstruct systems of oppression and power; thus, topics will help students develop a greater capacity for intellectual open-mindedness. Courses will immerse the students in the complexity of human differences and commonalities. Exploration, analysis, and application of complex identity issues characterize these courses. WGS courses emphasize the challenges that must be addressed to achieve just, equitable, and productive societies, and promote the development of skills necessary to work effectively with others from diverse identities and perspectives.

Academic study of gender involves potentially controversial topics that might challenge your ideas, values, and beliefs. These moments should be viewed as learning experiences, and WGS courses encourage students to be open to these challenges with the intention of facilitating their own intellectual and social growth. Diversity of opinions in the classroom will create a more dynamic learning environment, and course grades will be based on your critical thinking, not on your personal viewpoints.

Please Note: Films and other media used in the course may contain thought-provoking and potentially controversial material. The instructor and the class will discuss how the material is germane to overall course goals and topics.

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VTS 200: Introduction to Veterans Studies
Eastern Kentucky University | Spring 2013 | Three Credit Hours | In-Person

This course explores the cultural, institutional, and relational dimensions of the military/veteran culture through the study of war literature, history and psycho/social experiences. The course is divided into three distinguishable sections:

Cultural: The section of the course seeks to define the veteran. What is it like over there? What do the troops want us to know about the wars they fight? By examining selected works of literature (such as excerpts from war memoirs or Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Soldier’s Home”) alongside anthropological research, we will explore the current reality of veterans’ lives in America, particularly in Kentucky.

Institutional: How do armies organize and maintain themselves? What are the historical differences between the armies of today and those of the past? How did/do politics influence the raising and deployment of warfighters? What is a warrior caste? Do we have one today? This section of the course looks at veteran in society to facilitate a deeper understanding of the individual who serves through a better understanding of the military as an institution.

Relational: How do veterans interact with non-veterans? What aspects of an individual’s psyche change as a result of military service? What are the negative and positive changes that occur? This section of the course explores the psycho/social aspects of veterans’ issues. The class will identify and discuss the relevant psychological outcomes of military service as well as veterans’ role (currently, historically and stereotypically) within society.

Required Texts: Fussell, Paul, Ed. The Norton Book of Modern War | Martin, Travis, Ed. The Journal of Military Experience | Gorley, Shawn J. The War at Home: One Family’s Fight Against PTSD | Mockenhaupt, Brian. The Living and the Dead | Schading, Barbara and Richard Schading. A Civilian’s Guide to the U.S. Military: A Comprehensive Reference to the Customs, Language and Structure of the Armed Forces

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WGS 300: Masculinities and War
Eastern Kentucky University | Summer 2012 | Three Credit Hours | Online

The military is often a test site for issues of national fascination and importance. Recent examples include the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the inclusion of women in more and more military occupational specialties. These issues reflect changing attitudes among Americans as a whole. At the very least, cultural and legislative influences upon the military represent the government’s attempt to predict and predate changes on a national level. The performance of masculinity and its deployment during war is the unwritten rule and inherent argument against most every controversial decision concerning gender-related politics in the military. It is assumed that masculinity and war are synonymous. But what is military masculinity? How does it differ from other types of masculinity? How is this masculinity performed and instilled in the acts and demeanors of service members? How can understanding Masculinity at War help us to understand the military mindset more fully, add insight to the controversial spotlight cast upon the behaviors of military men, and how are these questions answered within the literatures and other conveyances of war? This course will explore these questions and others by examining masculinity within the context of war in various mediums and through the lens of theorists like E. Anthony Rotundo, Michael Kimmel, and others.

This 8-week, online course will combine traditional academic research with practical argumentative assignments, transforming students into teachers of gender and veterans’ issues. Our first few weeks will lay the groundwork of gender theory; we will continue with the application of that theory to real-world issues and primary texts; and we will conclude by working individually or in groups to produce a digital project that illuminates some aspect of military masculinity, dispels myths, or motivates the public to take action on veterans’ behalf.

Required Texts: Kimmel, Michael. Manhood in America | Rotundo, E. Anthony. American Manhood | O’Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried | Swofford, Anthony. Jarhead

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WRD 111: Composition and Communication II
University of Kentucky | Spring 2012 | Three Credit Hours | In-Person

Composition and Communication II is the second of two general education courses focused on integrated oral, written, and visual communication skill development emphasizing critical inquiry and research. In this course, students will explore issues of public concern using rhetorical analysis, engage in deliberation over those issues, and ultimately propose solutions based on well-developed arguments. Students will sharpen their ability to conduct research; compose and communicate in written, oral, and visual modalities; and work effectively in groups (dyads and small groups). To learn to analyze a public issue using rhetorical analysis, the entire class will explore together one contemporary social issue and related texts about it. Students will then be grouped in teams, each of which will explore a different public controversy with a local face (e.g., the use of renewable energy vs. fossil fuels–local angle: coal mining practices in Eastern Kentucky). For the first two-thirds of the class, students will decide on their team focus and conduct significant primary and secondary research on the issue, culminating in a series of reports and a group speech. In the last third of the class, teams will develop digital projects to communicate their well-argued solutions to audiences beyond the classroom. A significant component of the class will consist of learning to use visual and digital resources, first to enhance written and oral presentations and later to communicate mass mediated messages to various public audiences. Over the course of the semester, class members can expect to work independently, with a partner, and in a small group (team) to investigate, share findings, and compose and deliver presentations, as well as to practice and evaluate interpersonal and team dynamics in action.

Required Texts: University of Kentucky Guide to Oral, Written, and Visual Communication | The Engaged Citizen: A Reader for Composition and Communication. 4th ed.

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WRD 110: Composition and Communication I
University of Kentucky | Fall 2011 | Three Credit Hours | In-Person

Composition and Communication I is a course in speaking and writing emphasizing critical inquiry and research. Throughout the course, I will encourage you to explore your place in the broader community and take a stance on issues of public concern—that is, to begin to view yourself as an engaged citizen. You will engage in reflective thinking and analysis, conduct primary research in the community and secondary research using Library resources, and learn how to write and speak effectively about a local issue not only for your classmates but also for audiences beyond the classroom. A significant component of the class will be learning to use visuals and online resources to enhance writing and oral presentations. Over the course of the semester, class members can expect to work independently, with a partner, or with a small group of classmates to investigate, share findings, and compose presentations of their research, as well as to practice and evaluate interpersonal and team dynamics in action.

Required Texts: University of Kentucky Guide to Oral, Written, and Visual Communication | The Engaged Citizen: A Reader for Composition and Communication. 4th ed.

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GSO 102-V: Veterans’ Bridge to College Success
Eastern Kentucky University | Spring 2011 | Three Credit Hours | In-Person

This course is a variant of the standard University Orientation Course (GSO 102). Students will receive the same instruction in study skills, academic life, and University policies as those enrolled in the standard course. However, the curriculum will forgo discussion of issues relevant only to young, straight-out-of-high-school freshmen and focus upon issues relevant to student veterans. Adjusting to civilian/academic life, utilizing the services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, translating and applying military skills to the civilian job market and identifying common as well as specifically veteran-related impediments to a successful academic pursuit will supplement and enhance the curriculum.

Required Texts: Ellis, David, Ed. Becoming a Master Student | Janet and E. Anthony Seahorn.Tears of a Warrior: A Family’s Story of Combat and Living with PTSD | The University Datebook or some sort of planner.

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Letters from Students

Katie Andrews
Eastern Kentucky University
Katie_Andrews4@mymail.eku.edu

To Whom It May Concern:

I’m writing this letter in regards to my experiences working with Travis Martin as a professor and as a mentor. I first met Mr. Martin through the Veterans Studies program at Eastern Kentucky University when I attended an Introduction to Veteran Studies class in the fall of 2012. I had no idea what I was getting involved in, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my undergraduate career. Mr. Martin not only introduced me to military culture but he opened my eyes to a new perspective in learning. Most classes I have attended have used a very one dimensional teaching technique, but Mr. Martin taught us to look at things from different dimensions and to really get a 360 view of the topics taught in class.

W explored military and veteran culture from three important perspectives; cultural, institutional, and relational. The work and learning we did was not just confined to the classroom. Mr. Martin encouraged all of us to attend activities outside of class and offered ample opportunities to get hands on learning experience. Thanks to Mr. Martin I was able to have the opportunity to get involved in the veteran studies program at EKU through volunteering and attending projects such as The Combat Paper Project, and ArtReach: Project America.

I also attended Mr. Martin’s 20th Century American War Literature course this summer. Mr. Martin encouraged class discussion about different types of war literature read in class and also incorporated psychoanalysis, literature review, and many types of theories to help us understand the experiences of the authors and purposes of each piece of work. Once again I found that he adopted the three dimensional learning perspective in class. He encouraged us to speak out and express our opinions but also taught us to be open to others. For writing assignments he would set aside time in class to work one on one with each student and go over their written work. That is something many teachers will not take the time to do, which is one reason why I enjoy working with Mr. Martin so much. He is a rare breed of a teacher.

All of these achievements have significant value to me because I hope to one day work with the military as a psychologist and Mr. Martin has always been supportive and helpful to me as I work toward completing that goal. This is the aspect in which I would consider Mr. Martin a mentor of mine. He does not let his students pass by without acknowledging them and taking the time to truly get to know them and work with them. As I think all teachers should be, he is an advocate for learning and he definitely puts his students and their success first. The things I have learned from working with Mr. Martin have been put to use outside of his classes and I have incorporated the idea of 360 degree learning in everything I do.

I honestly do not think my undergraduate career at EKU would have been the same if it wasn’t for the things I learned in the Intro class I took with Mr. Martin. I expect great things out of Mr. Martin and hope that I will have the opportunity to work with him in the future.

If you have any questions in regards to this letter or Mr. Martin. Feel free to contact me via the email provided above.

Thank you for your time,

Katie Andrews

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Michael S. Conn

Eastern Kentucky University

Michael_Conn3@mymail.eku.edu

To Whom It May Concern:

Travis provided to me with the motivation and opportunity to succeed in college. My time in his GSO 102-V class was one of immense academic growth; his methods were an escape from the norm; they were unique and refreshing when compared to previous college classes I had taken. Travis is possessed of a unique ability to make students think creatively and critically, a fact no doubt owing to his background in the humanities and experiences gained as a Non-Commissioned Officer in the United States Army.

While in his class, my ability as a writer greatly increased due to his coaching. Travis introduced the class to The Journal of Military Experience, giving us all the amazing opportunity to become published authors in a book by his veteran students. He incorporated the writing process into the class curriculum, promoting critical thought, introspection and healing by way of writing. His initiative with creative writing helps veterans assimilate into college as well as civilian life as a whole. I, for one, am better for it.

Thanks to Travis, I am a published author, and have had the distinction of presenting at the Eastern Kentucky University Undergraduate Showcase, an academic honor for all students who are nominated. In addition, his efforts helped me earn a departmental writing award from the Department of English at EKU. Any student of Mr. Martin will gain in ability and the knowledge needed to succeed in academia.

He will be a great asset to whichever institution has the privilege of having him as a member of their faculty.

Respectfully,

Michael S. Conn

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Quantitative Feedback

ENG 280: Introduction to Film (Science Fiction as Social Commentary)

University of Kentucky | Fall 2014 | Three Credit Hours

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WGS 201: Intro to Women and Gender Studies
Eastern Kentucky University | Summer 2013 | Three Credit Hours | Online

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WRD 111-007: Composition and Communication II
University of Kentucky | Spring 2012 | Three Credit Hours | In-Person

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WRD 111-010: Composition and Communication II
University of Kentucky | Spring 2012 | Three Credit Hours | In-Person

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WRD 110-10: Composition and Communication I
University of Kentucky | Fall 2011 | Three Credit Hours | In-Person

1

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Qualitative Feedback

WRD 110 | Fall 2016

“I felt that Professor Martin was very understanding, approachable, and relatable to his students. He was helpful and made class a lot easier with the way he laid out the material and assignments. His method of teaching was organized and helped me to manage the class load a lot better.”

“He was a nice and great teacher and its helpful because when I didn’t get something he would be fine with it and help till I understood it. I thought its helpful because it allows me to get it faster and not brush it off.”

“He connected with the students. He made us feel like we were respected so therefore we felt comfortable asking for his help.”

“His one on one interaction with students during class time [were helpful].”

“He made us feel like we were respected so therefore we felt comfortable asking for his help.”

“He was able to relate to his students.”

“He was really nice and was obviously there to help students further their education.”

(Read original reports here and here)

ENG 230 | Spring 2015

“Dr. Martin is an excellent instructor. He taught the class in a very interactive way. I have never been in a class setting such as this, so it kept me on my toes. We were always engaged in the class and everyone shared their thoughts and opinions openly. This definitely helped us to learn better.”

“The teacher helped in many ways that no college professor has done before. He was very understanding and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.”

“He is nothing what I would have expected. He is caring, while be challenging at the same time. He pushes you past the average English class to make it an actual learning experience. You go so much further than memorizing and reading poetry/literature. You learn about yourself and how to appreciate literature.”

“I cannot say enough about him. He is truly a genuine teacher that cares about his students. He answers his emails promptly and is very quick to give us encouragement. He wants us to learn and he sees so much in ourselves that we do not see. He knows the history behind the literature which helped me understand the author’s perspective. He honestly should be in charge of the entire university because of how wonderful of a professor and person he is. He has impacted so many lives and helped many girls out of toxic relationships just by talking about literature and wanting us to be open with him. He created such a wonderful learning setting. It didn’t seem like a classroom. We all faced our desks in a circle so that we were all talking to each other. He is by far the best professor at this university and I wish there was another opportunity to take him again for a course.”

“Travis Martin is the most inspiring teacher/person I have ever had the chance to get to know. He was extremely knowledgeable in his field and was a great teacher. He was very relaxed and easy going. I do not have a negative thing to say about him or his class.”

“Travis was the best professor I’ve had in college so far.”

“Best English teacher I’ve ever had. Very inspirational, helped me overcome the negative stigma of required reading.”

“Best class I have taken at UK. Professor always there to help and taught the material in a unique style that I greatly enjoyed.”

“This class helped me learn in ways I didn’t think I could and I’m happy I could participate in this course.”

“This course was by far my favorite class I’ve taken at UK. I got more out of this class than any other class and I left each day feeling genuinely great about myself and I truly learned how to appreciate others opinions. I learned a lot about myself and how literature still relates to my life. How these dead writers were people facing the same things I face today.”

“This has been my favorite class this semester. I have never gotten more out of a class. I had the opportunity to read book by authors I would not have read. They really helped me to have a better understanding of other people. The relaxed classroom setting made everyone feel comfortable with sharing their insights in regards to the books.”

“This class was absolutely amazing. It was by far my favorite class I have ever taken. It helped me grow so much as a reader and writer. Most importantly though, I grew tremendously as a person. I learned about myself and my classmates and how to respect their views. It was a very encouraging and compassionate group of classmates. The atmosphere was safe and welcoming.”

“Professor Travis Martin really cares about his students, and I don’t know if I could say that about any other professor I have had to this extent. People really opened up in this class and I think participation reflects leadership in this case. Travis was open and vulnerable about his life, so the rest of us asked ourselves deep rooted questions and learned about ourselves. I analyzed myself as a result of this class more than any book we read.”

(Read original report)

imageedit_1_7912610445ENG 280 | Fall 2014

“Travis was one of the best professors I have ever had. He is dedicated to his students and helped us succeed by working with us when we were confused or lost. He the class well and it is obvious that he is very well-versed in the subject matter. I’ve only had two other professors that I would deem similar to Travis in regards to being dedicated to their students and that meant a lot to me.”

“This course was extremely entertaining. I really enjoyed debating the inner-workings of sci-fi films since it is my favorite genre.”

“This course is very well structured. Assignments were applicable, reasonable, and stimulated my interest in the subject. Mr. Martin is an exceptional teacher who knows exactly how to covey ideas into a simple understand manner students can identify with.”

“Instructor had vast knowledge of the subject and provided in-depth details that made the material easier to understand.”

“Instructor was very engaging and intelligent.”

“Mr. Martin was a dedicated teacher in this course and came to class excited to be there and helped each the students throughout the semester. He had a significant amount of knowledge about this subject and I learned a lot.”

“Great teacher. I will never look at films the same.”

“One of the best UK Core teachers I’ve had since I’ve been at UK. Great guy who obviously cares a great deal about his students. 10/10.”

(Read original report)

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GSO 102-V | Spring 2013

“Goes over everything in depth using all of the different learning techniques.”

“Travis is not deficient in anything he does.”

“He tells us we need to do better and push ourselves.”

“[He makes the class most helpful in] the way he makes the class fun instead of lecturing.”

“One day he talked to each one of us individually about our grades.”

“The teacher was awesome. Professor Travis Martin taught us to think more critically and how to manage our time.”

“Tells us what is likely to happen if we don’t put forth the effort and do our work.”

“He gives examples of how to do things instead of just explaining them. He’s very hands-on and cares if we show up to class.”

“There is nothing about this class that needs to be changed.”

“He had personal talks with us and personal meetings.”

“He is very hands-on. He is not mono-tone and his personality is key.”

“Gives us real-life examples of how his teachings will help us.”

“If you are doing bad he comes and talks to you to see what is wrong.”

“He always had a positive attitude and made his teaching fun which made it a lot easier to learn from him. He gave really good examples of how to learn and remember information.”

“He showed us that he cared. He invited us at any time to come to his office for anything. He told us if everyone got a good grade on our exam he would bring spaghetti and when everyone did we were rewarded with spaghetti. It was VERY motivating.”

“He talks to us and listens to our problems.”

(Read the original report)

imageedit_1_7912610445GSO 102-V | Fall 2012

“Constantly emails with opportunities and activities and general information for us.”

‘Topics were thought out so everyone took part and added to the discussion.”

“He shows up and makes us care. He helped build a stronger community among us vets.”

“He genuinely seems to care about us.”

“He emails and is always a phone call away if needed.”

“Travis is on his game.”

“Travis is the man … He is helpful all the time. Great teacher! Epic!!!”

(Read the original report)

imageedit_1_7912610445WRD 111-10 | Spring 2012

“Best teacher ever :)”

“Great teacher!”

“I believe Travis Martin was an excellent teacher and really helped me do better in this course. I typically do not enjoy writing papers, but he really helped me stay interested in the course material.”

(Read the original report)

imageedit_1_7912610445WRD 111-07 | Spring 2012

“A fairly standard class taught by a not so fairly standard teacher – and that’s a good thing. Mr. Martin was definitely one of the most interesting, unique, and dynamic teachers I’ve ever had. He taught the class so powerfully, but also kept up a positive and humorous atmosphere.”

“Travis Martin was a very good teacher and interacted well with the class.”

(Read the original report)

imageedit_1_7912610445WRD 110 | Fall 2011

“Travis Martin was a good instructor and I learned a lot in the course.”

(Read the original report)

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