Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

Donnie Sackey


Assistant ProfessorPh.D., Rhetoric & Writing, 2013, Michigan State University

Donnie Sackey

Contact

Interests


Rhetoric; environmental rhetoric; risk communication; community-engaged research; community literacy; computers and writing; research methods and methodology

Courses


RHE 328 • Writing For Nonprofits

42585 • Fall 2019
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM PAR 104
Wr

This course equips students with the intellectual, analytical, and persuasive skills necessary for writing in non-profit organizations. We’ll dedicate much time toward analyzing, understanding, and building communication strategies in nonprofit contexts by researching and examining the rhetorical practices made by different organizations across a variety of texts (e.g. from mission statements to newsletters to grants). First, we’ll assess our knowledge regarding how these genres work, for whom and why. Second, we’ll consider methods for learning about the capacities and needs of an organization. Throughout the semester, we’ll have guests from local Austin-area nonprofits, who can help us better understand how writing happens in their organization. This feedback will be helpful as we assemble the former two skills in order to produce the genres associated with nonprofits. This will entail writing proposals, telling stories, working across different media, and developing the assessment measures that are necessary for gauging the success of our communication work. By the end of the semester, you should have a greater awareness of how writing happens in these settings and even leave with a greater level of confidence in pursuing a career in non-profit work.

Note: Although we will work with a group of community partners, students are encouraged to take advantage of and build-upon existing relationships with non-profits. Feel free to contact Dr. Sackey before the beginning of the course to talk over ideas.

Required Materials
Barbato, Joseph and Danielle S. Furlich. Writing for a Good Cause: The Complete Guide to

Crafting Proposals and Other Persuasive Pieces for Nonprofits. New York: Fireside, 2000. (ISBN

978-0-6-8485740-4)

Heath, Chip and Dan Heath. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. New York:

Random House, 2007. (ISBN 978-1-4-0006428-1)

Pallotta, Dan. Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up For Itself and Really Change the World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012. (ISBN 978-1118117521)

 

Assignments and Grading

  • Genre Assessment Paper – 15%
  • Capacity-Needs Assessment – 20%
  • Proposals – 10%
  • Portfolio– 40%         
  • Participation – 15%

RHE 330C • Rhetorc/Risk/Envrmtl Justce

42600 • Fall 2019
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PAR 104
Wr

This course will explore the intersection of rhetoric, social justice, and environment through the theoretical lens of environmental justice. Environmental justice is a framework for analyzing and addressing the inequalities in environmental conditions (benefits and burdens) among communities of varying race/ethnicity and economic class. At the same time, environmental justice presents a deep challenge to mainstream environmental and sustainability frameworks. Within the confines of this course, environmental justice also provides a challenge to rhetoric and writing studies. We will spend the duration of the course making sense of what is that challenge. The course will be divided thematically into interrelated sections that explore different aspects of environmental justice.

Through this course, you will: a) develop theoretical frameworks for understanding how environmental injustice is produced locally, regionally, and globally; b) become more knowledgable about local environmental justice organizations and initiatives; c) gain a better grasp of rhetorical and communicative strategies necessary for addressing environmental justice from the community, government, science, and legal perspectives; d) conduct advanced research by developing a research question; locating, evaluating, and integrating primary and secondary resources; and placing project in the context of relevant scholarship; e) write with fluency, clarity, and style; f) explore opportunities for local community engagement; and g) develop strategies for communicating risk across digital media.  

Texts and Materials

  • Kim  Fortun,  Advocacy  After  Bhopal: Environmentalism,  Disaster,  New  Global  Orders  (2001).
  • David Scholosberg, Defining  Environmental  Justice:  Theories,  Movements,  and  Nature  (2007).
  • David  Naguib  Pellow,  Garbage  Wars:  the  Struggle  for  Environmental  Justice  in  Chicago (2004).

Assignments and Grading

Reading Responses - 15%

  • Multiple written responses to required readings posted to our course site (300-500 words posted in Canvas). Responses will be opportunities to critically and creatively engage course readings and case studies as well as provide the starting point for much our class discussion.

Risk Analysis Assessment - 25%

  • The purpose of this paper is to perform an assessment of an existing environmental risk. Although students are encouraged to think about risks that are local to the community of Austin/Travis County, they may also consider risks that scale beyond these boundaries and draw connections between local, regional, and global environments.

Risk Communication Campaign - 25%

  • This project builds upon work from the risk analysis assessment. Students will produce a short podcast   and factsheet that introduces a general audience to the risks associated with a particular environmental justice issue.

Documenting Environment & Risk - 35%

  • In this team project, students will produce a 15-minute documentary short film. Students will be encouraged to propose an idea early in the course.

RHE 330C • Information Design

43447 • Spring 2019
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PAR 104
Wr

This course covers fundamental principles of document and information design. Over the course of the semester students will learn practical and theoretical skills related to desktop publishing, visual communication, and publication production.
 Using industry-standard software applications, you will learn to create, from scratch, visually attractive and functional documents that are used in corporate and non-profit environments. By the end of the course, you can expect to understand:
 (1) How culturally-specific design principles affect readability, functionality, interpretation, and communication of information; (2)How software applications from the Adobe Creative Suite, including Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator work together; (3) How to create professional-quality, user-centered designs, including logos, brochures, pamphlets, and infographics; and (4)How to use design and technology terminology to communicate effectively with design professionals. 

No prior design experience is required. This will be a project-based workshop that emphasizes project management and collaboration. 



Required Materials

Students will be asked to subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud for the duration of the class (The Campus Computer Store sells $75.00 yearly subscriptions). It is recommended that you have a digital camera or smartphone for capturing high-quality photos. You will need a means of electronic backup and file storage (e.g., Dropbox, portable external hard-drive). Finally, you’ll need to reserve $50 for personal printing costs. No texts are required for this course.

 

Assignments and Grading

  • Presentation: What is Good/Bad Design - 10%
  • Participation: Design Collection - 5% 
  • Participation: Ideas & Contributions to Class - 5%
  • Project One: Visual Rhetorical Analysis - 15%
  • Project Two: Designing Symbols - 15%
  • Project Three: Designing Data - 15%
  • Project Four: Designing Type - 15%
  • Project Five: (Re)designing Voting - 20%

RHE 330C • Mobile Environments

43450 • Spring 2019
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM PAR 104
Wr

Mobile computing devices have become ubiquitous in our communities. From cooking to navigation, their presence has improved the quality of our daily lives. According to the Pew Research Center, 64% of adults own a smartphone, and that number increases to about 80% when we consider 18-35 year olds. At a rate of 69% per year, we’re spending more time on our phones that ever before. Such a trend emphasizes the need to consider how we design mobile environments, especially as they interface with physical environments. This course focuses on principles of user experience (UX) design. Specifically, it focuses on the creation of low-fidelity mobile application solutions, which are designed to help users explore and create meaningful and personally relevant experiences within their environments. While this is not a graphic design, programming, or human-computer interaction course, we will cover techniques from those disciplines to guide our work. Our goal will be to engage with design as a rhetorical form that can transform how users understand and communicate in their environments.

No prior design experience is required. This will be a project-based workshop that emphasizes project management and collaboration. 



Texts and Materials

  • Students will be asked to subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud for the duration of the class (The Campus Computer Store sells $75.00 yearly subscriptions).
  • Jessie James Garrett, The Elements of User Experience ISBN: 978-0321683687
  • Don Norman, Living with Complexity ISBN: 978-0262528948
  • Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression ISBN: 9781479837243 

  • Additional texts will be made available on our Canvas course site.

Assignments and Grading

  • Reading Responses - 10%

Multiple written responses to required readings posted to our course site (300-500 words posted in Canvas). Responses will be opportunities to critically and creatively engage course readings and case studies as well as provide the starting point for much our class discussion.

  • What is user experience design? - 25%

This project will help students to become more acquainted with the field of UX by researching the skills, experience, background, and education of UX designers and organizations and institutions that employ people in user experience..

  • Augmenting Reality - 25%

In this individual project, students will blend ethnography, psychogeography, and low-fidelity prototyping, in order to design a hypothetical interface that facilitates a new experience within an identified space (e.g. Austin, a park, campus, etc.) 

  • Designing for Social Change - 25%

This team project places students in a scenario where they are asked to design a mobile solution that can help disrupt social injustice. 

  • Participation - 15%

In addition to course projects and response, students will be evaluated on completion of daily activities and participation in discussion.

RHE 330C • Mobile Environments

43782 • Fall 2018
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PAR 104
Wr

Mobile computing devices have become ubiquitous in our communities. From cooking to navigation, their presence has improved the quality of our daily lives. According to the Pew Research Center, 64% of adults own a smartphone, and that number increases to about 80% when we consider 18-35 year olds. At a rate of 69% per year, we’re spending more time on our phones that ever before. Such a trend emphasizes the need to consider how we design mobile environments, especially as they interface with physical environments. This course focuses on principles of user experience (UX) design. Specifically, it focuses on the creation of low-fidelity mobile application solutions, which are designed to help users explore and create meaningful and personally relevant experiences within their environments. While this is not a graphic design, programming, or human-computer interaction course, we will cover techniques from those disciplines to guide our work. Our goal will be to engage with design as a rhetorical form that can transform how users understand and communicate in their environments.

No prior design experience is required. This will be a project-based workshop that emphasizes project management and collaboration. 



Texts and Materials

  • Students will be asked to subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud for the duration of the class (The Campus Computer Store sells $75.00 yearly subscriptions).
  • Jessie James Garrett, The Elements of User Experience ISBN: 978-0321683687
  • Don Norman, Living with Complexity ISBN: 978-0262528948
  • Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression ISBN: 9781479837243 

  • Additional texts will be made available on our Canvas course site.

Assignments and Grading

  • Reading Responses - 10%

Multiple written responses to required readings posted to our course site (300-500 words posted in Canvas). Responses will be opportunities to critically and creatively engage course readings and case studies as well as provide the starting point for much our class discussion.

  • What is user experience design? - 25%

This project will help students to become more acquainted with the field of UX by researching the skills, experience, background, and education of UX designers and organizations and institutions that employ people in user experience..

  • Augmenting Reality - 25%

In this individual project, students will blend ethnography, psychogeography, and low-fidelity prototyping, in order to design a hypothetical interface that facilitates a new experience within an identified space (e.g. Austin, a park, campus, etc.) 

  • Designing for Social Change - 25%

This team project places students in a scenario where they are asked to design a mobile solution that can help disrupt social injustice. 

  • Participation - 15%

In addition to course projects and response, students will be evaluated on completion of daily activities and participation in discussion.

Curriculum Vitae


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