2022 Workshop Dates: July 24-29

Minnowbrook Conference Center (see on map)

Special Topics Workshops are facilitated by Syracuse University faculty and are open to secondary educators for discipline-specific professional development experience. Certified SUPA instructors have the added option of enrolling in these workshops for SU graduate credit at a significantly reduced tuition rate.

The Advanced English workshops address current topics within the fields of literary, cultural, composition, and rhetorical studies—to communicate enhanced content knowledge and classroom pedagogy—as well as topics of broader significance for teachers in the arts and sciences, e.g., research strategies across the curriculum.

Workshop participants have the opportunity to enroll in one or two workshops during the five-day retreat. Syllabi, required textbook lists, and any course readers for the workshops will be sent to participants upon receipt of the registration form.

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2022 Workshops

 ENG 600: Making Readers into Co-Creators: Lessons from the Theater, Applied to Fiction (Alexander Yates)

You’ve heard the one about Chekhov’s gun, right? Hanging on the wall in act 1, destined to go off in subsequent acts? For nearly a century fiction writers and teachers have passed around this bit of well-worn advice as a lesson on foreshadowing and a call for narrative economy. But in doing so, we often overlook that in addition to being a master of the short story, Chekhov was a playwright. He was working in a collaborative medium, giving advice not just as a writer but as a co-creator who enlisted the help of a range of artists, and even the audience itself, to tell his stories.

In this workshop, we will look at our fiction the way we can imagine Chekhov looked at his—as a playwright or a producer might. We will imagine fiction as a medium where co-creation is not only possible but inevitable, and seek to understand the ways in which reading is itself a creative act. When we read, we use our imaginations to build sets, dress them with props, and cast eager actors to their parts. When as writers we are more fully conscious of how our readers are investing their creative faculties into our work, we can make that partnership more fruitful, enlisting them as co-creators in a collaborative act of storytelling.

ENG 600: The Weapon of the Powerless: Satire in the Classroom (Meriwether)

In this seminar, participants will explore how to analyze and write satire and explore pedagogical methods for teaching students the same. We will analyze satirical rhetoric in order to understand its diverse purposes, effects on audiences, and the role it plays across social and ideological contexts, and we will ponder how satire can critique and resist dominant narratives and ideologies, provide alternative perspectives and in some cases, actively attempt social and political change. As we explore these questions, we will examine:

1)historical and contemporary satirical texts (Horace, Juvenal, Aristophanes, Moliere, JohnOliver, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Childish Gambino, Bo Burnham, and more)

2)contested theories about what constitutes satire and how it works (or how it is supposedto work), and

3)effective practices of analyzing and writing satire

Participants will gain an understanding of how to analyze satire, how to write their own satirical texts, and how to teach these tools to students. They will also be asked to compose two assignments or projects that engage students with satire and satirical texts either historically (archival contexts, historicity of satirical literary texts), analytically (analyze satirical texts using theoretical models and concepts) or textually (compose satirical texts based on models and analysis of contemporary satire). 

2022 Faculty

Alexander Yates

Rae Ann Meriweather

About Minnowbrook

Syracuse University’s Minnowbrook Conference Center is an enchanting facility built in the rustic elegance of the Adirondack “Great Camp” tradition.

Room accommodations are spacious and comfortable. They will be designated single occupancy, unless registration numbers require room sharing. All meals will be provided by the kitchen staff at Minnowbrook, as will snacks throughout the day. Meals are gourmet quality and participants are guaranteed to never go hungry!

Recreational facilities—including a game room, workout equipment, tennis court, canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, and rowboats—are available for participants, and of course, the Adirondacks themselves offer great opportunities for hiking and other outdoor sports.

Workshop Fees & Tuition

Participants have several registration options for the Special Topics workshops. Most register for one workshop only. Graduate credit is optional, and this specially reduced tuition rate ($210 for 3 credit hours) is available only to SUPA certified instructors. 

The fee structure for the workshop- only option—which includes room and board, use of the Minnowbrook facilities and workshop fees, is $1,430 

(If you are interested in taking both workshops, please contact Sean Conrey at smconrey@syr.edu)

Please note that in the event of low enrollment, individual workshops may be canceled.*


To register for the Special Topics workshops, complete the application form by June 27, 2022 to:

Syracuse University Project Advance
400 Ostrom Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-3250


What do past Minnowbrook participants say about their experience?

“I can’t think of any situation where you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in not only a subject, but a place, that allows for the leisure to contemplate the world without distractions—a serenity that is very different from the hectic world of teaching in the high school in particular. This is the perfect time to lose yourself and do something that you love. Talking about books, talking about art, with people who have the same passion, the same interests, and so much experience to exchange.”

“During my free time, I spent a lot of time on the dock just listening to the water and reading for chunks of time. That’s one of the lures of Minnowbrook: time to think. And to read and to be uninterrupted. And to talk to people who are from all over, finding out what’s going on at other places.”

“Each of the years I’ve attended, I’ve come home with something I’ve been able to use directly in my classes and in my instruction. I’m getting materials and points of view that I didn’t have. The marriage of people from the high schools and Syracuse University in this particular program, which we’ve come to call an intellectual community, has the distinct advantage of giving us an opportunity to generalize our knowledge, to find out what things are like in other places, and to see what works in other places. It’s so refreshing: you come home and you have thought deeply about a variety of subjects and discussed them with a variety of very intelligent and very articulate and very well-read and informed people, and how can that be bad? It’s just a totally good time.”

“Well, first of all, the setting is so gorgeous. And you just feel at peace and relaxed. It becomes a very intense experience, because when you’re with a group of people and you’re in class with them for so many hours of the day, and then you sit down and have lunch with them, and you sit down at dinner with them, and you have breakfast with them, and you talk, continually, and the issues that come up in the class get hashed out again and again, new things get brought up over meals, and it’s just a very stimulating, and totally involving experience. And you come back very invigorated and with new ideas and ready to try new things.”

“The intellectual stimulation that you get here is incomparable. I mean you go to the faculty room and everybody complains about problems with the day-to-day routine, and you don’t get to discuss ideas at all or techniques that you would use in the classroom. Here, we talk about all kinds of things that we can try and that we’ve tried before that worked. It’s just a constant exchange of new ideas. It’s a totally new networking that is not normal in a high school room. Everybody here is just on an automatic cycle of exchange of ideas. And that’s what happens here all the time. Not just in a group meeting but while we’re on a hike up to Castle Rock or while we’re at dinner or after dinner.”

“This has some of the same benefits as any sort of camp provides. People get to come away. They get a retreat. And they come together with other people who are interested in the same issues, the same topic, the same inquiry, and they get to live, eat, breathe, and do this for however many hours of a day, so it’s a very short experience, but it’s a very intense experience. And the benefit comes not just from the content delivery, but from the kind of all-inclusive interaction. So there’s this constant flow of discussion, from one course to another, to issues in my school, to how am I going to do this unit of my course, and there’s this sort of seamless interaction for whatever period of time and that’s just remarkable. So you can call it camp but it’s a much more intense sort of professional interaction than any other venue I can imagine.”

“What brings me here? The opportunity to gain credit working with the Syracuse University program and the idea of it being concentrated in one week; other courses that I take are spread out over several months or they take up weekends and don’t feel as though they have the same continuity as they do here.”