July 23-28


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.

Download the flyer


2017 Workshops

ENG-600: Teaching the History of Racial Thought (Torres-Saillant)

This workshop undertakes a historical overview of racial thought by means of a comparative assessment of social relations from Babylonian antiquity to The Hunger Games. The course begins by recovering the memory of a time in the past when people did not have look at one another through a racial prism even when they encountered people of different ancestry and phenotype, continues onto the time only five centuries ago when a gospel of phenotype and a fundamentalism of ancestry emerged, and offers an evaluation of the circumstances that gave rise to racist discourse. The course posits that looking at race from the perspective of intellectual history allows the instructor to cover the material in ways that lessens the heightened degrees of anxiety that the subject elicits in students and teachers irrespective of background. We will read selections ranging from the Code of Hammurabi, the Bible, Homer, the early Christians, Marco Polo, Jefferson, and some 19th and 20th century authors.

ENG-600: Literary Life on the Halfshell: Making Books Happen (Flowers)

This workshop will be a conventional fiction workshop format of stories/chapters passed out beforehand and discussed in workshop. It will be conducted in a framework of making the literary life and sensibility work in our busy lives: how to be a writer in spite of your daily grind, how to make books happen on time challenged life routines. It will address the nature of discipline and production schedules and how to maintain the literary sensibility. How to write books that matter. How to get published, how to conduct yourself in a professional manner. Just what is the literary life.

In a given class, we will workshop a chosen short story or chapter, one or two depending on how many participants we have. We will also workshop the outline of a manuscript. Though fiction-oriented, the workshop will be open to creative nonfiction works. Participants will be expected to work on their craft in the workshop as well as outline a potential book developed from the piece they workshop.

2017 Faculty

Silvio Torres-Saillant, Professor in the English Department, formerly headed the Latino-Latin American Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences. He co-founded La Casita Cultural Center, an organization opened in the Near West Side of the City of Syracuse with the mission to create bridges of communication, collaboration, and exchange linking Syracuse University with the Latino population of the city and promoting the Hispanic heritages of Central New York. He serves in the core team of DK (Democratizing Knowledge), an initiative supported by the Chancellor’s Leadership Projects that promotes strategies for decolonizing the academy, and in the Syracuse University chapter of The Future of Minority Studies, a nationwide consortium of scholars working on efforts to foreground the ways of knowing and bodies of knowledge subjugated by the colonial transaction. He completed a two-year term as William P. Tolley Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities.


Arthur Flowers is a novelist, essayist, and performance poet.  A native of Memphis Tennessee, he is the author of novels, Another Good Loving Blues and De Mojo Blues; a children’s book, Cleveland Lee’s Beale Street Band, and a memoir/manifesto, Mojo Rising: Confessions of a 21st Century Conjureman and a graphic nonfiction, I See The Promise Land.  He has published shorts and articles and is a bluesbased performance poet.  He is a founding member/director of New Renaissance Writers Guild, NYC, The Griot Shop, Memphis, and the Pan African Literary Forum.  He has been Executive Director of the Harlem Writers Guild.  He has been the recipient of NEA and NYSFA awards in fiction and nonfiction.

His novel in progress, Rest for the Weary, is a meditation on prophecy, destiny, fate and the human condition.  He is also working on a nonfiction work, The Hoodoo Book of Flowers.  He considers having an online literary presence part of being a 21st Century literary man and has a blog, Rootsblog, a cyberhoodoo webspace.


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.

For more details about the facility, visit


2017 Workshop Fees & Tuition

Participants have several registration options for the Special Topics workshops. They may register for one or two workshops for professional development experience only, or qualified participants may register for one or two workshops as graduate courses bearing credit.

The fee structure for these options—which includes room and board, use of the Minnowbrook facilities, workshop fees, and graduate credit if applicable—is as follows:

One Workshop (no graduate credit) $1,365
Two Workshops (no graduate credit) $1,540
One Workshop (3 graduate credits*) $1,575
Two Workshops (6 graduate credits*) $1,960

* Includes the basic workshop fee plus tuition. Note: Graduate credit is optional, and this specially reduced tuition rate is available only to SUPA certified instructors. See directions on the Minnowbrook registration form for submitting the Graduate Credit Registration form, along with two separate payments: 1) the basic workshop fee and 2) the tuition amount.

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 and return it with your deposit ($75 for one workshop; $150 for two) by June 5, 2017 to:

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

Download Registration Form


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.”