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.


2016 Workshops

ENG-600: Writing Place: Pedagogy for the Present (Nordquist)

Our work as educators is governed by projections of the future. Built from stores of measured and makeshift materials, from experiences, memories, rumors, assumptions, outcomes, standards, metrics, and policies, these projections are used to locate our students (and us) on trajectories of progress. Accordingly, our assignments anticipate and our assessments measure readiness for the next unit, grade level, the first year of college, an academic discipline, the global marketplace. The pressure to prepare students for these presumably self-evident futures can make it difficult to consider how students’ own projections and histories shape their needs, desires, perceptions, and practices in the present.

Place-conscious education presents a way to negotiate the relentless future orientation of standardized schooling. In this workshop, we will explore models of place-conscious education that start from understandings of our writing classes as places-in-progress, places continually produced out of their connections to other places over time. We’ll consider how flows of people, practices, materials, ideas, and resources connect our classrooms and schools to other places-in-the-making: neighborhoods, communities, districts, colleges, states, and nations. Adapting place-conscious methods to fit our own institutional contexts and student populations, we will develop activities and genre-focused assignments that encourage students to map these relations, creating a series of linked assignments that foster richer understandings of home, school and community for our students and ourselves.


ENG-600: So Old, It’s New: Mediating Classical Hollywood through Contemporary Popular Culture (Scheibel)

Introducing students to Classical Hollywood proves difficult when that period is conceived as the ash heap of film history, a place to leave behind outdated styles and conventions, reactionary values, and no longer accessible subjects. Students may be surprised to learn that much of the popular culture they consume today is in fact a continuation of thematic, narrative, and generic traditions from the past. Mad Men looks back to The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, a melodrama about postwar organization society and the suburban family. Soon to be rebooted in 2017, the cult phenomenon Twin Peaks investigates the murder of Laura Palmer, a case with a precedent in the dreamy film noir Laura. And who is curmudgeonly comedian Larry David but a W.C. Fields for the Bernie Sanders generation? This workshop will consider various pedagogical approaches to teaching Classical Hollywood cinema using contemporary popular culture as a point of entry, from connections between individual texts, to refashioned celebrity images, to the concept of a media author itself as a commercialized version of the old studio auteur. We will learn not how to make Classical Hollywood relevant again, but to show students how they already participate in its ongoing legacy.

Independent Writers Workshop (noncredit offering) 

Are you working on a memoir, a collection of personal or nonfiction essays, or other book project and looking for the perfect environment in which to engage in reflection and write over the summer?  Are you seeking feedback on your writing from a group of like-minded independent writers and peers?  Then the Minnowbrook Independent Writers workshop is the place for you!  Come join us for a week of writing, rewriting, reading circles, and drafting critiques with a group of dedicated, supportive, and passionate writers all working on various independent projects.


2016 Faculty

An assistant professor of Writing and Rhetoric at Syracuse University, Brice Nordquist’s scholarship interrogates the intersections of composition, literacy, and mobility studies, investigating specifically the relations among language and literacy practices across media, educational and occupational institutions, and cultural and geopolitical borders. His current book project, Literacy and Mobility: Patterns of Movement at the Nexus of High School and College (forthcoming with Routledge), follows eleven students from different tracks of English in a “failing” public high school through their first years at research universities, colleges, and work. In the book he draws upon a range of data types collected while participating in students’ patterns of movement in and across scenes of literacy, and uses this data to investigate the ways in which students draw upon multiple literacies and linguistic resources to accommodate, resist, and transform conventions of discourse, genre, and discipline. The study illustrates the lateral and recursive natures of students’ movements and the mutually constitutive relations among literacy events and practices across space and time. It also demonstrates the ways in which agency emerges from the circulations of literacies, languages, objects, ideas and identities that constitute places-in-process. His research is motived, in large part, by a pursuit of effective writing instruction. He believes that to actively contribute to the conversations and contexts they care about, students must come to see themselves as agents continually reproducing and remaking themselves and their communities with multiple literacies and language resources. And so this question of how students begin to see themselves as agents, as makers of the communities and identities that constitute the educational, occupational, civic, and social organizations in which they participate, is what drives his scholarship and teaching.


Will Scheibel is Assistant Professor of Film & Screen Studies in the Department of English at Syracuse University. He is the author and co-editor, respectively, of two books on director Nicholas Ray: American Stranger(SUNY Press, forthcoming) and Lonely Places, Dangerous Ground (SUNY Press, 2014). Currently, he is writing a book on actress Gene Tierney. As an American film scholar, Prof. Scheibel primarily works in the studio and post-World War II periods of Hollywood history. His research and teaching focus on cases when film authorship, stardom and performance, and genre frame particular interactions between the aesthetics of classical cinema and the culture of mid-twentieth century modernity. Before joining the SU faculty in 2015, he attended film studies programs at Indiana University (Ph.D.), Northern Illinois University (M.A.), and The University of Iowa (B.A.).



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



2016 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 6, 2016 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.”