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Last modified: Friday, April 13, 2012

Christopher Basgier

The Lieber Memorial Teaching Associate Award

Doctoral student in English
Department of English
College of Arts and Sciences
Indiana University Bloomington
B.A., University of Virginia, 2004
M.A., University of Alabama, 2006

Chris Basgier

Christopher Basgier

Print-Quality Photo

"As an instructor, Chris is energetic, knowledgeable, accessible and highly invested in teaching and the intellectual development of his students," says Sara Shapiro, who took Christopher Basgier's Technology, Identity and Power in American Culture course as a freshman. "To put it simply, Chris loves his job, and his passion and love of teaching are contagious in the classroom."Basgier has been known to ask his students to use Facebook and Second Life to gain new understanding about representations of identity. He has served as the coordinator for <emma>, an online writing environment and course management system that capitalizes on the capabilities of new media to help students collaboratively analyze their writing. In these and many other endeavors, Basgier aptly weaves together a love for language, technology and teaching.

He describes his duty succinctly: "I believe my job is to teach students that engaging in an academic community entails more than simply reading, listening passively to lectures and regurgitating the right answers. Instead, they should be able to read, think and write critically."

To that end, Basgier helps his students identify significant patterns of details and interpret the meanings of those patterns and, while writing, to engage with the language, examples and claims of others to advance original arguments.

His success is visible in his students' end-of-semester evaluations.

"At first, I was not sure how much I would enjoy this course, but it ended up being one of my most challenging and favorite classes. The instructor was exceptional; he kept us on track, but we had a good time too. I feel like I learned so much," one writes, while another praises the "innovative presentation of material." Yet another gushes, "Chris is the man!"

Basgier's considerable skills extend to curriculum development. He helped design a toolkit of useful terms and activities for a first-year writing course to help students both analyze and produce visual documents. He then trained new instructors in using the curriculum.

"Chris has had a huge impact on the direction and quality of our undergraduate writing program and on the whole department's use of visual and digital instructional resources," says IU Bloomington English professor Christine Farris. "What makes Chris not only a good teacher, but a teacher of teachers, has been his uncanny ability to think through the connection between expanding students' critical awareness of visual texts and their acquisition of reading and writing skills more generally: how we get students to work closely and critically with details and what they suggest, and how we get students to develop strong claims in their writing that can be accounted for and tested in light of evidence."

Basgier's expertise in the teaching of such visual literacies is evident in his dissertation work, which investigates how visual texts are incorporated into teaching and learning, and his research interest areas of rhetoric and composition, visual and multimodal rhetorics, and technology and pedagogy. He co-edited the third edition of the anthology "Readings for Analytical Writing," and co-wrote an accompanying instructor's manual that includes synopses of readings and concepts as well as suggested essay and film pairings. In addition, he started a reading group for IU's English department graduate students and faculty focused on rhetoric and composition theory and practice.

Despite a packed schedule, he still makes it a priority to interact personally with students.

"My respect for Chris as an individual and instructor has continued to grow over the months and years since I enrolled in his course, and I continue to consult with him about my writing and enlist his advice regarding new academic opportunities as they emerge," Shapiro says. "In three years, there has rarely been an application essay I have submitted without first seeking Chris' input, and on each occasion he has been generous with his time and expertise in providing useful feedback."