How to Get an A with Professor Cori Gabbard

Professor Gabbard is a lecturer in the Writing Program of NYU Shanghai who once served as a visiting assistant professor at Lyon College of England.

The records of the interviews are not direct quotes from the professors, but summaries made by faculties at On Century Avenue based on the notes we took down during the interview.

Yiru Zhou: What do you think this course can give students?
Cori Lynn Gabbard: PoH gives the students insight into the human condition; relationships with other living creatures; characters from literature, film and poetry; and what it means to be a global citizen. In WAI, students will learn writing skills based on reading well and analyzing well. They practice writing in a rational and logical way. For me, the broader picture is that everyone will go out one day and put forward some kind of argument that’s meant to inspire its audience to institute some kind of change in the world, and it’s imperative, given the potential consequences of that argument, that it be based upon a logical interpretation of legitimate sources.


Yiru Zhou: What is the theme of your course?
Cori Lynn Gabbard: For my PoH course, the topic is art history, and we discuss different theoretical approaches to art, how we look at the world through art and why, etc. WAI focuses on non-fiction, which is one big difference between WAI and POH. In the spring, my WAI sections will investigate some ideas that my students can debate and talk about, such as consumerism, and discuss how they can be related to everyday practices. Also, we will look into some contemporary events, and see how they are described in different news outlets.


Yiru Zhou: What do you think is good writing?
Cori Lynn Gabbard: When it comes to analytical essays, they should be organized from the beginning to the end in a logical way. By integrating and comparing different materials, students can get a general idea of the whole problem they are examining, and what they should do next is to interpret the materials. Whether they interpret well really matters.


Yiru Zhou: How much time do you think your students should spend per week?
Cori Lynn Gabbard: I think they should spend at least 6 hours on a single essay draft, depending on how quickly they write. Spending an entire weekend on a draft would be unreasonable.


Yiru Zhou: What kind of advice do you want to tell the students?
Cori Lynn Gabbard: There is no right answer for writing, and the way people write does vary. Everyone has his/her own writing process.

(Cover Photo: NYU Shanghai)

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