Professor Jason Schneider is the newest tenure-track member of the WRD faculty. Having taught at DePaul as a Visiting Assistant Professor since 2012, he moved into his current position of Assistant Professor in the department during fall quarter. With an MA in applied linguistics and a PhD in rhetoric from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Schneider felt immediately at home in the WRD program.
Today, Schneider wears many hats here at DePaul. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in teaching English as a Second Language and coordinates the graduate certificate program in TESOL. Over the summer, he oversaw the creation of WRD 111, a new course for incoming international students. Last quarter, he taught WRD 378, his first service-learning course, which gave students the opportunity to apply what they learned in class to work with community organizations serving immigrants and refugees. Schneider is also the faculty advisor for the DePaul Polish Student Alliance.
Schneider’s research interests are equally diverse, spanning from ESL teaching to the rhetoric of immigration policies to the rhetorics of Bruce Springsteen. He describes his array of interests as both a blessing and a curse. It’s exciting, he says, “but it makes it hard to focus on just one thing.”
One common thread that connects the research? A focus on what’s practical:
Theory is important, but I’m especially interested in what’s happening on the ground. I like hearing from students themselves and then thinking, how can we use this in the classroom?
We can see this bridging of theoretical knowledge and practical experience in a longitudinal study he is currently conducting with international students at DePaul. Since fall quarter, Schneider has been interviewing first-year international students about their backgrounds and their unique paths to DePaul. He hopes to learn about international students’ attitudes toward U.S. education and how these views change over their next four years as students.
Schneider believes this research will offer insight into how classes for new international students—particularly writing classes, such as those he teaches—can best support these students throughout their college careers.
- Professor Schneider presents a TESOL award at last year’s WRD awards party.
As a teacher, Schneider thinks it’s important to respond to where students are and build on what they’re already passionate about. And it’s clear that students respond to Schneider’s approach: he has been nominated for one of the college’s coveted Excellence in Teaching Awards.
One of the projects that’s interesting to him and to students? The rhetorical dimensions of pop music.
Students learn best when they’re already excited about something. Popular culture is important and students know it’s important.
As part of WRD week, Schneider served as advisor for a presentation about Beyoncé and rhetoric. Some day he hopes to teach a class about rhetoric in different genres of music. One thing is certain: Between his own curiosity and the inspiration of his students, Schneider’s innovative methods are having an impact on DePaul’s WRD community.