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WBE
Dr. Coretta Pittman
Assistant Professor of English

When Dr. Coretta Pittman came to Baylor in fall 2003, she brought with her a desire to provide students a perspective on composition and rhetoric by exploring current trends in music and challenging them to think critically.

She believes that Baylor's promise to students is epitomized by its commitment to religious freedom and expression, a tendency toward building relationships, and a forum for discussion. To this end, she has made considerable contributions to the English department and the Baylor community. "It's a small major, which allows us to have much more one-on-one interaction with our students. I know my professional writing students quite well," says Pittman.

Pittman mentors students who are entering professional and creative writing careers. "Employers want people who can think independently, intellectually, and critically," she says. Music and contemporary issues are used as catalysts for analyzing the importance of language in society as well as developing writing skills in her classes. Rap, jazz, oratory, and other forms of rhetoric have found their way into roundtable discussions with students.

"I like to show [my students] in terms of comparisons, ‘What is this scholar saying about writing' and then ‘How is this rapper either enhancing this debate or making the debate more sophisticated,'" says Pittman. Topics centered around her favorite rapper, Common, address socially conscious issues, while she also enjoys discussing jazz musician John Coltrane.

Pittman uses what she calls a multimodal text approach to engage students through visual and aural text and speaks to them in a language they know well. "Our students come to class with cell phones, laptops, MP3 players, podcasts ™ so if we're not talking their language, I think a lot of times they become disengaged."

Attracted to Baylor's Vision 2012, Pittman saw the University's English Department as a place where she "could really grow and develop as an academic and an individual." She obtained her master's at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee and a PhD in composition and rhetoric from Wayne State University in Michigan.

The experiences she had in college have shaped her philosophy of teaching, and her goals for the classroom reflect that. In helping her students choose an academic career, she hopes to give the type of mentorship she longed for when pursuing her degrees. "Fundamentally, I want my students to learn to be critical thinkers," she says.