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Phone: 831.479.6350
Email: chchaffi@cabrillo.edu
Office Hours: Online Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays from 8:00-9:00 p.m. Please email your questions or requests for individual Zoom or phone sessions.

Zoom lectures and discussions: TBA.
Location: 458B Aptos (Fall 2020 online in Canvas and Zoom meetings)

Distance EducationEnglishFaculty SenateHonors Transfer Program


Dr. Cheryl Chaffin
English Faculty

Cheryl Chaffin
Professor Chaffin at Cabrillo's VAPA campus

BA, MFA Writing, Ph.D. Humanities
With Cabrillo College since 2002

Student Empowerment through Teaching & Knowledge-Building

Cheryl teaches English composition, rhetoric, literature, and creative writing courses at transfer level.

Cheryl is passionate about teaching, sharing knowledge and building writing, critical thinking, and research skills with students. She works with students to grow their reader and writer identities for personal, academic, and professional success.

Cheryl has travelled to Poland on fellowship with Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellows. As a result of that trip, she wrote and published After Poland: A Memoir Because of Primo Levi (Common Ground Press). She is currently conducting research for a second book (both personal and scholarly) on Italian history and politics in the twentieth century.


California Acceleration Project (CAP) through BSSOT Grant
Reading Apprenticeship, Campus Coach & Literacy Leadership
Communications Committee, English Department

*************************** Fall 2020 Class Schedule. All courses fully online in Canvas for Fall 2020. There will be Zoom meetings for all my courses every 2-3 weeks.

ENGL 1AH-1 Honors College Composition

Students explore the writing process through Research and Documentation; polish writing skills through intensive critical reading and response, create annotated bibliographies and proposals as integral to research thinking and writing, and closely engage the drafting and revising processes. The goal of the class is to improve ability to focus on a single subject as a way to develop questions and ideas through close detail, narrative, exemplification, and various kinds of reasoning.

As such, this course prepares students for college-level research and self-directed study and writing. We will inquire: what topics are writers researching? How do they approach research and writing? What methods and styles to they adopt? In this effort, we will read a full- length book, When the Line Becomes a River, exploring how writer Francisco Cantú creates questions, engages with others as a means of knowledge acquisition, and writes stories (his own and others’) to detail life around the border between the United States and Mexico. We will read contemporary essays by contemporary writers—on subjects such as climate change, nuclear waste, labor, race, migration, and human rights. As we enter into writing mind, we create engaged thinking and reading spaces that inspire your own research projects. Students will complete a twenty-page research paper as a final course project.

Corequisite: LIBR 10. (1.0 unit; online course; digital and information literacy focus). Required co-enrollment in Library 10H-1. Online in Canvas. 1.0 unit. Library 10 Instructor: Gina Chestnutt, Reference & Research Librarian.


English 1B-3

Our class will explore the various genres of literature (poetry, drama, short and long fiction) as we consider a range of topics essential to the human experience. We will read works by authors writing in the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. You will engage close readings of many poems, two plays, several short stories, and a novel to improve your literary analysis and, more importantly, your understanding of the world through the art of literature.


English 2-01 & 2-02 (two sections)

This course is on the writer as thinker. That means both the published writers we will read as well as each student as a burgeoning writer, thinker, critic! In the first part of the course we will study forms of argumentation and rhetorical analysis. The readings for the rhetorical section of the course are provided as (electronic) PDF documents in the Canvas classroom. Please download or view the documents online. I’ve also given you a choice of two articles from which to choose for your first rhetorical analysis paper.

Second, we examine autobiographical essays, focusing on how the writer uses narrative as a mode of critical thinking. We’ll observe the linkages between creative and critical thinking, and analyze how writers build convincing, thoughtful, rational, even poetic (metaphorical), arguments in their work. Third, students will read Italian Jewish writer Primo Levi’s autobiographical Survival in Auschwitz. In his account, authored in 1946 and successfully published in 1958, the author examines what it means to be human given the existence of and his experience in the World War II German death and labor camps of the Auschwitz-Birkenau and Monowitz camp compounds. As the course concludes, student writers will complete a final thematic paper.

Required text: Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz (Touchstone 1996 ed.) Rent or buy. ($8-18)


ENGL 12/14E Autobiography & Memoir Writing Workshop "The Writer's Momentum" (Fall Semester only)

Join this group of multi-level writers to create new writing and develop writing in progress from life material.

• Bring energy and confidence to your writing.
• Learn how to make space for writing practice.
• Engage in weekly writing exercises.
• Develop a writing project.
• Explore memoirs, essays, poems, & digital and photographic stories.
• Discover the forms autobiographical writing has taken over centuries.
• Find the voice & style that fits your life experience now.
• Create, share, & workshop your writing in supportive community.

Register for English 12E or 14E. If you are a new or newish writer, try English 12E. If you have been writing for a while or want to work on a specific writing project, register for English 14E. Each course is 3.0 units and provides transfer credit to CSU and UC.



********************Past Courses

English 1A OL & English 1A with 101A College Composition Course Focus

This transfer level writing course focuses on how writers use stories and essays to reflect on, explore, and critique life experiences and issues from personal, cultural, social, and political viewpoints. We examine the ways writers, in exploring the material of their lives and the environments and conditions they encounter, use language to convey stories, arguments, and original ideas. You will read a number of shorter essays in this course, as well as your choice of one book-length work, either Wild by Cheryl Strayed (2013) or Between the World and Me (2015). In response to your reading, you will author three papers and a final research paper. You will also post a research presentation for fellow students. Study hard, organize, focus, and self-motivate and you will successfully complete this writing course by our final paper due date.(My teaching makes college academic skills as transparent as possible, and we work together in the classroom to develop and mature these skills as you pursue your educational and professional goals). I teach this course in classroom, online, and hybrid formats, depending on the semester.



English 12B/14B (Poetry Workshop) course focus.

12B: For those new to the poetry workshop course at Cabrillo.

Teaches techniques of poetry writing using in-class discussion of writing by students and published poets. Students write, revise, and edit a minimum of 6,000 words, which may include short and long poems, and reviews and analyses of poems and poetry readings. We will be steeped in the craft of writing various poetry forms, experimenting with rhyme and meter, and playing with the depth and breadth of free verse. Students bring new and revised poems each week to share in small group and class workshop. We conclude our semester with a reading and celebration of our creative development and production!

14B: For those students who have taken 12B and desire to continue development of poems and as a poet:

Develops poetic skills and knowledge in a workshop format through writing, discussion, and appropriate reading. Students write, revise, and edit a minimum of 6,000 words, which may include short and long poems, and reviews and analyses of poems and poetry readings. May focus on a special theme.

Transfer Credit: Transfers to CSU; UC, with limits: ENGL 12ABCEF maxi- mum credit - 6 units per college.



Porter Gulch Review, Editorial Staff
English 1B: Composition & Literature

In this course, you will be spending the first third of the semester reading submissions from instructors, students, and writers in the wider Santa Cruz/Watsonville community that have been submitted to the Porter Gulch Review. In the second third we will be editing the final selections, formatting them for the publisher, and choosing the artwork. In the final third we will be critiquing books for the online version of PGR, and writing essays about your favorite pieces as well as interviewing the authors for the online version. In a culminating final project, you will create a play, short story, memoir fragment, and/or series of poems.

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