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Phone: 831.479.6350
Office Hours: As of March 16 I do not have campus office hours due to college closure.

I am happy to schedule individual Zoom and/or phone conversations with students. Please email or Canvas message me to set up a time.

Email: chchaffi@cabrillo.edu


Online English 2-01, 2-02, and 2-35
Office hours in Canvas Mondays and Wednesdays 9:00-10:00 pm.
Location: 458B Aptos (450 Bldg)

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

***************************Course Offerings Spring 2020 (January 27 - May 21)

English 2-11 Composition and Critical Thinking with English 300-11 (interactive academic writing lab): Aptos campus Room 801 9:30-12:00 MW

Deepen your critical thinking with a dive into rhetorical tools, including rhetorical appeals, metaphor, and styles of argumentation. You will read several contemporary journalistic articles, some groundbreaking literary essays, and a book of autobiographical history to practice skills of analysis, critical thinking, evaluation, and creation of compelling interpretative arguments.

This non-credit interactive writing lab allows you to further your academic writing skills and confidence. Together we focus on sentence clarity and cohesive and sensical paragraphs that flow to make a whole organized essay. Boost your grades and your confidence as you edit papers for clarity, organize and deepen your ideas to engage a reader, and expand your word power and academic vocabulary.

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


English 2 Composition and Critical Thinking Online

Spring 2020: three sections (2-01; 2-02; and, 2-35) fully online in Canvas. January 27 to May 20. All sections currently waitlisted; write to instructor for updates.

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)


*************** Past & Future Course Offerings

ENGL 1AH Honors College Composition (Fall Semester only)

Emphasizes the expository essay and research paper; readings serve as models and topics for discussion. Students write a minimum of 8,000 words, focusing on clarity and accuracy. Prerequisite: ENGL 100 and ENGL 100L or ENGL 115 or ESL 100; Honors Standing. Acceptance into the Honors Transfer Program is required to register for this course.


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.


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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