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The College of Arts Sciences

Jayme Kilburn wins award for “Sex Acts” writing assignments

By: Julian Robison,  Department of Performing and Media Arts
November 10, 2017

The John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines awarded Jayme Kilburn an honorable mention for the James F. Slevin Assignment Sequence Prize.  

The Slevin Prize honors excellent assignment sequences used in first-year writing seminars. Kilburn, a PhD student in the Department of Performing and Media Arts (PMA), won honorable mention for her assignments in the “Sex Acts” course she taught in the spring 2017 semester.

Kilburn developed “Sex Acts: American Drama 1950–Present” from her research on performances focusing on identity and sexuality. The course explores the relationship between depictions of gender and sexuality in theatre and our understanding of identity, power, and community.

After teaching the class in the fall of 2016, Kilburn realized her students struggled with their analytical research papers. Kilburn kept this in mind when creating the assignments for the spring, which built off of each other and developed the analytical tools students needed to complete the longer essay. One of the assignments was a short paper on A Streetcar Named Desire, which gave students practice making and supporting arguments.

Students worked on several creative assignments in addition to the analytical writing. Two former students’ plays appeared in this year’s 10-Minute Play Festival, and Kilburn is pleased that her class had a direct impact on their involvement with the PMA department.

“I genuinely want my students to become better writers because I think how you write is how you communicate with the world, and I want my students to be able to express themselves in a way that demands attention,” Kilburn said.

Two of Kilburn’s students previously won awards from the Knight Institute for their work in the “Sex Acts” class.

 Julian Robison '20 is a communications assistant for the Department of Performing and Media Arts.

Jayme Kilburn