Hello! If you are a student enrolled in one of my courses or considering enrolling, here you can get some idea of the kind of professor I am. First, you should know that I respect and admire you for doing the hard work that it takes to go to school and improve your life. Like you, I also began my academic journey at a community college: College of the Mainland, just south of Houston. From my experience, both as a student and as an instructor, I have come to recognize the community college as a valuable gift of democracy and equality, a public institution that transforms lives and lifts people up. I know it did that for me. But it's not easy; students often face a myriad of obstacles to be here. I am inspired by the strength and determination I see in so many of you every day, and I have faith in what you can accomplish. No matter what your reading and writing skills are, I know that you have valuable ideas to express and contributions to make. I want you to find my classes intellectually challenging, fun, and rewarding. I want you to see how literature and poetry can expand our lives and teach us to know the world, and ourselves, in a fuller way. And I want you to learn that writing papers doesn't require some secret magic formula or amazing writing skills. Instead, writing is mostly about knowing some straightforward logical and rhetorical moves that with practice and hard work you can master. Above all, I want you to learn how to learn and how to think on your own. I hope that my classes will help you realize that your voice counts, and that you have the power to truly make a difference in the world.
Link to the English Department for the master syllabi, a list of English faculty and staff, and other course information and student resources.
“You shall no longer take things at second or third hand…You shall not look through my eyes either, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.” --Walt Whitman
|Links to Useful Resources on All Things
Writing and Reading and Thinking
Daily Writing Tips
Et Plagieringseventyr (Don’t plagiarize anywhere, especially not in Norway)
Study: Reading novels makes us better thinkers
"A trio of University of Toronto scholars, led by psychologist Maja Djikic, report that people who have just read a short story have less need for what psychologists call “cognitive closure.” Compared with peers who have just read an essay, they expressed more comfort with disorder and uncertainty—attitudes that allow for both sophisticated thinking and greater creativity."
"In October, the journal Science published an extraordinary study showing that reading literary fiction can improve people's theory of mind (ToM) – their ability to understand others' mental states. David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano, both of the New School for Social Research in New York, enlisted hundreds of participants online to read examples of either non-fiction, popular fiction or literary fiction, and then to take tests measuring the accuracy of their ToM. In five experiments, they showed that reading literary fiction led to better performance on tests of both emotional and cognitive ToM compared with reading non-fiction, popular fiction or nothing at all."
| link to Student Commentary
Sample the comments students have made about my classes.