Teaching Portfolio

 

  • Employment
  • Teaching Statement
  • Course List
  • Proposals
  • Sample Assignments
Associate Professor Georgia College & State University
2013 - present
semester system, 4/4 load
Assistant Professor Georgia College & State University
2008 - 2013
semester system, 4/3 load (course release for graduate student coordination)
Visiting Assistant Professor
Grand Valley State University
2006 - 2008
semester system, 4/4 load
Visiting Assistant Professor
University of Louisville
2003 - 2006
semester system, 4/3 load (course release for research)
Graduate Teaching Associate The Ohio State University
1997 - 2003
quarter system, 1/1/1 load (instructor of record for all courses)

My primary goal in teaching is to create an encounter between student and literature, between student and world, between student and idea. I help my students open themselves up to literature, to build a habit of reading that engages in active dialogue with the ideas and the possibilities of mind that the work affords. In order for them to understand what the text is saying and thus formulate their response, they must have the tools to analyze the work and interpret its meaning. These tools include formal and thematic examination, making connections among works, and, most importantly, articulating and composing their own written responses to the work at hand.

 

The first step I take with my students is simply the practice of reading, and reading actively. In composition and critical theory classes, I generally assign two essays per class. How are students to write about ideas if they don't read about ideas; how are students to learn literary theory if they don't actually read primary texts in the field? In literature classes, I typically assign a book per week or week and a half—a novel, a book of poetry, a play. How are students to learn an author's world view by reading excerpts? I use discussion boards in which students post article summaries or literature responses before class; and then I ask them to informally present their ideas at the start of class. The responses not only compel students to become comfortable with the basics of the plot but also encourage them to analyze the work on their own and thereby broach issues for class discussion. The public forum obliges them to think deeply, critically, and responsibly about their response; and the written aspect allays the anxieties of those students uncomfortable with speaking in class, not to mention that it gives those anxious students a tangible document to refer to during class discussion.

 

My in-class teaching style employs group activities and class discussion in order to exemplify my dialogic approach to reading literature. I generally start a session in a survey course with a short lecture on the period and then ask my students to respond to an essay or two depicting the basic tenets of the period. When I teach a book over the course of two or three meetings, I devote the first day to initial student response like emotion and taste and understanding of the book's plot and style; on subsequent days, discussion moves to critical evaluation of literary theme and authorial world view, aesthetics and literary movement. The first day encourages students of all abilities to participate while the second day gives the exemplary undergraduates and the graduate students a space to engage the work on their own terms. If a text is particularly difficult or over brimming with ideas, I will create an in class group activity to break it down into small, meaningful parts that students can understand on their own so we as a class can put the text back together as a thematic whole on the next day of discussion. Another benefit of in class activities for undergraduate/graduate split level courses is that graduate students can be put in groups with each other and have time to discuss the work with other graduate students. Formal analysis leads to thematic discussion of the work.

 

The initial forays into analysis afforded by discussion board responses, in class activities, and class discussion set the stage for independent thinking in formal papers. In regular composition courses, I often assign essays that promote rigorous analysis about cultural issues discussed in class; I teach Honors composition as a great ideas course. After students practice arguing their own ideas, I add another element to the mix: research. In lower division courses, I assign group annotated bibliography assignments that require both website and presentation components in order to put into responsible practice the habits of analysis and interpretation taught in the course. Groups read a work of literature, research it, and teach it to the class. Annotated bibliographies encourage students to practice reading and evaluating critical sources; and they lead to a final paper, which I emphasize should foreground students ideas and use the research as support. After my students complete such a project with the help of their peers, I find that they are much better able to enter into a longer critical project independently. I encourage my students to pick a topic or author they still have questions about and would like to think more about; they can even compare and contrast it with a work outside the class reading list.

 

Making connections among texts constitutes the final step of my students' dialogue with literature. My final exams require students to compare and contrast the world views of the works authors regarding particular themes. My favorite exam question challenges my students to determine the thematic arc that runs through a preponderance of the works discussed. This encourages the students to think about and summarize the course for themselves. More importantly, in the setting of the final exam, it allows them to punctuate a conversation begun with and about literature at the beginning of the term. For each of my students, my courses commence with the simple notion of active reading and conclude with a dialogue between the self and a work of literature. My professorial philosophy is to teach my students a rigorous method of self- and literary inquiry.

Course Sites Syllabi Assignments
English 1101 English Composition I
composition course, essay oriented
Fall 2008 Fall 2008
Fall 2009 Fall 2009
Fall 2009 (Honors) Fall 2009 (Honors)
Maymester 2010 Maymester 2010
Fall 2010 (Honors) Fall 2010 (Honors)
Fall 2011 (Honors) Fall 2011 (Honors)
Fall 2012 (Honors) Fall 2012 (Honors)
English 1102 English Composition II
composition course, literature oriented
Spring 2010 Spring 2010
Spring 2011 Spring 2011
Spring 2012 Spring 2012
Fall 2013 (Honors) Fall 2013 (Honors)
English 2110 World Literature
world literature course
Spring 2013 Spring 2013
Spring 2014 Spring 2014
English 2200 Writing about Literature
gateway course for English majors
Fall 2008 Fall 2008
Spring 2009 Spring 2009
English 3900 Critical Approaches to Literature
theory survey course
Spring 2010 Spring 2010
Spring 2011 Spring 2011
Spring 2012 Spring 2012
Spring 2013 Spring 2013
English 4110/5110 Literary Criticism
theory specific course
Spring 2009 Spring 2009
Fall 2010 Fall 2010
Fall 2013 Fall 2013
English 4440/5440 Modern Drama
genre course
Spring 2010 Spring 2010
Fall 2011 Fall 2011
English 4446/5446 Modern Poetry
genre course
Spring 2011 Spring 2011
English 4665/5665 American Literature from 1920 to the Present
period course
Fall 2010 Fall 2010
Spring 2012 Spring 2012
Fall 2012 Fall 2012
Spring 2013 Spring 2013
Spring 2014 Spring 2014
English 4850/5850 Special Topics: Single Author
single author course
Fall 2011
Don DeLillo
Fall 2011
English 4950/5950 Special Topics
special topics course

Fall 2012
Film
Fall 2012
English 4970 Thesis
Capstone project
   
English 4980 Study Abroad
Capstone project
   
English 6685 Graduate Seminar in Critical Approaches to Literature
graduate course
Fall 2009
Postmodern Novel
 
English 6690 Variable Topics
graduate course
Spring 2014
Postmodern American Poetry
 
English 6970 Thesis
M.A. thesis
   
English 6971 MFA Thesis
M.F.A. thesis
   
Georgia College First Year 1000 Critical Thinking
first-year seminar
Fall 2013
SciFi and Philosophy
Fall 2013
 
English 205 Literatures in English
introduction to literature course
Fall 2006
obsessive love
Fall 2006
Winter 2007
obsessive love
Winter 2007
Fall 2007
postmodern detective fiction
Fall 2007
English 225 American Literature I: to 1860
survey course
Winter 2007 Winter 2007
English 226 American Literature II: from 1860
survey course
Fall 2006 Fall 2006
Winter 2007 Winter 2007
Fall 2007 Fall 2007
English 335 Literature of American Minorities
minority literature course
Fall 2006
coming of age
Fall 2006
Winter 2008
coming of age
Winter 2008
English 386 Literary Responses to Death and Dying
theme course
Winter 2007 Winter 2007
English 399 Independent Studies
independent studies course

 

 
Liberal Studies 310 Creativity
liberal studies course
Winter 2008 Winter 2008
Liberal Studies 314 Life Journey
liberal studies course
Fall 2007 Fall 2007
English 101 Introduction to College Writing
composition course
Fall 2005
American myths
Fall 2005
English 102 Intermediate College Writing
composition course, research oriented
Spring 2004
pop culture
Spring 2004
Spring 2005
pop culture
Spring 2005
Spring 2006
pop culture
Spring 2006
English 310 Writing about Literature
gateway course for English majors
Fall 2003
dreams
Fall 2003
Fall 2004
coming of age
Fall 2004
Spring 2005
existentialism
Spring 2005
English 311 American Literature I
survey course
Fall 2003 Fall 2003
Fall 2005 Fall 2005
English 312 American Literature II
survey course
Fall 2003 Fall 2003
Fall 2004 Fall 2004
Spring 2006 Spring 2006
English 319 American Literature from 1830 to 1865
period course
Fall 2004 Fall 2004
English 322 American Literature from 1960 to Present
period course
Spring 2004 Spring 2004
English 382 Contemporary Poetry in Engish
period and genre course
Fall 2005 Fall 2005
English 491 Interpretive Theory, The New Criticism to the Present
capstone theory course for English majors
Spring 2004 Spring 2004
Spring 2005 Spring 2005
Fall 2005 Fall 2005
Spring 2006 Spring 2006
English 501/502 Independent Study
Honors thesis

 

 
English 110 First-Year English Composition
first-year composition course
Autumn 1997 Autumn 1997
Winter 1998 Winter 1998
Spring 1998 Spring 1998
Summer 1998 Summer 1998
Summer 2000 Summer 2000
English 260 Introduction to Poetry
genre course
Autumn 2001  
Winter 2002  
Autumn 2002  
English 261 Introduction to Fiction
genre course
Spring 2000
identity crises
Spring 2000
Summer 2001
fiction and reality
Summer 2001
Winter 2003
postmodern identity quests
Winter 2003
Spring 2003
repression
Spring 2003
English 263 Introduction to Film
genre course
Spring 2002
psychosis
Spring 2002
English 291 U.S. Literature: 1865 to Present
second course in two-course American literature survey sequence
Winter 2001 Winter 2001
English 367 The American Experience
second-level, research-oriented composition course for upperclassmen
Autumn 1998
culture wars
Autumn 1998
Winter 1999
culture wars
Winter 1999
Spring 1999
culture wars
Spring 1999
Autumn 1999
women writers
Autumn 1999
Winter 2000
women writers
Winter 2000
Autumn 2000
male psychosis
Autumn 2000
Spring 2001
family drama
Spring 2001
Undergraduate Courses British Literature II Survey Course
second course in two-course British literature survey sequence
Post-Postmodernism?
period and genre course
Bret Easton Ellis
single author course
Graduate Courses Twentieth-Century Poetry
poetry course
Existential Psychoanalysis
theory course
Degree Program Literature Major
core curriculum and major requirements
Teaching Positions Composition
tenure-line position in composition
Film and New Media
tenure-line position in film and new media
Papers English 322 American Literature from 1960 to the Present (UofL, Spring 2004)
English 1102 English Composition I (Honors, GCSU, Fall 2009)
Liberal Studies 310 Creativity (GVSU, Winter 2008)
Exams English 226 American Literature II: from 1860 (GVSU, Fall 2007)
English 491 Interpretive Theory, The New Criticism to the Present (UofL, Spring 2005)
English 4440 Modern Drama (GCSU, Spring 2010)
Group Projects English 310 Writing about Literature (UofL, Fall 2004)
English 335 Literature of American Minorities (GVSU, Fall 2006)
English 2200 Writing about Literature (GCSU, Spring 2009)
Discussion Boards English 319 American Literature from 1830 to 1865 (UofL, Fall 2004)
English 322 American Literature from 1960 to the Present (UofL, Spring 2004)
English 3900 Critical Approaches to Literature (GCSU, Spring 2010)
Peer Response English 205 Literatures in English (GVSU, Winter 2007)
English 310 Writing about Literature (UofL, Fall 2004)
English 1101 English Composition (GCSU, Maymester 2010)
Informal and Journal Writing English 260 Introduction to Poetry (OSU, Fall 2002)
English 310 Writing about Literature (UofL, Fall 2003)
English 4110/5110 Literary Criticism (GCSU, Spring 2009)
Soundtracks English 4110 Literary Criticism (GCSU, Fall 2010)
Liberal Studies 314 Life Journey (GVSU, Fall 2007)
Study Questions English 226 American Literature II: from 1860 (GVSU, Fall 2006)
English 263 Introduction to Film (OSU, Spring 2002)
English 4110/5110 Literary Criticism (GCSU, Fall 2010)
In Class Group Activities English 205 Literatures in English (GVSU, Winter 2007)
English 319 American Literature from 1830 to 1865 (UofL, Fall 2004)
English 1101H English Composition I (GCSU, Fall 2009)