Teaching

Some brief descriptions of current and recent courses:

Magazine Writing. We work in this class at Albion College towards producing voice-rich, trustworthy journalistic prose, pieces that blend fact and a personal tone, stories that manifest personality on the page. We study craft essays and other foundational texts; analyze published articles; do in-class writing exercises; and workshop five assignments: a product or research news short, a review, an advice or how-to article, a humor column or personal essay, and a feature story.

Multimedia Journalism. Students in this class at Albion College develop core reporting, newswriting, photo, video, and blogging skills. Assignments include coverage of local government meetings; coverage of a cultural or sporting event; an opinion piece; and a couple of features. Modes include all-text, text with embedded audio, video with accompanying text, and sound-slide shows. We also cover media law, ethics, and Associated Press style.

Professional Writing. In several iterations of the class, students in small groups have produced banner ads and landing pages or web commercials for locally owned businesses in Albion. The work and ad placement on the student newspaper’s site are provided free of charge. Groups in Fall 2015 contributed to an online buy-local holiday gift guide, Bring It Home, Brits! (which my Fall 2017 class will expand). The course centers as well around an individual project: a personal essay that keys off The New York Times‘s Corner Office series of interviews with business and nonprofit leaders.

Composition. At Albion College,  I have used major works of graphic nonfiction (aka nonfiction graphic novels) as springboards for developing writing skills. We write about themes, contexts, and how visual and verbal levels combine to make meaning on the page. The required readings have included Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics; selections from Ivan Brunetti’s Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories, Vol. 1.; French Milk, by Lucy Knisley; Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale, by Belle Yang; The Complete Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi; The Complete Maus, by Art Spiegelman; A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, by Josh Neufeld; Safe Area Goražde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995, by Joe Sacco; Epileptic, by David B.; and Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel. This course grew out of one I taught from 2007-11 at Kalamazoo College, a First Year Seminar titled WARNING: GRAPHIC LITERATURE. In that seminar, we analyzed duotextural works representing five genres: fiction, memoir, biography, journalism, and the essay.

At Western Michigan University, in 2006, I taught first-year composition as a para-journalism and creative nonfiction course with a service-learning component. Centered on the theme of professional careers, our main projects included a reflective essay, a research report, a profile and sidebar, and an oral presentation to fourth-graders at a local arts magnet school.

Creative Writing. I divided my Introduction to Creative Writing workshops at Kalamazoo College equally between poetry and fiction. I also led a Creative Nonfiction workshop at K-College. From 2002-06 at Western Michigan University I taught Introduction to Creative Writing and several sections of Advanced Fiction. I also taught Advanced Fiction as a leave replacement for Danit Brown at Albion College in Fall 2011.

Editing and Publishing. My editing and publishing classes at Western Michigan were pre-professional, projects-oriented seminars. The first offering, in 2004, was for undergrads, the second, in 2006, for grads and undergrads. We studied the book industry, magazines that feature literary fiction, and small literary journals, and focused on staff roles and responsibilities.

Literature. I’ve structured literature classes with a tripartite focus on theme, contexts, and craft. At Kalamazoo College, in addition to First Year Seminars and creative writing, I taught courses including Reading the World: Identities: Graphic Memoir & Essay; Reading Autobiography; Reading the Novel; Reading Short Fiction; Reading Poetry; Contemporary Fiction; Modernism and Postmodernism: U.S. Literature 
1914 – Present; US Ethnic Literature: “Model Minorityhood”; Topics in 20th Century Literature: Jewish Diaspora; and The Victorians: British Literature 1832-1900. At WMU I taught introductory Shakespeare and Literature and Cultures of the US.

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