Associate Professor of English
Director, Creative Writing program
Office location: Neville Hall 327
Office phone: 864.833.8366
BA, English, Francis Marion College
MA, English, Clemson University
MFA, Creative Writing (Popular Fiction), University of Southern Maine
Joined PC in 2001
Faculty advisor, Figs & Thistles
Courses taught: Freshman Composition (including Introduction to the Fairy Tale and Introduction to the Short Story), Creative Writing (Poetry, Short Fiction, Screenwriting, Children’s Books, Advanced Creative Writing), and English Education (Adolescent Literature and Teaching of Composition)
Professional interests: Creative Writing; Fairy Tales, Folklore, and Mythology; Magic Realism & Fantasy; Film; Gender Studies; Comic Books & Graphic Novels; Pop Culture
When I began teaching full-time in 1994, I had no idea where I would end up, or if teaching was really what I was called to do. The first half of my teaching career was peripatetic—four schools in six years, such being the life of an itinerant academic—and while I enjoyed the work, the sense of being perpetually in transition was not what I wanted. Then, in 2001, I came to Presbyterian College, a great place which I’m happy to call home.
My favorite part of teaching at PC is working individually with students. I feel that the one-on-one conference is where I can be most effective in talking about writing, whether critical or creative, and in those individual conferences I can give my full attention to each student.
“…the ideal teacher would not so much influence others as discover the uniqueness of each writer and thereupon respond to and develop that…” ~Donald Justice, AWP Newsletter, September 1980
In his memoir, Stan Persky talks about the French literary theorist Maurice Blanchot’s concept of teaching as an “infinite attention to the other.” Persky’s response to Blanchot was to define learning as “the willingness to change your life,” which I think is not only true but necessary for both the student and the teacher. These ideas have stuck with me since I read them in 1998, as I think they offer a summation of my own teaching philosophy. To give infinite attention to the other must also include a willingness to change—as a teacher I must be willing to not only change my students but be changed by them. And I am, every day.