Research and Creative Interests: Escapism in Contemporary American Fiction Writing Short Stories
Teaching Interests: Composition, Contemporary American Short Fiction, Creative Writing
Teaching Approach: I firmly believe that everyone can learn to write, regardless of previous experiences or assessments. It's just a matter of having the right tools and willingness to put in meaningful practice. In class, I always try to vary among brief lecture, group work, interactive reading, and other multimedia methods, to accommodate different learning styles. Additionally, I allot significant time to in class to the writing process, from generating ideas for the assignment to writing through multiple drafts.
Why did you become an English professor? I was attracted to English because, when I was in other classes, disciplines, I found that I didn't just miss the reading and writing, but I also truly felt a void like some integral part of me was missing, the ability to explore and escape into other worlds, be punched in the gut by a poem or called into some social action by an essay.
From there, it was actually my father who saw in me some potential for teaching that I did not, so I first taught English in China, where I found that I had an aptitude for conveying information and connecting with students in a positive way. My father also, at an even younger age, gave me the old Confucian advice, essentially that if I loved what I did for a career that I would never work another day. I really enjoyed teaching, so the stars seemed to be aligned, since I found a joy, reason for being that was unavailable elsewhere.
What do you expect of students? I expect students to come prepared, whether that means having read the given material or actively participating in any particular topic we're covering. The idea is that students be willing to put in the work it takes to become more effective writers, thinkers, communicators.
Outside of being a professor, what do you do for fun and/or relaxation? I am a voracious reader, mostly literary fiction, but I have no shame in "guilty" reads, such as George R.R. Martin and crime fiction. I do not write nearly as prolifically as I read; however, that pursuit is a goal.
I also find pleasure in bird/nature watching and hiking local trails. I play guitar and enjoy many types of music: everything from old R&B, bee bop jazz to postrock and outlaw country. I love a well thought out video game, too: first person shooter, RPG, doesn't matter, as long as the game is inventive, innovative, unique to the genre.
These are just a few. I feel like I've blathered long enough.
What's something about you that might surprise your students? That I have a life outside of UTC and care more than they could know about them truly realizing that they can make a difference, that apathy, cynicism, though initially fun and potentially expected, is no excuse for inaction.