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English Faculty

Lynda Behan

I'm curious about how stuff works and fits together and why it is the way it is. Naturally since I teach English, I'm curious about language--its melodies and rhythms, its mysteries and rules.  Every quarter, my students here at Marion, who are full of diverse interests and engaging language, inspire me with their curiosity. Visit Lynda's website.


Catherine C. Braun (Katie)

In the musical Mame, the title character sings a song that goes, "Open a new window. Open a new door...Before you find you're a dull fellow, punching the same clock. Walking the same tightrope as everyone on the block." This is becoming my motto in life, as well as in teaching. I want my students to open new doors and windows (pardon the pun), try new ways of composing, and experiment as much as possible. Visit Katie's website.

Sara Crosby

One of the things that I love about being a professor of American literature is that I get to spend my life investigating mysteries. For example: Why, in Toni Morrison's Sula, does the title character senselessly murder a little boy? Or, where does American character come from—from the Puritan John Winthrop, the swashbuckler John Smith, or the cowboy John Wayne? In my teaching, I introduce students to these kinds of questions and ask them to uncover and solve their own mysteries using creative role-playing and analysis of textual "clues."

Marcia Dickson

George Bernard Shaw once said "I try not to let my schooling interfere with my education." In my teaching, I try to remember that students want to learn more than facts about literature and formulas for writing. The goal of teaching should be helping students learn about the past and present in a meaningful and (Dare I say it?) practical manner. Visit Marcia's website.

Peter Dully

Peter Dully

I get paid to listen to smart students talk about smart things, to read and to write. This seems to me an almost embarrassingly lucky thing. I try never to lose sight of my good fortune, and I try to treat my professional life with the respect and gratitude it deserves. I believe that language makes reality: love and space and conflict and curiosity are all made of language. This understanding comes with a responsibility that I help as many people as I can to expand and explore their relationship with language. As Wittgenstein pointed out: "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." Visit Pete's website.

Peter Dully

Alyssa Francis

At the beginning of each of my composition classes, I ask students if they like to write. Many of them respond by saying something like, “I like to write…if it’s something I’m interested in.” I can’t agree more with this comment, but even the luckiest students will have to write academic papers about things that they’re not already passionate about. That’s why one of my goals as a writing instructor is to help students learn how to become interested in the topics they’re asked to write about. If you take one of my classes, be prepared to have a rollicking good time discussing texts, experiences, research, and ideas that relate to the paper prompts, because the more you explore a topic, the better you’ll write about it.

Stuart Lishan

The classroom should be a field of play in which creative and intellectual work can
thrive --together. When that happens long-lasting learning occurs. I teach classes in creative writing (poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction), in which your sweet words get much tough love and attention, poetry (including song lyrics), and, less frequently, the literature of the fantastic. I invite you to take any one of them, and to come to class suited up and ready to work, and play. Break a line! Visit Stuart's website.

Mike Lohre

Teaching for me is an opportunity to interact with my fellow human beings and create a positive learning environment by being a good facilitator in my work. I strive each quarter to share my love of language, art and ideas--but a goal that is even more important to me is that students find and share the best of themselves. Visit Mike's website.

Ben McCorkle

In spite of the time I spend preparing for class each time I teach, I think the best kind of learning is the kind that happens by accident. Call it serendipity, chance, the random intersection of lines of thought on an intellectual plane... I really only create the occasion and structure to bring these elements together. It's the students who add that ineffable spark of life so indispensible to the classroom experience, and a lot of teachers I know would agree with me. Visit Ben's website.

Sue Oakes

Amy Tibbals

English isn't just something that we do for a few hours of the week to get a grade--we read, research, write, discuss, and debate as a way to connect with other people and the world around us. That's why I incorporate traditional and less-traditional methods of learning in my courses. A student might wonder, "How does volunteering at a food pantry have anything to do with learning how to write a better academic paper?" When students have an authentic reason for writing or reading or debating, it makes what they do matter beyond the four walls of their classroom. By using our community as a "live text," often, students learn much more than simply how to write a better paper, and to me, that's real learning.

Cassandra Parente

Cassie Parente

Kenneth Burke once wrote, “a way of seeing is a way of not seeing.” Taking a cue from Burke, within my classrooms I ask students to view their ideas, their writing, and the diverse texts they encounter—traditional, visual, and virtual—from a different perspective. By doing so in discussions and assignments, we begin to learn from each other and not only revise our papers, but also our ideas. In particular, I ask students to see composing as more than a means of regurgitating ideas, but as a critical process that enables individuals to become active, persuasive, creative, and thoughtful members of multiple communities.

Visit Cassie's website.

Ellen Seusy

Nathan Wallace