Like many teachers of writing, I believe that all writing is creative writing, an activity that engages the imagination, stirs the passions, exercises critical thinking, fosters new knowledge, and deepens understanding. Having studied, written in, and taught numerous and varied writing genres, I have come to appreciate how important it is that writers experience each of these subjective, intellectual processes as they write in any genre.

I also believe that writing is a social act, not only because it is a means of communicating but also because of the social and intellectual processes involved. For me, writing is a process that allows for discovery, collaboration, critical reflection, and change.

Although the wide variety of writing courses I have taught might entail considerable differences in the content that is taught in those courses, the major beliefs I hold about writing provide for a great deal of pedagogical consistency in all my classroom teaching. One of the primary ways the content of one type of writing course differs from another is, of course, in terms of the specific writing genres students are expected to learn and practice.

To each genre, I believe it is important to engage students in critically analyzing distinctive features of a genre, an analysis that involves considering the features in relation to the kinds of writing contexts in which a genre is likely to occur. I find it crucial to students’ development as writers that they learn the conventions of the genre in which they are working and how the conventions function within the writing contexts in which the genre is usually found. Understanding the different facets that each genre possesses helps students realize that writing happens in more than just the academic setting, and that communication through the written word is essential to their lives, both personally and in their vocations.

My students strive to master this process through classroom interaction, peer workshop groups, individual instructor/student conferences, and time for reflection before revision. Each student discovers his or her own philosophy of effective communication, based on his or her critical interpretation of different genres presented in class, and is empowered to write because of the collaborative emphasis of each class. Students learn to write not to impress the instructor, but for an audience, utilizing the feedback of students to understand what is working well in their writing, and what could be improved through revision.

I feel my strength in teaching in this manner is my understanding of several genres. Because my background includes extensive professional experience — from journalism to marketing, from creative writing to online writing — I offer a unique ability to move between genres and teach students to do the same. My background has allowed me to successfully teach several different writing courses, from freshman composition to technical and professional writing to creative writing in several genres, as well as to advise student journalists and assist with creative theses.