The jobs I have had that don’t appear on my resume likely say more about where I’ve been and who I am than do all the other details printed there in those neat, straight columns. I have in these past twenty years framed houses, nailed up siding, worked in a factory, buffed floors and cleaned windows, finished hardwood, welded whatever, driven a forklift (into the side of truck), operated a backhoe, installed sprinkler systems, trained to be a vacuum salesperson, taught skiing, coached football, and, finally, worked as a stay-at-home dad. Except for maybe the last item on the list, I wasn’t terribly well suited for any of these occupations. And yet, it seems to me that all of these experiences seem to find their way into the classes I teach and the research I do.
My hobbies include running, skiing, backpacking, buying books I think I should read because I’m an English professor, fishing, grilling, grilling students, and—oddly enough—using dashes.
I can juggle, triple jump (though not far), and, on a good day, I can guess within a few dollars how much a grocery cart full of stuff will cost. I can also back up a trailer, change a diaper in the dark, and, depending on whom you ask, teach (again, these are hidden talents).
My dad (I know it’s trite, but he would be your hero too if you met him), some of my students (you know who you are), my dog (you didn’t), Walter Payton, and my wife (she continues to hang out with me even though she knows with certainty—after more than eleven years of marriage—that the above list of talents is exhaustive and that I am addicted to nearly all of my hobbies).
I hope to keep doing what I’m doing. I hope to keep working on a daily (and nightly) basis here at Augsburg with this uncommon cross section of extraordinary (and extraordinarily diverse) students, faculty, and staff. I hope that each morning when I arrive at my office door I feel as fortunate as I did the first time I pulled it open, peered past my new/old desk and looked out the window and onto the quad—I knew then in that moment that I had arrived right where I wanted to be. I hope to help my students take steps toward achieving their own dreams, toward arriving at their respective window on the quad.
I received my B.A. from Carroll College in Helena, Montana, my M.A. in American Studies at Notre Dame (Go Irish!), and my Ph.D. in English from Marquette University. I have a secondary education teaching licensure from Carroll and, prior to returning to the ivy tower to earn my doctorate, I taught history and English at my high school alma mater for three years.
- ENV 100 Environmental Connections
- ENL 101 Developmental Writing
- ENL 111 Effective Writing
- HON 111 Honors Liberating Letters
- ENL 240 Introduction to Literature
- ENL 270 Topics: Literature and the Landscape
- ENL 270 Topics: Sports and American Society
- ENL 270 Topics: Nature and Literature in Norway (a study-abroad course in Norway, 2013)
- Fate of the Earth 101: Consumption of Food, Fuel, and Media in Contemporary Culture
- ENL 282 Writing Scotland in the Spring (a study-abroad course in Scotland, 2010)
- ENL 350 American Literature before 1920
- ENL 351 19th Century American Literature
- ENL 352 American Literature 1900-1945
- ENL 353 American Literature from 1945-Present
- ENL 490 Keystone Course: Ecocriticism—Advanced Studies in Theory and Practice
- ESE 350 Methods: Literature and Reading
- ENL 396 Internship in Teaching Writing
- HON 450 Augsburg Review: Research Thesis Requirement
- HON 480 The Emerging Scholar/A Sand County Almanac Annotation Project
- 2010-2011 Fulbright Scholar, Norway
- 2009: Thanks to my son, who submitted a wonderful and wonderfully misleading essay about his dad, I was selected out of 23,000 for the Minnesota Father of the Year Award and named to the Minnesota Father of the Year Hall of Fame. (How cool is that?!)
- 2000: John D. McCabe Excellence in Teaching Award; presented by the Department of English at Marquette University
- 2000: Preparing Future Faculty Teaching Excellence Award; presented by the Preparing Future Faculty Program and the Marquette Graduate Alumni Board
Teaching the Novel Across the Curriculum: A Handbook for Educators, editor and contributor. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, December 2007; “Theories and (Legal) Practice for Teachers-in-Training.”
Teaching the Novel across the Curriculum: A Handbook for Educators. Ed. Colin Irvine. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007: 325-330.
30-40 Years West of Here: Essays from an Other New American West. Under review, University of Oklahoma Press.
“Why 30 Rock Rocks and The Office Needs Some Work: The Role of Time/Space in
Contemporary Sitcoms,” a chapter in Time in Television Narrative: Exploring Temporality in 21st Century Programming. University Press of Mississippi, August 2012.
“My Time as an Insider, Outsider, Advocate, Adjunct,” Academic Apartheid: Waging the Adjunct War, ed. Sylvia M. DeSantis. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011.
“Pitcher This: An Academic Dad’s Award-Winning Attempt to be in Two Places at One Time,” Papa, PhD: Essays on Fatherhood by Men in the Academy, ed. Mary Ruth Marotte, Paige Martin Reynolds, and Ralph James Savarese. Rutgers University Press, Dec. 2010.
“It’s fine I guess: Problems with Peer Review and What These Indicate About the Status of the Workshop and How Well These Work in College Composition Courses,” Does the Writing Workshop Still Work, ed. Dianne Donnelly. Multilingual Matters, May 2010.
“Using Digitized Archives to Introduce Students to the Benefits of Reading Deeply into Literary Texts and their Contexts,” Technology in the Literature Class: Assignments and Materials, ed. Timothy Hetland. Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, Spring 2013.
“Taking on ‘Best Practices’: A Novel Response to Managerialism in Higher Education,” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture, 12.3, September 2012.
“Teaching American Studies to Electricians, Health Care Workers, Paramedics, Plumbers, and other High School Students in Norway: A Fulbright Roving Scholar Gets Grounded.”
Nordic Journal of Modern Language Methodologies, September 2012.
“A Land-Based Approach to Postcolonial, Post-Modern Novels,” Journal of Philosophy Literary Studies, Spring 2010.
“Recruitment and Retention of Majors in the Humanities and Fine Arts: The Bait and Switch in Higher Education,” The International Journal of the Humanities. 5.1 (2007): 23-30.
“Remembering How to Do What You Haven’t Yet Done: Using Personal His-stories and Her-stories in English Education Courses,” Midwest Modern Language Association Journal. 3.1 (2006): 154-165.
“Wallace Stegner’s Novelization of the American West and Western: A Critical Move from the Epic Old West to a Novel New One,” Journal of the West. 45.3 (2006): 97-104.
“The Popular Western as Epic: A Bakhtinian Understanding of Time in the American West[ern],” Journal of the West. 45.1 (2006): 74-81.
“Thinking Outside the Book: Comparing Life and Lit,” Academic Exchange Quarterly. 9.1 (2005): 115-119.
“A Novel Understanding of Ecology,” winner of the Editor’s Choice Award, Academic Exchange Quarterly. 7.4 (2003): 7-11.
“Teaching Inside the Box: Incorporating Narrative Frame into the Language Arts Curriculum,” English Education, under review.
“John Stewart and Stephen Colbert as Jesters in King Harald’s Court: Relying on Heavily Humor when Teaching English at Home and Abroad,” English Journal, under review.
Representative Notes, Encyclopedia Entries, Reviews
“Washington Irving” master entry for The Encyclopedia of the Environment in American Literature.
“A Sand County Almanac” master entry for The Encyclopedia of the Environment in American Literature.
“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” master entry for The Encyclopedia of the Environment in American Literature.
American Theorists of the Novel: Henry James, Lionel Trilling, Wayne C. Booth, by Peter Rawlings, reviewed for the Midwest Modern Language Association Journal. 40.2 (2007): 135-138.
“The Virginian,” The Student’s Companion to American Literary Characters, published by Bruccoli Clark Layman, Inc. / Manly Inc. (2007).
“Pudd’nhead Wilson,” The Student’s Companion to American Literary Characters, edited by M.J. Bruccoli and R. Layman, Inc. / Manly Inc. (2007).
“John Muir,” Encyclopedia of American Literature, Volume III, edited by M.J. Bruccoli and R. Layman and published by Manly Inc. (2007).
“Thomas Driscoll,” The Student’s Companion to American Literary Characters, edited by M.J. Bruccoli and R. Layman, Inc. / Manly Inc. (2007).
A Master Author entry on “The Novel, 1895-1945,” Encyclopedia of American Literature, Volume III, edited by M.J. Bruccoli and R. Layman and published by Manly Inc. (2007).
Professing and Pedagogy: Learning the Teaching of English, reviewed for Pedagogy. 6.1 (2006): 149-154.
Double review: Mark Twain and the American West and “Hatching Ruin”: and Mark Twain’s Road to Bankruptcy, reviewed for the Midwest Modern Language Association Journal. 38.2 (2005).
Whose Goals, Whose Aspirations: Learning to Teach Underprepared Writers across the Curriculum, reviewed for The Learning Assistance Review: The Journal of the National College Learning Center Association 9.2 (2004): 57-62.
Conferences and Invited Presentations
March 15-17, 2012. “Teaching Inside the Box: Using Frame Theory to Enable Students to Engage Complex Narratives.” International Conference on Narrative.
July 5, 2011 St. Olaf’s REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) Program; Talk with the students in the Environmental Science Research about Undergraduate Research and the Leopold Papers Project.
May 24-26, 2011. ‘“Is this Ironic?’ He asked.’ How Humor Illustrates Levels of Meaning Making.” Nordic Association of American Studies Bi-annual Conference. Oslo, Norway.
January 13, 2011. “Teaching Like a Mountain: The Aldo Leopold Papers Project.”
Invited by the Philosophical Society at the University of Graz, Department of Philosophy.
January 12, 2011. “Hollywood’s Response to Climate Change: Starring Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Al Gore.” A guest lecture given as part of lecture series sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Americas, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
November 9, 2010. “Teaching the (mis)Understood Classic Texts”; “America’s Storied Relationship to the Land: A Wild Way of Teaching Environmental Literature.” Teacher Workshop; Narvik VGS Professional Day; Narvik, Norway.
October 28, 2010. “Teaching Inside the Box: Approaching American Literature Through Narrative Theory and Popular Culture.” Faglagsmøte Sandnes VGS (Sandnes Secondary School Professional Day); Sandnes, Norway.
October 21, 2010. “Hollywood’s Response to Climate Change: Starring Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Al Gore.” Vestfhold Fyllkesommune (Vestfhold School District Professional Conference), Sandefjord, Norway. Invited Presentation to Secondary Teachers and Area Administrators.
September 28, 2010. “Red State, Blue State: Is America in the Middle of a Culture War?” Expanding Horizons, University of Oslo Annual Conference Hosted by the Norwegian Student Association of American Studies.
September 23-26, 2010. “The Politics of Time/Space in American Television: Narratological Analysis of Contemporary Sitcoms,” American Studies Association of Norway, Norway and English Philology Department, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania; Joint Conference: Kaunas, September 23 – 26. Cultures, Identities, and Languages in North-American Contexts.
June 25, 2009. “World-Making, Frame Theory, and Novelistic Approaches to Teaching High School History,” a presentation given at the Workshop for Teachers of Advanced Placement History, Augsburg College.
May 1, 2009. “Of Vocations and Keystones,” a presentation outlining the connections between and among environmental literature, ethics, education, and the concept of vocation and given to the Augsburg College Board of Regents.
January 19, 2009. “Faculty Roles and Responsibilities at Liberal Arts Colleges,” delivered at the Preparing Future Faculty Retreat at The University of Minnesota.
February 25-March 1, 2009: Association for the Study of Environmental History Annual Conference; presented a paper titled “The Aldo Leopold Papers Project: A Model and Method for Teaching and Tracking Ecological Thinking in the Humanities.”
November 13-16, 2008: 50th Annual Midwest Modern Language Convention; presented a paper titled “A Present that Precedes the Past: How Post-colonialists Chinua Achebe and Ngugui Wa Thiong’o’s Narratives Resolve Aesthetic and Ecological Problems of the Modern Period.”
March 1-March 5, 2008: The International Conference on Narrative sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin and The Society for the Study of Literature; Chair of panel titled “Shop Talk: Narratology.”
July 8-10, 2008: The Novel and Its Borders. Aberdeen University, Aberdeen, Scotland; presented a paper titled “The Novel as a Healthy Source of Instability in Higher Education: Or, Bakhtin Meets ‘Best Practices.”’
February 24-26, 2007: International Symposium on New Direction in the Humanities: Columbia University; presented a paper titled “Recruitment and Retention of Majors in the Humanities and Fine Arts.”
March 2005: Northeast Modern Language Association Conference; presented a paper titled, “A Novel Approach to Ecocriticism.”
November 2005: Midwest Modern Language Association Conference; Chair, Special Topics Double Session Titled, “Teaching the Novel as Genre: Best Practices for Cultivating Critical Thinking and Careful Analysis.”
November 2005: Midwest Modern Language Association Conference; presented a paper titled, “Using Personal Narrative to Teach Pre-Service Teachers to Teach Reading and Writing.”
September 2004: Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Conference; presented a paper titled, “Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose: A Meta-Historical, Meta-Literary Work of Fiction.”
September 2003: Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Conference; presented a paper titled, “You Had to Be There: The Benefits of Allowing Humor to Happen in the Literary Classroom.”