Welcome back to the 255! We are quickly approaching the last few faculty spotlights in our Meet the Division series. This week we wanted to feature the Director of Academic Writing at MMC. She is a vital member of the community and shapes much of the curriculum that stretches beyond the HUMSOC division.
MEET DIANA EPELBAUM
In addition to being the Director of Academic Writing, Professor Epelbaum teaches introductory and advanced writing courses offered for all students at MMC. This semester, Dr. Epelbaum teaches a Writ 101 course that explores “writing about writing” linked with a NYC Seminar, and an AIP course entitled “Race and Place in Natural Histories of the Americas.” Her research interests include Writing and Rhetoric Studies, Early American Literature, and History of Science. Her current book project Empire and Ecology: Gender and Place in Women’s Natural Histories of the Americas, 1688-1808 explores 17th and 18th century women naturalists who disrupted imperial modes of knowledge production and offered alternate visions of the Americas. The New York Times awarded Professor Epelbaum the “Teachers Who Make a Difference Award,” for her excellence in teaching.
- What is your favorite course/subject to teach here at Marymount? Why does this course interest you the most?
- I love teaching writing. In these courses, we spend a lot of time on reflection and introspection (and I do, too). We explore our educational journeys, individual writing habits, practices, blocks, preconceptions, emotions, and processes, and work to transform ourselves as writers, readers, and thinkers.
- What pedagogical approaches do you use when teaching? Why do you believe that this method is the most effective in engaging students?
- I use a lot of metacognition in my courses. This means everything is transparent–why and how I ask students to complete certain tasks, and why and how these tasks might transfer to other situations, both academic and personal. Metacognition creates awareness around our processes and liberates us to make interdisciplinary connections.
- Why did you choose your individual career and/or field of study?
- I think this career chose me! From the time I was a kid, everyone told me I would teach, and once I taught my first high school class, I never wanted to do anything else! As a literature teacher, I always gave a lot of class time to writing, but when I went for my doctorate, I realized that writing was a whole field of study, and I’ve been teaching writing ever since. I learn so much from my students, and every year is different.
- What is your favorite activity to do when you are not teaching?
- I love to hike, camp, garden, do anything outdoorsy. I love to travel, and I’m really into travel photography. Attaching a few travel shots here!
- Do you own any pets? If so, how many? If not, why?
- I have a ten year-old mutt named Frannie, adopted from Miami-Dade Animal Shelter. She is my constant companion. Here’s a pic!
- What is advice would you give to Marymount students in today’s uncertain and rapidly evolving world?
- The most important advice I’d give to MMC students is to keep challenging yourself to make connections, to think associatively rather than linearly. We are not in a linear world, and many career paths are no longer linear journeys. The more connections you actively make among your classes, and among your classes and personal and professional contexts, the more successful you’ll be at thinking outside the box and creatively approaching the work you ultimately choose.
Thanks to Professor Epelbaum for sharing with us these wonderful pictures and responses. We look forward to bringing you more stories from our HUMSOC fam later this week! As always, a friendly reminder to be kind, stay safe, and write more.