The essay/creative nonfiction
Ethics and writing
I believe that students best learn to write in a classroom setting by forgetting that classroom setting. Certainly, the classroom community is relevant, but I urge my students to think beyond the classroom, to think of the skills they learn as transferable, that is, applicable in any writing situation they encounter, both inside the university and (especially) beyond. Ultimately, I want my students to understand that every act of writing—whether a poem, a news story, a tweet, a research paper, a biology lab report, a design project description, or a personal essay—inhabits a different set of rhetorical circumstances, some inherent, some invented. Moreover, every act of writing carries responsibility with consequences outside the experience of composing.
I also emphasize critical reading and thinking in my courses. Good writers are good thinkers, and good thinkers are people who read widely and are engaged in the world. For me, that means not only being tapped into what is going on in the world but also tapped into the technology that makes the world so much more accessible to us.
Director of The Writing Center
Member of National Council of Teachers of English, Associated Writing Programs, Jesuit Council on Rhetoric and Composition, Jesuit College Media Advisors, Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS), and Phi Beta Kappa
Follow Dr. Spinner on Twitter (@essaydoctor)