Capstone/Dissertation Title

Writers as teachers: a balancing act





Degree Name



The purpose of this dissertation is to examine how established writers who also teach keep a balance in their lives between creativity and scholarship. The project explores through narrative interviews how they are able to maintain a sense of structure in their daily lives while producing creatively and maintaining a professional persona in the classroom. The central question informing the research is the following: How do teaching writers balance scholarship (teaching) and creativity? The study focuses on eight teaching writers--four women and four men ranging in ages from mid-forties to late seventies, with the median age at 59. The number of years the eight participants have collectively taught is over 250 the number of years they have collectively written far exceeds that amount. Case studies were generated from an interpretation of the following data: 1) transcripts of in-depth interviews with each teaching writer 2) literature written by that writer 3) syllabi samples from each teaching writer and/or 4) recommendations from students regarding these teaching writers. The in-depth interviews asked the participants to talk about their histories as writers and teachers, to review the select set of questions I proposed to them via email in a face-to-face interview with me, and to review the transcripts of the interview for clarification if needed. Interpretation of the data focuses on thematic content, interpersonal dynamics (i.e., between interviewer and interviewee), and narrative structure.

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