I identify as mixed-race, primarily White as my paternal ancestry goes back to the Puritans (I am the 10th great-grandson of Rebecca Nurse of the Salem witch trials) but I also identify as Chinese American and Native American. My maternal grandfather was a “Paper Son,” a Chinese-American who came through Angel Island during the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act. My maternal grandmother was born and raised on the Kaw Nation reservation in Oklahoma. As such, I am dedicated to creating more equitable systems throughout higher education.
Since 1996, I have been teaching English at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington, where I am also the Writing Program Administrator (WPA). I teach first-year writing and technical writing mostly, but I have taught a variety of literature courses as well as introductory philosophy and creative writing.
As WPA, I seek to work with Whatcom’s English faculty to create a dynamic and cohesive writing program that is responsive to the needs of our highly diverse student body and the changing environment. That means we strive to make our first-year writing course and our second-year composition courses open and accessible to the new students coming in to Whatcom, to students coming from our International program, from developmental and basic education courses, and from other colleges and universities.
And we seek to make our courses lead seamlessly into our students’ future academic and career paths, whether that’s transferring to Western Washington University, the University of Washington, or to other highly competitive colleges and universities, or whether that’s pursuing a professional-technical program, such as our highly acclaimed nursing program, or our new bachelor of applied science (BAS) programs in Information Technology/Cybersecurity and Business Management.
My research focuses on program development and social justice, in particular how programs can be developed inclusively to serve both the the majority of two-year college students, among whom are large numbers of systemically non-dominant students, and the majority of college faculty, who teach off the tenure track. I’ve published numerous articles in Teaching English in the Two-Year College, including a feature article in the 2018 special issue on academic freedom titled “The Two-Year College Writing Program and Academic Freedom: Labor, Scholarship, and Compassion,” and have chapters in a number of edited anthologies, including Sixteen Teachers Teaching: Two-Year College Perspectives, edited by Patrick Sullivan (University Press Colorado 2020), Contingency, Exploitation, and Solidarity: Labor and Action in English Composition (2017), edited by Seth Kahn, William B. Lalicker, and Amy Lynch-Biniek (co-authored with Amanda Hoppe and Desiree Holter) and A Critical Look at Institutional Mission: A Guide for Writing Program Administrators, edited by Joe Janangelo (2016 Parlor Press).
I’ve also co-authored two TYCA White Papers, on placement reform and on developmental education reform. Currently, I’m part of the TYCA Workload Task Force studying workload and effectiveness at two-year colleges across the country. I’ve co-authored two working papers (#1 and #8) as well as the quantitative report “The Profession of Teaching English in the Two-Year College. I am currently with other members of the task force on a comprehensive white paper.
My textbook, Active Voices: The Language of College and Composition, from Fountainhead Press, was published in spring 2019 and seeks to demystify the the college experience for first-writing students by providing concise explanations of the most important topics, such as “What the academy is” and “What counts as evidence.” The preface and the introduction for students, as well as four new chapters that support anti-racist pedagogy, is available at Fountainhead’s site.
Currently, I’m working to promote anti-racist writing ecologies in several ways. First, I’m on the leadership team of a statewide initiative to create anti-racist writing curriculum for all two-year colleges in Washington. As part of that group, I helped secure a $300,000 grant for statewide anti-racist curriculum development. This project developed out of the “(de)Composting ENGL&101” statewide group I helped lead the past 5 years seeking to promote collaboration in developing effective first-year writing at all 34 state two-year community and technical colleges in Washington.