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Dr. Kristen Getchell - English/Writing
Kristen Getchell has a passion for writing, and she has shared that passion with college students of all ages. But she has an extra special place in her heart for her first-year students.
"Teaching first-year writing is right in my wheelhouse, it's the reason I'm in this profession," beams Professor Getchell. "I think part of it is because I get to read about their experiences before they get too far into their college careers. In that first year, I get to form a connection with them by reading their writing - usually something personal - so I get to learn a little bit about who they really are and what they care about."
An assistant professor of English and coordinator of the First-Year Writing Program, she realizes that not all of her students share her enthusiasm for reading and writing, so she tries to keep the content of the assignments current and interesting.
"I try to meet students half way. I am not just going to choose the driest material out there and make them read it. For example, before the film came out in theaters, we read 'World War Z.' The students thought it was really interesting to read something that was going to become a movie starring Brad Pitt. We've also done things like peer reviews with students at other colleges, sharing written pieces and constructive criticism on topics like 9/11 and the Boston Marathon Bombings."
Professor Getchell also knows that despite assigning the most engaging material, not all of her students will leave her class at the end of the semester becoming prolific writers.
"I tell them on the first day, 'I know I'm not going to get all of you to love writing like I do, but I am going to help you become better writers. And it's going to make a lot of things much easier for you in your other courses and in life in general.'"
"You look at surveys of the Fortune 500 companies and the top skills that they want their employees to have are writing and oral communication skills. They want people who can write. You are judged by your writing whether you like it or not - whether it's an email, resume, cover letter - writing is important and being able to read and read critically is just as important."
As much as Professor Getchell puts everything she has into her classes, it's what she receives from her students which motivates and entertains her on a daily basis.
"My students are hilarious! I don't think I would enjoy teaching as much if I was teaching K-12. I have a really good time joking around with my students. They have a well-developed sense of humor and we love to banter back and forth using pop-culture references. But they also understand that they are here for a reason."
Because she started teaching at Curry in the fall of 2012, Professor Getchell will soon have the opportunity to watch her inaugural batch of first-year students and advisees graduate, a day she is looking forward to.
"Oh, it's going to be great; I will be so excited when I see them walk across the stage at Commencement. And it's going to be interesting to follow what they do and where they go in life after Curry."
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