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MnWE News Winter Issue
January-February 2022
Next Conference: Zoom and Minn. Humanities Center, St. Paul, Th.-Fr., Apr. 7-8, 2022

In this issue:




4.  Equity/Diversity Literary Resources (in each issue)

5.  Free Teaching/Learning E-Newsletters (in each issue)

6.  About MnWE (in each issue)

        If you are new to our listserv, welcome! We never share your address, and you may always unsubscribe at the bottom of any email. Click here if you wish to view this or previous issues in your browser. MnWE News goes to over 2500 English and Writing faculty in Minnesota and parts of nearby states.
        If you are a long-term member of this listserv, thank you for your continuing participation. If you did not receive this newsletter directly and want to see it six times per year, join us by sending a request to the editor at 
jeweLØØ1 at umn dot edu. We suggest you give us a permanent email address.


        Have you sent your proposal, yet, for MnWE 2022? The theme is “Changing the Narrative: Empowering Stories,” which offers a wide variety of opportunities for presenting your and/or others’ stories. MnWE ’22 is Thurs.-Fri., April 7-8 on Zoom and at the Minnesota Humanities Center, right.       


        What new teaching ideas–or great old ones–can you share with others? MnWE conferences are open to all kinds of practical ideas in smart, caring discussions. You only need present, casually, for 5-6 minutes; then you help participate in discussion.
        MnWE ’22 plans to be both online and in person. The two modes will be integrated in each event at MHC and on Zoom at   


        The Minnesota Humanities Center, founded in 1971, is a nonprofit affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has many programs for educators and the general public, and it regularly hosts conferences and meetings in its beautiful classic rooms and large hall. It is located in central St. Paul in Phalen Regional Park by Lake Phalen. It is a regional beacon for equity education.

        Join us for MnWE’s highly praised events: roundtable discussions, two luncheon plenaries by experts in their fields, and our Thursday night social dinner at the Center. Proposals are due around Feb. 7. Register online anytime. But do so before the final week to receive a reduced rate. (Adjuncts and students may register at lower rates.)

Write your proposal or register at


        Why don’t more faculty learn to teach better? “[T]alk to faculty members,” says the Chronicle’s Jan. 13 Teaching newsletter, “and you quickly learn that professional development focused on becoming a better teacher, from graduate school onward, is rarely built into the job. Nor is it necessarily rewarded, come promotion time. For those on the tenure track, the message is often: Focus on your research first.”

        An irony of our times is that pandemic teaching has forced most of our colleagues to teach differently, if not always better, using online, masked, and socially-distanced formats. A second irony in Minnesota is that lower-division faculty who teach larger classes in public two-year colleges are required to devote several days per year in campus meetings to develop their teaching; however, colleagues who teach upper-division and graduate courses in four-year and graduate institutions often devote little or no time to teacher training, even though their smaller classes could allow more varied and finetuned teaching methods.                      


        Beth McMurtrie, one of Teaching’s editors, argues that many faculty throw in the towel without even considering they might improve their methodology. One big problem, she says, is “the damaging myth of the

natural teacher,...the idea that good teaching is a talent, not a skill that can be honed. In this myth, good teaching rests on a foundation of disciplinary knowledge and [natural] characteristics like charisma or compassion. Yet research shows that good teaching can be defined by a set of practices and approaches that can be learned and improved upon.” For this and other reasons, she states, “the science of teaching is often ignored. Despite decades of research, and hundreds of books and articles exploring what works, not much makes its way into the classroom.”         


        Some far-sighted university English and Writing departments have realized that training for teaching can happen during graduate school, perhaps in part because administrators like how it can be monetized. Graduate students pay to take advanced courses in such subjects as teaching composition if they plan to look for work at schools in which much of their job will be offering such courses. And experienced teachers take doctorates in education to improve their opportunities for leadership. In addition, some private colleges expect most of their faculty to develop stronger teaching and learning methods.
        Significantly, Minnesota’s public two-year college system requires new permanent faculty either to have three years of teaching experience or to take four courses in teaching methods before receiving the equivalent of tenure. And each two-year faculty member must report yearly on engagement in “professional development.”
        All such training helps. Still, though, often it does not require middle- or late-career faculty, who offer the majority of courses, to learn better skills.

        McMurtrie asks, what can your own university or college “do differently to promote more effective teaching?” In English and Writing, much faculty development is left to academic conferences, especially when it involves learning how to teach better. CCCC historically has had a strong emphasis on practical pedagogy, and MLA and MMLA gradually have increased their interest in it. NCTE and MCTE, especially for K-12, are driven by pedagogy.


        What about MnWE? It was born for this. If you read the MnWE News, you are part of a broad community in six states and beyond learning better teaching and learning. This community believes in pursuing a variety of pedagogical options to meet the evolving needs of everchanging students in a dynamic world.

        As a result, many of you are ambassadors of teaching and learning to your campuses. Improving an institution, division, or department’s opportunities for training is slow, but once new practices are rooted, they gradually can transform the culture. This happens not just in conversations with other faculty and administrators but also in whom you hire. 


        How can you help? The pandemic continues to occasion the need for mastering new media. Moreover, right now, administrators are pressed to create greater equity and inclusion. None of these latter two issues can happen very much, or very well, unless they embody better ways of teaching and learning. They don’t just appear miraculously from more advertising, scholarships, or hiring, though these can help. Significantly greater equity and inclusion require deeper, more substantial changes in how a campus views both individuals and cultures. Teaching and learning advocates both the Chronicle’s Teaching and Race on Campus newsletters point out that getting new, and more, students of color is one issue, but keeping them requires better and more focused teaching and learning.
        As a member of the MnWE community, you may be more knowledgeable than most about goals and methods that facilitate such change. And you may be able, better than you realize, to share your knowledge in faculty development and committees to keep education in our colleges and universities equitable and vital. Each of us might consider what we can do to help spread new and old forms of teaching and learning.

MinnState’s “Equity and Inclusion” info:
University of Minnesota’s “Office for Equity and Diversity” info:
Minnesota Private College Council’s “Diversity” info:
MnState’s new Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion:
University of Minnesota’s new Senior Advisor to the President for Native American Affairs:
Hamline U. and St. Olaf College’s focus on diversity:
        In her “President’s Column” in the Fall 2021 MLA Newsletter, Barbara Fuchs considers two major themes. The first is that “amid protests for racial justice and in the wake of the attack on the Capitol...we could not go back to business as usual.” She argues that MLA members must “recommit to access for all students and...redouble our advocacy for the humanities as a key pillar of democracy. Critical thinking about representation, agency, and the public good has never seemed more urgent.” This viewpoint is, of course, very timely.


        But it is in her second theme that she asks us, in particular, to focus on the current plight of PhDs. She says, “Certainly we must continue to advocate for tenure-track positions [but] the pandemic feels like a turning point.... Returning to the way things were seems unimaginable [thus we must heed] powerful calls for diversifying graduate training and promoting a broad range of career options for...PhDs....”


        She tells us that for many graduate students, the traditional road from PhD to tenure-track job simply will not happen, or at least it may be a slow drive up a steep grade with many switchbacks. New PhDs must ask themselves how much they love teaching, whether they can pursue research outside of universities, and whether jobs involving advocacy or administration interest them. Fuchs remarks that what in our profession “so long seemed like a dire landscape of [job] scarcity,” though it continues, must be reimagined as “a broader range of career outcomes...seeded across a range of nonprofit institutions and for-profit companies.”

        She does not mention one outlet of hope: the increasing number of PhDs who find tenure-line positions in community colleges, where English and Writing faculty typically teach composition courses 60-90% of the time. However, even two-year schools are seeing a glut of PhD candidates for–in these pandemic times–fewer positions.

        Other English PhDs, Fuchs says, may gladly go into nonprofit or for-profit companies. She doesn’t point out that some of them who enjoy teaching can scratch their itch by working for a post-secondary institution on weekends or evenings. 


        Fuchs’ urging of PhD candidates and degree holders to expand their vision is not just a call for change. It is equally a reflection of the profession itself. Many PhD-producing English and Writing departments have been learning to adjust how they advise their graduate students. They likely do so both for ethical reasons and for maintaining the size of their graduate programs.

        Fuchs underlines the changes involved in both of her article’s themes by quoting, at the end, from I Am Sending You the Sacred Face: playwright Heather Christian says, “Let yourself get unused to how it was. The night will wipe your memory if you let it. Let it. We will not be going back.”

4. Diversity Literary Resources
              This is a new feature as of Sept. 2021, repeated in each issue. What diversity books might you or your students read? Suggestions are welcome.


50 Top Asian American Literary Books
Time's 25 Asian-Am. Celebrate
MN Hum. Center’s BIPOC Resources

Wikipedia Asian-Amer. Lit., Writer List
2000+ Books on Asian American Lit
Graphic: 85 AAPI Novels  Angel's 60+



44 Best Black Books–
30 Top Black Literary Books
MN Black Children's Bks.–Strive Publ.
MN Hum. Center Diversity Resources

Wikipedia African-Amer. Lit., Writer List
41 Black Fiction Classics–B & N
700+ Black Books–
Black Graphic Novels and Comics


Indigenous/Native American:

50 Native American Bestseller Books
32 Native American Authors
MN Hum. Center Diversity Resources

WikipediaNative-Amer. Lit., Writer List
Minn. Hist. Society Native-Amer. Books
Indigenous Graphic Literature


Latin American:

Latin Writers’ 14 Recommended Bks.
10 Latin
MN Hum. Center Diversity Resources

WikipediaLatin LiteratureWriter List
2000+ Latin Books–
Latin Graphic Novels



25 Best Classics
40+ LGBTQIA Gay Fiction & Lit Bks.
50 Bestsellers

Wikipedia: LGBTQ General, Writer List
1000+ in Multiple Genres
LGBTQ Graphic Lit: Bestsellers  800+

Graphic Novels and Diversity

NCTE: "Diversity in Graphic Novels"
NCTE: "In Defense of Graphic Novels"
NPR: "100 Fav. Comics/Graphic Novels"

Social Justice Graphic Novels (All Ages)
Best Graphic Novels of All Time
Top 10 Literary Graphic Novels


5. Free Teaching/Learning E-Newsletters
(listed in each issue)

      Do you want to be more in touch with colleagues nationally, or seek ideas from other networks? Connect by subscribing to one of these free email newsletters. You may start or stop a subscription at any time. Go to each link below to find more about the e-newsletter and instructions for subscribing. (You won’t be subscribed by clicking on the links below.)

NEA HigherEd, National Education Association. Weekly political and labor news update:

Subscribe           Sample

Race on Campus from Chronicle of Higher Education. Weekly briefs and information:
Sample and Free Subscription

Diversity Insider
, National Education Assoc. Weekly news, essays, and advice:

          Subscribe           Sample

The Source: Updates, MLA Style Center. Weekly pedagogy and readings updates:

          Subscribe (scroll to bottom)   Sample        Other free Style Center e-letters
          Always available online, the Style Center’s
"Works Cited: A Quick Guide"

Teaching from Chronicle of Higher Education. Weekly brief advice on general methods:

          Subscribe           Samples      

Tomorrow’s Professor, Stanford University. Twice-weekly reprint of a pedagogy article:
Subscribe           Sample e-letter and online version

The Campus View, Minnesota Private Colleges (17 colleges). Monthly private college news:

          Subscribe             Past issues

6. About MnWE: Old Issues, Joining, Who We Are, Grad Credit, Unsubscribing
(repeated each issue)

More Online-Teaching Resources: See
Our Newsletters: For new and old issues,
visit MnWE News.
Forwarding/Joining: Please forward this email to other interested faculty and administrators. Your newer full-time and adjunct faculty members, graduate students, writing center tutors, and English and Writing administrators may not receive it. 

      If you are not on the listserv and would like to join it, simply send your request and email address to richard at jewell dot net. We always enjoy signing up new list members.

Who are we? “MnWE” is “Minnesota Writing and English,” an all-volunteer organization started in 2007. MnWE has a coordinating committee, a listserv, and an annual, two-day spring conference attended by 100-200 faculty. Our coordinating committee, which meets about six times per year, is composed entirely of unpaid college, university, high school, and other professional English/Writing volunteers. 

      All activities are by and for college, university, and college-in-the-high-schools English and Writing faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and related academic and literary scholars, writers, tutors, and others in the Upper Midwest.  Our purpose is to bring together these communities in Minnesota and in nearby states and provinces.

Where are we? Please visit us online at Our geographical center is Minneapolis-St. Paul. About 2700 faculty, graduate students, tutors, and related administrators see our emails. Those on our listserv receive this newsletter six times per year, along with additional conference announcements and helpful forwards. Our listserv members come from state universities, public and private two-year colleges, private colleges and universities, high schools, publishing companies, and the public universities of Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and other schools and locations in the United States, Canada, and overseas countries.
Conference: At our annual two-day conferences, our speakers highlight pedagogical concerns and are scholars and writers of national excellence from both local and national locations. Some of our presenters come from states or countries far beyond our own geographical area. The majority of our attendees and presenters are from universities and private four-year colleges; a significant minority are in two-year colleges, high schools, and other groups.
Graduate Credit: Anyone may earn one graduate credit from Southwest Minnesota State
University for attending a MnWE Conference day and writing a related research paper (up to three such credits may be earned). For questions about this course–“Eng 656: MnWE Practicum”–please contact lisa dot lucas at smsu dot edu or see

Unsubscribing: To unsubscribe from this listserv (and no longer receive the MnWE News, MnWE Conference announcements, and other forwarded announcements), please do so yourself, following directions at the very bottom of this email.  If you try unsubscribing on your own without success, then send an email to jeweLØØ1 at umn dot edu (L zero zero one) indicating (1) your unsubscribing action that didn’t work, (2) your specific email address copied from the directions at the bottom of a MnWE mailing, and (3) your request for removal.
Formatting: Each of these listserv emails usually is formatted in a relatively simple way using html. If you cannot read it, please click on the link at the top right of this email to see the newsletter on the Web

Questions: We invite you to email the editor or any coordinator on the MnWE Committee listed below. You also are always invited to attend any of our five to seven MnWE Committee meetings per year: to join the listserv, email jeweLØØ1 at umn dot edu (L zero zero one). If you’d like to attend a meeting, or join the committee for in-person meetings, Zoom attendance, or email comments from a distance, please ask Richard. In addition, you always are invited to offer suggestions to MnWE, or to volunteer your leadership for a session at the annual conference. 

Copyright: This newsletter is written primarily by MnWE News editor Richard Jewell without copyright so that anyone may quote, paraphrase, or forward any or all parts freely, unless otherwise noted. We do ask that you give credit to the MnWE News and/or; and when you use material that has been quoted or paraphrased in this newsletter from another source, please be sure to give proper credit to the original source. 

Richard Jewell, Editor

MnWE News   
Minnesota Writing and English
David Beard, UMD Advisor, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Heidi Burns, Web & Docs Coordinator, Minn. State Univ.-Mankato
Mary Ellen Daniloff-Merrill, SMSU Advisor, Southwest Minn. State Univ.
Casey DeMarais, 2022 Site Coordinator, Minn. Humanities Center
Edward Hahn, Registration Coordinator, North Hennepin College
Ryuto Hashimoto, International Co-Leader, Minn. State Univ.-Mankato
Danielle Hinrichs, Program Coordinator, Metropolitan State University
Richard Jewell, Gen. Coord. and News Ed., Inver Hills Coll. (Emeritus)
Yanmei Jiang, Equity Co-Leader, Century College
Linda O’Malley, Volunteer Coordinator, Metropolitan State University
Kerrie Patterson, Treasurer, Hennepin Technical College
Gordon Pueschner, Registration Desk Co-Coordinator, Century College
Beata Pueschner, Registration Desk Co-Coordinator, N. Hennepin Coll.
Jana Rieck, Communications Coordinator, Champlin Park High School
Donald Ross, Co-Founder and UMN Advisor, University of Minnesota
Kako Shintani, International Co-Leader, University of Leeds
Larry Sklaney, Conference & Cost Center Coordinator, Century College
Mary Taris, Equity Co-Leader, Strive Community Publishing
MnWE Journal Editorial Board: David Beard, Ryuto Hashimoto,
     Yanmei Jiang, and Mary Taris

richard at jewell dot net - (612) 870-7024
larry dot sklaney at century dot edu - (651) 747-4006
danielle dot hinrichs at metrostate dot edu - (651) 999-5960                 
MnWE .org
Minnesota Writing & English
A Consortium of Colleges & Universities

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Format updated 13 May 2021