- I’m very good at writing, reading, and analyzing literature, and I really enjoy these things. I want to help you get even better and, hopefully, enjoy them as well.
- Being a strong reader, writer, and thinker will have a profoundly positive impact on your life.
- Teachers should never do for students what students can do for themselves. I can’t make you learn; that is up to you. Students must accept responsibility for their part in the learning process.
- Everyone has the capacity to improve at any task/skill.
- Getting good at anything requires a certain amount of practice, sustained effort, time, and motivation. Practice makes better!
- Struggle is a necessary and important part of life. Every failure is a learning opportunity both in terms of mastering a content/skill and in terms of learning resilience. To paraphrase Nelson Mandela, “I never fail; either I succeed or I learn.”
My academic journey. I always wanted to be a teacher, but being a professor was never even on my radar. When I entered college, I planned to major in elementary education because I was always good with kids and have many a time been told that I’m just a big kid myself. Then I took some literature courses, fell in love with the subject material, and decided I wanted to have deeper conversations with students than would be possible in elementary school. I changed my major(s) to English and Secondary English Education.
I became a high school teacher, and that was…disappointing to say the least, primarily due to students’ apathy. After getting my master’s degree, I began working as an adjunct professor at MxCC in 2007. I would wait table on weekends, teach high school every weekday, and then go teach night courses at Middlesex, and I simply fell in love with MxCC. Students attend college by choice, and rather than babysit I get to actually teach. In 2010, I quit my high school job and took a job as the coordinator of the College Learning Center at MxCC where I worked until 2012 when I landed my new dream job: college English professor. In addition to teaching, I have been involved in many campus initiatives over the past decade+, but most notably I coordinated the Bridge to College program, a partnership with the Meriden Public High Schools designed to reinforce the skills students will need to be college-ready after graduation, I helped pioneer the ALP program, and I ran the MxCC Reads book club.
I like to think of myself as a funny— half sarcastic, half goofy—guy (see above photo), and I think my easy-going personality is one of my strengths as a teacher. By sharing my passion for English and really trying to engage students, I hope to make learning fun and to engender some of the same enthusiasm in them. My goal in every class is to help students become stronger readers, writers, and thinkers. I discovered my passion in the college classroom, and I hope I can help my students do the same.
Some personal stuff. I live in Southington with my wife, our son, our daughter, and our two brindle Boxer mixes, Milo and Zoe. My primary hobbies are reading and traveling. My goal is to see at least one hundred countries and I’m a quarter of the way there. I have lived in Spain, climbed Machu Pichu, seen Paris from atop the Eiffel tower, traversed the canals of Amsterdam and Venice, meditated at the oracle of Delphi, and enjoyed sushi in Japan, Swiss chocolate in Switzerland, and Belgian waffles in Belgium. See more here: Reading Around the World!, and if you want to talk travel, stop by! I also love reading and encourage everyone to join the website www.goodreads.com, which is the closest thing to social media I have—I’m getting old. When I did turn 40, though, I discovered another new hobby: skydiving. Jumping out of a plane at 12,000 feet is quite the experience, and I encourage everyone to give it a shot.
Some academic stuff. I graduated magna cum laude with a double major from the University of Maryland College Park (Go Terps!). I earned an MA at Southern Connecticut State University with a perfect 4.0; my thesis was titled Attacking Apathy, Breaking Down Beliefs, Crusading for Compassion: The ABCs of Kurt Vonnegut’s Novels. I firmly believe that you can learn everything you need to know about life by reading Vonnegut’s books. I even designed and taught a course on “The Novels of Kurt Vonnegut” and says it was one of the highlights of his teaching career.
Since having kids, I have not been as active when it comes to writing or presenting at conferences, but here is some of my past work.
“No Right to Fail.” The Record Journal. 14 May 2016. Print.
“The Good, the Better, and the Ugly: Developmental Education Past, Present, and Future. Learning Assistance Association of New England. 24.2. Winter 2013. Web. Read here.
“Writing with the Masters: Finding Creativity in Copying.” Teaching Creative Writing: Practical Approaches. Ed. Elaine Walker. Wicken, Cambridgeshire: The Professional and Higher Partnership, 2012. Print.
“Reading Race in Poe’s Pym.” [Inter]sections: American Studies. 3.12. Fall/Winter 2010. Web. Read here.
“Unconsciously Completing the Canon: An Argument for The Original of Laura.” Teaching American Literature: A Journal of Theory and Practice. 3:3/4. Spring/Summer 2010. Web. Read here.
“Accelerated Learning Program in English: Practice and Perception at MxCC.” 52nd Annual Two-Year College English Association–In the Middle of it All: Moving English from the Margins of Higher Education. Wilmington, DE. October 2017.
“Accelerated Learning Program (ALP), CT: A Creative & Collaborative Response to a State Mandate.” 51st Annual Two-Year College English Association–Hartford, CT. October 2016.
“Online Student Roundtable.” Technology Showcase: Engaging the 21st Century Learner. Middlesex Community College, CT. April 2015.
“Transitional Year Program: A Recipe for Success.” 30th Annual Learning Assistance Association of New England Conference–Partnerships and Pairing for Student Success and Retention. Greenfield Community College, MA. October 2013.
“Dealing with Developmental Education: How to Best Serve Students.” 29th Annual Learning Assistance Association of New England Conference–Student Success: There’s an App for That. Greenfield Community College, MA. October 2012.
“Losing Consciousness, Achieving Completion: Nabokov’s Final Work.” 11th Annual English Graduate Conference —Encountering the Text: Reading, Teaching, Theorizing, Writing. Southern Connecticut State University. April 2010
“The Arts of Researching, Speaking, and Teaching: My Humble Experiences.” 2nd Annual Graduate English Research Symposium. Southern Connecticut State University. November 2009.
“Attacking Apathy, Breaking Down Beliefs, Crusading for Compassion: The ABCs of Kurt Vonnegut’s Novels.” 9th Annual Graduate Research Symposium. Southern Connecticut State University. May 2007