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M.A., English (poetry), University at Albany, 1988
B.A., English and Art (double major), summa cum laude, SUNY Geneseo, 1985
Derek Owens started teaching at St. John's University in 1994; before that taught in the Expository Writing Program at Harvard, the Experimental College at Tufts, and worked as an academic counselor in the Higher Education Opportunity Program at Siena College. In 2006 he created the Institute for Writing Studies which houses the First-Year Writing Program, University Writing Centers, and the Writing Across the Curriculum Program; he continues to serve as Director of the IWS. In 2010 he became Vice Provost for University (now Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education), where he serves as Director of the Core and also co-chairs the University Assessment Committee. His teaching and research interests include composition pedagogy, Writing Program administration, ecocomposition and sustainability, place-based pedagogy, and experimental and hybrid forms of writing.
Memory's Wake. Spuyten Duvil, 2011.
Composition and Sustainability: Teaching for a Threatened Generation. Refiguring English Studies series. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English Press, 2001.
Resisting Writings (and the Boundaries of Composition). Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press, 1994.
"Critical Expressivism's Alchemical Challenge." Critical Expressivism: Theory and Practice in the Composition Classroom. Eds. Tara Roeder and Roseanne Gatto. WAC Clearinghouse & Parlor Press, forthcoming 2015.
"Multitopia: Composing at the Edge of the Map." Composing Other Spaces, eds. Douglas Reichert Powell and John Paul Tassoni. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2009: 219-236.
"Hideaways and Hangouts, Public Squares and Performance Spaces: New Metaphors for Writing Center Design."Creative Approaches to Writing Center Work, eds. Kevin Dvorak and Shanti Bruce. Hampton Press, 2008..
"Two Centers, Not One." Marginal Words, Marginal Works? Tutoring the Academy in the Work of Writing Centers, eds. Nick Mauriello and Bill Macauley. Hampton Press, 2007:
"From Site to Screen, From Screen to Site: Merging Place-Based Pedagogy with Web-based Technology." With Tim Lindgren. The Locations of Composition, ed. Christopher J. Keller and Christian Weisser. Albany: SUNY Press, 2007:195-212.
"Teaching In Situ." Relations, Locations, Positions: Composition Theory for Writing Teachers. Eds. Peter Vandenberg, Sue Hum, Jennifer Clary-Lemon. Urbana, IL: NCTE P, 2006: 363-370.
“Sex Dolls, Mice, and Mother’s Suitcase." Poetry and Pedagogy: The Challenge of the Contemporary. Eds. Joan Retallack and Juliana Spahr. NY: Pallgrave MacMillan 2006: 260-274.
"In Response to Max Oelschlaeger." Writing Environments. Eds. Sidney I. Dobrin and Christopher J. Keller. Albany, NY: SUNY P, 2005: 177-181.
“What the Left Left Out.” Radical Relevance: Toward a Scholarship of the ‘Whole Left.’’ Eds. Laura Gray-Rosendale and Stephen Rosendale. Albany: SUNY Press, 2005: 124-137.
"Curriculum for Seven Generations." Beyond English, Inc.: Discipline and Curriculum for English Studies in the 21st Century. Eds. David Downing, C Mark Hurlbert, Paula Mathieu. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann-Boynton/Cook, 2002: 118-138.
"’Some People Just Want Their Stories to Die with Them.’" Public Works: Student Writing as Public Text. Emily Isaacs and Phoebe Jackson, eds. Westport, CT: Heinemann, 2001: 53-60.
"Sustainable Composition." Ecocomposition: Theoretical and Pedagogical Approaches. Eds. Sid Dobrin and Christian Weisser. Albany: SUNY Press, 2001: 27-37.
"Writing in the Hivemind." With Don Byrd. Literacy Theory in the Age of the Internet. Eds. Irene Ward and Todd Taylor. NY: Columbia U P, 1998:47-58.
"Coherence." Keywords in Composition Studies. Eds. Paul Heilker and Peter Vandenberg. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1996: 30-34.
"Essay." Keywords in Composition Studies. Eds. Paul Heilker and Peter Vandenberg. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1996: 85-88.
Introduction. The Essay: Theory and Pedagogy for an Active Form. Paul Heilker. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1996. xi-xvii.
"Composition as the Voicing of Multiple Fictions." Into the Field: The Interdisciplinary Site of Composition Studies. Ed. Anne Ruggles Gere. New York: MLA, 1993: 159-175.
Articles and Essays
"rem/embr/ance." Seneca Review 39:1, Fall 2009.
“Making 4Cs Matter More.” With Claude Hurlbert and Robert Yagelski. Writing on the Edge, 15:2 Spring 2005: 67-91.
“Student Fears About the Next Twenty-Five Years.” Futures Research Quarterly 16:4 (Winter 2000): 51-61.
"Between Apocalypse and (E)utopia: Narrative In and Out of Cyberspace. with Blitz, Michael, et. al. Works and Days 3/34, 35/36, 1999-2000: 453-485.
"From the Business Ethics Course to the Sustainable Curriculum." Journal of Business Ethics 17.15 (1998): 1765-1777.
"Liminal Drift: The Art of Getting Lost in Imaginal Space." Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. 18: 3 & 4 (August 1997): 225-37.
"The Aggregate Eye / A Rhetoric of Collage." Readerly/Writerly Texts: Essays on Literature, Literary/Textual Criticism, and Pedagogy 4.1 (1996): 9-30.
"Cannibals in the Mirror: Using a Sequence Approach with a Controversial Text." Statement: Journal of the Colorado Language Arts Society. 33:1 (Fall 1996): 10-13.
"Course Syllabus and Critical Statement." Composition Studies. 23:2 (Fall 1995): 83-87.
"Earthworm Hermeneutics." Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives in Learning 1 (1995-96): 8-15.
"Writing in Tongues in the Virtual Sanctuary." The Little Magazine 20 (1994): 119-125.
"Beyond Eurocentric Rhetoric." Works and Days 16 (1990): 87-101.
Response to interview with Max Oelschlaeger, “The Quest for Truth: Max Oelschlaeger on Rhetoric and Wilderness.” Writing Environments: Rhetoric, Texts, and the Construction of Nature. Eds. Sid Dobrin and Chris Keller. Albany: SUNY Press, forthcoming 2004.
"Christian Weisser, Moving Beyond Academic Discourse: Composition Studies and the Public Sphere." JAC 22:2: 458-63.
"When Violence Calls for a New Pedagogy." A review of Michael Blitz and C. Mark Hurlbert’s Letters for the Living: Teaching Writing in a Violent Age. Composition Studies 27.2, 1999: 109-114.
"Metzger’s Current." Rev. of Blood and Volts: Edison, Tesla, and the Electric Chair," by Th. Metzger. American Book Review June-July 1996: 6.
Article in Reference Volume
Untitled essay on Bob Perelman. Contemporary Poets. Ed. Tracy Chevalier. Chicago: St. James Press, 1991: 752.
Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction
Poetry and fiction published in Bourbon Penn, Gone Lawn, elimae, otoliths, e.ratio, Pierogi Press, Ecopoetics, Synaesthetic, The Little Magazine, Anabasis, The Southampton Review; The Little Magazine. Lyric Essay published in Seneca Review.
- English Composition
- Literature in a Global Context
- ePortfolio Studio Workshop
- Introduction to English Studies
- Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory
- Constructing Suburbia in Film and Literature
- Writing the Future
- Seminar in the Teaching of Writing
- Seminar: Utopian and Dystopian Literature
- Introduction to College Writing
- Business Writing
- Honors Composition
- Creative Writing: Fiction
- Creative Writing: Nonfiction
- Creative Writing: Poetry
- Contemporary Poetry
- Topics in Cultural Studies
- Composition Theory
- Theories of Literacy
- Introduction to the Profession of English
- Writing Theory/Writing Practice
- Topics in Cultural Studies
- Literary / Visual Texts
- Emerging Technologies and the Making of Meaning
- Writing Nonfiction Workshop
- Young Adult Literature
Since 1989 Derek Owens has given over 80 presentations at such conferences as the Conference on College Composition and Communication, Modern Language Association, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, and the International Writing Centers Association. Selected presentations include:
Invited Speaker. "Reading Apocalypse, Writing Eutopia." Writing Studies in the Humanities: Democratic Education and the Politics of Institutional Reform. University at Binghamton. February 19, 2010.
Keynote Speaker. "Growing a (Writing Program) Garden." Two-Year College Association--Pacific Northwest. Portland, OR: October 10, 2009.
Chair, Participant, Panel Organizer. "Thinking Big and Making It Happen: Stories, Strategies, and Lessons Learned from Several Large, Recently Created Writing Programs." Conference on College Composition and Communication. San Francisco: March 12, 2009.
"Ripping Up My Syllabus." Conference on College Composition and Communication. New Orleans, LA: April 5, 2008.
Invited Speaker. Reading of poetry and nonfiction. "Writers Speak." Spring 2008. Southampton College, NY: March 26, 2008
Keynote Address. "Sustenance and Sustainability in the Writing Center." Northeast Writing Centers Association 2007 Conference. University of Connecticut, March 31, 2007.
Invited Speaker. "If You Build It, They Will Come: How We Designed, Budgeted, and Got Approval for an Institute for Writing Studies." Hofstra University, April 18, 2007.
Plenary Speaker. "The Cultural Work of Writing Centers: Contesting Boundaries and the Importance of Local Resistance." International Writing Centers Association and National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing, Minneapolis, MN, October 22, 2005.
Keynote Address. "Tracing Memory's Braille: Mapping Lost Narratives." New York College English Association. April 16, 2005.
"The Importance of Critical Geography and Place-based Literacy for Composition." Invited lecture, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, April 15, 2004.
"Does CCCC Matter? A Critique and Call for Change." Conference on College Composition and Communication, March 26, 2004.
"21st Century Neighborhoods." North American Interdisciplinary Conference on Environment and Community. Saratoga Springs, NY: February 19-21, 2004.
Invited Speaker. "Surviving Dreamtime." University of Kentucky. August 26, 2003.
Invited Speaker. "Prospects for an Ecological English: Implications and Applications of Composition and Sustainability." Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. Boston, MA: June 5, 2003.
Invited Speaker, Drake University, “Sustainable Neighborhoods: Studying Local Communities through Student Writing in the First-Year Seminar.” April 8, 2003.
Invited Speaker. "Writing in Place." Boston College, First-Year Writing Program, October 17, 2002.
Invited Speaker. "Composition and Sustainability." Plenary Speaker, Annual Conference for the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. Flagstaff, AZ: June, 2001.
"Nine-Way Mind." EPoetry 2001. State University at Buffalo. April, 2001.
"Between Apocalypse and (E)utopia: A Multimedia Performance." Conference on College Composition and Communication. Atlanta, GA, March, 1999.
"Environmental Literacy and Sustainable Composition." Thomas R. Watson Conference on Rhetoric and Composition. Louisville, KY, October, 1998.
"Survival, Sustainability, and Freshman Composition." Utopian Studies Conference. Montreal, Quebec, October, 1998.
"Shock Pedagogy: Teaching (the) Extremities." (Chair). Conference on College Composition and Communication Convention. Washington, DC, March, 1995.
"Writing in Tongues in the Virtual Sanctuary." Interactive Technologies and Network Media Panel. Society for Literature and Science. Boston, MA. November, 1993.
"Taking Afrocentric Rhetoric Seriously." Conference on College Composition and Communication Convention. Boston, MA, March, 1991.
"Writing Differently: New Feminist Approaches to Composition." Conference on College Composition and Communication Convention. Chicago, IL, March, 1990.
"What is 'Feminine' Composition, and Why Should We Teach It?" MLA Convention. Chicago, IL, December, 1990.
"Circumventing the Closure of 'Closure': 20th Century Alternatives to a Dualistic Problem." MLA Convention. Washington, DC, December, 1989.
Selected Committee Participation, St. John’s University
- Co-Chair, Middle States Program Review
- Student Engagement Task Force
- Academic Planning Committee
- Institute for Core Studies, Personnel & Budget Committee
- Core Self-Study Committee
- Middle States Self-Study Committee
- Academic Technology Steering Committee
- Title III Grant Team
- English Department, Acting Chair
- Faculty Senate
- Student Affairs Committee
- Common Core Faculty Pilot Assessment
- Departmental Publicity Committee
- Faculty Service-Learning Board
- Graduate Advisory Committee
- Graduate Education Policy Committee
- English Dept, Personnel and Budget Committee
- Undergraduate Education Policy Committee
- Multicultural Student Advisory Committee
- Research II Subcommittee
- Writing Program Committee (Chair)
Dissertation and Thesis Committees
DA Exam and Dissertation Committees: Lauren Kopec, David Venditto, Lauren Williams, Jessica Williams, Michelle Liptak, Nicole Papaioannou, Michelle Liptak, Carla Caglioti, Judy Phagan, Joseph Sora, Barbara Sudol, Richard Vogel, Elizabeth Grant, John Holland, Linda Reesman, Juliet Emmanuel-George, Rochelle Almeida, Rebecca Neuhedel, Tim Horan, Julie Katz.
MA Thesis Committees: Konstantinos Skamalos, Laura Finn, Nicolette Porochnia, Paul Reifenheiser.
PhD Dissertation Committee (outside reader): Daniel Bullen, New York University; Mark Peters, SUNY Buffalo.
McNair Mentor: Patricia Lespinasse.
Honorary Member, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, 2007
Faculty Outstanding Achievement Medal, 2006
Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship Award for Graduate Teaching, 2004
Innovative Teaching Award, 1996
Nominated for Teacher of the Year Award, 1996
Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, Harvard University, 1992-1993