Dr. David MacWilliams

David MacWilliams

Professor of English

David MacWilliams is currently Chair of English, Theatre, and Communication. His main areas of teaching include creative nonfiction, British literature, and basic grammar.

He has taught in higher education and adult education programs for nearly three decades in the U.S., Spain, Italy, and Saudi Arabia. He joined the faculty at Adams State in 2001.

He holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Ashland University (2011) and a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2001).

His research interests have included topics in Victorian literature and in Creative Nonfiction. His personal essays have been published in Pilgrimage, Mason’s Road, and The Apple Valley Review.

He is a Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Major publications include The Basics of English Grammar, (Linus Publications, August 2016) and a scholarly edition of the 1894 best seller The Manxman, by Hall Caine (Valancourt Press).

Courses taught:

  • ENG 101: Communication Arts I
  • ENG 102: Communication Arts II
  • ENG 200: College Writing Review
  • ENG 203: Major Themes in Literature
  • ENG 210: The Study of Literature
  • ENG 226: Basic Grammar
  • ENG 310: Survey of British Literature II (Romantic—Modern)
  • ENG 328: Nonfiction Workshop I (Creative Nonfiction)
  • ENG 350: 20th and 21st Century British and Anglophone Literature
  • ENG 357: Introduction to Linguistics
  • ENG 363: Advanced Composition
  • ENG 379: Special Topics: El Camino de Santiago (Travel and Spiritual Writing)
  • ENG 379: Special Topics: Literature of the Bizarre
  • ENG 379: Basic Grammar and History of English (Rural Educ. Access Program)
  • ENG 428: Nonfiction Workshop II (Creative Nonfiction)
  • ENG 450: Romantic and Victorian Literature
  • ENG 490: Major Authors: Literature of the Bizarre
  • ENG 495: Senior Seminar (Memoir, 2010; Literature of the Bizarre, 2016)
  • ENG 497: Capstone Writing Workshop
  • ENG 592: The Gothic in the Victorian Novel (Graduate Seminar)
  • Director, The Writing Studio, 2001-2014, 2016-17

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching experience has varied greatly over the years, but my core values have always remained the same. I value communication, open-mindedness, and respect for others, and I incorporate these values into the course goals of whatever I teach. Communication involves bridging real and perceived gaps among people, so I create a learning environment where students feel comfortable opening a dialogue with their peers, myself included. From day one we do activities that build communication and trust, beginning sometimes with simple memorization games for names, but evolving into genuine exchanges of ideas as students collaborate on daily, then unit-long tasks.

Motivation is the key to learning; as long as students can make personal connections to our assignments and to each other, and can play an active role in class, they will remain motivated. Learning best occurs when the classroom community feels safe and is aware of the roles individuals can and should play. My students remain involved, whatever the project or material. Class discussion rather than formal lecture is my primary mode of teaching, and I rely heavily on group work because it gives everyone a chance to contribute. I frequently assign discussion leaders in order to keep our meetings student centered. Computer assisted instruction has greatly motivated my students and supported their learning in my classroom, and I incorporate it whenever I can, particularly through smart-board applications in the classroom.

Regardless of what and how I teach, my primary role as a teacher is always to inspire students to learn more about the material on their own and with their peers. This task requires an eclectic approach, openness to criticism in its many forms, a willingness to try new ideas and technology, and an understanding that my learning is an ongoing process. But I recognize, too, the important role the teacher serves as de facto mentor. I strive to be a good role model. I want my students to recognize how hard I work, so that I can rightly expect the same from them. Ultimately, I want them to see in me an individual who is knowledgeable about the material, challenging as a teacher, sincere in efforts to build collaboration, fair in all manner of conduct, and dedicated to their success in college and in the pursuits they follow in life.

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