English Faculty Specialties
English Department Full-Time Faculty
Dr. Lindsay Christopher
Lindsay has been happily teaching at Clark since 2012. She previously taught at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colorado and at the University of Denver, where she earned her Ph.D. in Literary Studies and developed proficiencies in climbing 14,000 foot mountains and descending the powdery slopes of the Rockies. Her teaching interests include multiethnic American literature, Native American literature, and research writing. She loves learning from her students’ diverse experiences and journeying with them as they develop new ideas, perspectives, and ways of being.
Jill has been teaching at Clark since 2000. She holds a B.A. in French and a B.A.
in English from Oregon State University; she also spent one year abroad at the Université
de Poitiers in France, where she studied in the Faculté de Langues et Lettres. Her
M.A. comes from Portland State University, where her areas of focus were 18th and
19th century British literature and critical theory. Last, she returned to Portland
State during her sabbatical, resuming her work in composition theory.
Her research, conference presentations, and published works focus on assignment design, transfer theory, and more equitable classroom practices. She has been published in the journal Teaching English in the Two-Year College (TETYC) and the book Transparent Design in Higher Education Teaching and Leadership; she has presented for the Conference on College Composition and Communications (CCCC), for the First-Year Experience (FYE), for the Two-Year College Association (TYCA), and for the state’s Assessment in Teaching and Learning (ATL) conference on numerous occasions. She serves on the board for the journal TETYC, aiding peers as they revise and submit their work for publication, and serves as the English Department’s Adjunct Coordinator.
Dr. Marylynne Diggs
Marylynne is originally from the Washington D.C. suburbs of Maryland but has called Oregon home since 1986. She began her education at the University of Alabama as an Interior Design major, but soon changed to Criminal Justice and Sociology with a minor in English. After receiving her B.A., she moved to Eugene, Oregon, where she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in English at the University of Oregon, specializing in Rhetoric, American literature, and Queer Studies. She has been teaching English and Humanities since 1987, and began her career at Clark College in 1998. In addition to teaching ENGL 098 and ENGL 102, Marylynne also teaches American Lit, Queer Lit, LGBTQ Studies, and Nature and the Humanities. Marylynne likes to relax and play too; she is an avid hiker and nature photographer as well as a huge fan of football, basketball, and tennis.
A Chicago native, Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Italian
from DePaul University and an M.A. in English and an M.F.A. in creative writing from
Chapman University. She started her teaching career in rural New Mexico as a middle
school teacher and has also taught at the middle school and college levels in California.
In 2013, she taught Italian literature and writing in the WCCCSA foreign study program
in Florence, Italy. At Clark, Elizabeth teaches all levels of composition, Intro and
Advanced Fiction Writing, American Literature, and the "Phoenix" course (English 277).
She also has taught in the online and hybrid modalities for over ten years and has
focused her academic research on engaging the online learner.
Elizabeth's short fiction has appeared in ZYZZYVA, RiverSedge, Pamona Valley Review, and elsewhere. She also has been the recipient of an Oregon Literary Fellowship in fiction, an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant for fiction, and a Caldera Residency. Since 2013, she has been the literary advisor to Phoenix, Clark’s award-winning art and literary journal. Currently, she serves as the English Division Chair and is still in shock that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016.
Melissa holds a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis from Western Michigan
University and an M.A. in English Literature from The Pennsylvania State University,
where she studied Victorian and Modernist literature with a critical focus on Queer
Theory. She loves teaching composition classes, Detective Fiction, Science Fiction
& Fantasy, and American and British Literature.
Off campus, Melissa writes creative nonfiction, curates the 1,000 Words reading series, enjoys the Pacific Northwest outdoors, and collects manual typewriters. She is also a board member at the Independent Publishing Resource Center and is always on the lookout for opportunities to promote reading, writing, and the printed word. Her writing has been published in street roots, Metro Parent, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and elsewhere.
Dr. Mark Keats
Mark has an A.A. in English from Howard Community College as well as a B.A. in Japanese Language and Literature and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, College Park. He began teaching at Howard Community College in 2008, focusing on composition and literature courses. He taught and tutored for six years before returning to graduate school and earning his Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from Texas Tech University in 2019. Outside of teaching and supporting students, he enjoys running, especially on the trails, and spending time with his wife and dog.
Dr. Ray Korpi
Ray has been teaching English at Clark since 1993. He has B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Washington State University-Pullman. Dr. Korpi teaches all levels of composition, especially focusing on English 102. He has been engaged with teaching composition with computers since his start as a teacher in 1988, and teaches a diverse selection of literature classes reflecting his multifaceted background. Dr. Korpi has also been actively involved in the learning communities activities at Clark as well as participating in the common read program. He served as a dean from 2003 to 2013. His current research interests are dealing with the changes in birding culture that deal with changes in technology and environmental issues.
Alexis’s teaching career began in Rouen, France: a small medieval city where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, Gustave Flaubert set his famous novel Madame Bovary, and Alexis tried to help a bunch of French teenagers learn the English language. At Clark, where she has worked since 2010, Alexis teaches all levels of composition as well as various creative writing and literature courses. She also helps run the Columbia Writers Series, which brings nationally-recognized authors to campus, and Subtext, a week-long literary festival that takes places each spring. Alexis holds a B.A. in English from UC Santa Barbara and an M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Portland State University. Her articles and essays have appeared in various publications including The LA Review of Books, The Normal School, and Tin House. Born and raised in San Francisco, she now lives in Portland with her husband, son, and little brown dog.
Dr. Julian Nelson
Julian is a professor of English at Clark College where he was also the German professor and director of the German Studies Program in Berlin, Germany. Julian has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UC Davis and some of his academic interests include world literature, philosophy, modernist aesthetics, contemporary theory, the Weimar Republic, photography and popular culture. Julian is fluent in German, French, and English, and since earning his Ph.D. in 2000, has taught a wide range of courses in languages, literary traditions, and the arts to both undergraduate and graduate students at different institutions. Significant teaching experience in the Humanities underscores his ethical and theoretical concern to frame learning outcomes with a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, intellectual traditions, and world areas. Julian has organized and directed study abroad tours to Paris, France, and Berlin, Germany for more than two decades. Julian advocates international learning opportunities for his students with the understanding that such experiences are embedded in debates about social justice in an increasingly globalized society and as such are an existential and economic necessity for students. Julian’s primary educational goal has been to help students succeed in acquiring proficiency in language, literature, and culture, but broader aims challenge students to develop empathy for cultural diversity while cultivating the effective communication skills needed to negotiate the trans-national nature of contemporary society. Beyond his teaching and scholarly work, Julian is also a practicing artist and photographer who has worked with traditional film media for over twenty years and has mounted solo and collaborative shows in galleries and cafés. He favors traditional, large format, black and white photography with a particular emphasis on portraiture. In addition to publications on modernist aesthetics, he has published his photography and writing in journals and contributed to a book on contemporary photography.
Tobias earned bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. He then went on to receive a master’s degree in English Literature from George Mason University and a Master’s of Fine Arts in Poetry from Texas State University. He teaches technical and creative writing, as well as a learning community: The Craft of Comics. He’s the former sports editor for the online magazine Popmatters and his poetic work can be found in the Gulf Coast Review, Analecta, and elsewhere.
A writer of science fiction and fantasy, Joe has taught composition, literature, and creative writing at Clark since 2000. While his first love is teaching first year English composition, he also enjoys teaching classes in Shakespeare, British literature, world literature, science fiction and fantasy, writing in the sciences, and creative writing. His fiction has appeared in such venues as Analog, Black Static, Podcastle, and elsewhere, and his stories have been anthologized in many “Year’s Best” collections. His young adult fantasy novel Stranger Bird was published in 2017.
Gail has been teaching English at the college level for nearly twenty-five years and the time has flown by. That must be a sign that she loves what she's doing. Gail finds it deeply rewarding and humbling to witness the journeys of her students and to be part of the process of discovery and success. In addition to teaching, Gail is also a writer, though she struggles to find time for both teaching and her writing life. That's probably why she's still working on writing a memoir 15 years after she started it. She has hope that she'll finish it one of these days! Her other passions are cooking, baking, and being outdoors. Whenever Gail spends a weekend at the ocean or the mountain, all is right in her world. Gail earned her Bachelor's Degree in 1984 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She majored in English with minors in Communication and Technical Writing. She then earned her Master's Degree in English in 1992 from Portland State University. Over the years, she has taken several workshops to build her knowledge and skills as a creative writer, with some of her most important teachers being Judith Barrington, Kim Stafford, Jennifer Lauck, and Martha Gies.
Dr. Mitzi Schrag
Although Mitzi Schrag is the daughter of a journalist—who was also a college and university professor—Mitzi didn’t consider college—much less college teaching as a career--until she’d tried several other professions. After leaving New England and New York, where she grew up, she worked in L.A. on the Pentagon Papers legal defense team, which tested First Amendment rights and which helped put President Richard Nixon’s illegal activities in the spotlight. On moving to the NW, she worked as a job developer for teens and a vocational rehabilitation counselor, helping injured workers return to school and work. Her appreciation for the challenge faced by those with limited reading and writing skills led her to consider teaching English. After the birth of her daughter, she decided to go to college. After earning an A.A. from Clark College, where she benefited from the wisdom of brilliant faculty, some of whom are still here—she earned a B.A. in English from Reed College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. at UW. Since joining the faculty at Clark in 1997, she has focused on American literature, mythology, and English composition classes. Together with her husband, she travels to her beloved Maine coast every summer, where she reads, sews, sails, and follows politics.
Dr. Gerard M. Smith
Gerard has been an English professor at Clark College since 1991. He has a Ph.D.
in Creative Option with an emphasis in Rhetoric from Bowling Green State University,
an M.A. in American Literature from The University of Toledo, and a B.S. in Education
and Journalism from Bowling Green State University. He served as the vice president
and then president for the Washington State Faculty Association for Community and
Technical Colleges (FATCTC). He served as the advisor for the Clark College Native
American Student Council, as the Director of the Columbia Writers Series, and as a
board member for the Mountain Writers Series. His teaching interests include research
writing, composition, poetry writing, American Literature and Science Fiction and
His poetry has appeared in several anthologies and journals including Apex of the M, The Adirondack Review, hummingbird, and the Wind River Review. He was awarded an Ohio Arts grant for an ekphrastic collaboration with Hispanic artist Adrian Tio entitled Masks of the Gods in 1989, and for The Feathered Serpent, a collaboration with five Hispanic artists in 1990. The chapbook Hill of a Star—part of the collaboration with artist Adrian Tio—was presented as the Ohio Council for the Arts award in 1991 and the broadside “Melting Glass”—also with Tio—was presented as the Medici Circle Gold Award in 1992. He was a columnist for the online magazine Swans from 2003-2008.
Kimberly grew up in rural Mississippi and received her B.A. in English from Belhaven
College and her M.A. from Mississippi State University. She continued her graduate
studies at the University of Mississippi and Georgia State University. After teaching
composition at Mississippi State University and Georgia State University, she eventually
moved to Macon, Georgia, and taught at Mercer University. After a trip to the Washington
state in 1990, she decided to move to the northwest where she felt a strong affinity
with the area and the people.
Kimberly has been teaching at Clark College since 1991. Her teaching interests are composition, technical writing and world literature. Outside of academia, her passions are animal rescue and land use issues. She works with a local non-profit animal rescue organization and serves on her local planning commission.
Nancy earned an M.F.A. in non-fiction writing from Goddard College after earning an M.A. in Social and Intellectual History from University at Albany, having discovered she loved the writing as much as the researching. She has published one collection of poetry with Cherry Grove Press, Killing the Buddha, and has been published in national and international newspapers and literary journals. She frequently studies, researches, and writes about religion.
English Department Part-Time Faculty
Chet has taught English at Clark off and on since 1987; he has also served as Clark's Journalism instructor and media advisor. He has Master's Degrees in English and Journalism from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre from Pomona College. Chet's teaching interests include research writing, editing, dramatic literature and Shakespeare. He is also a member of the Clark Honors Program Committee.
Dr. Mary Coté
Mary has taught English composition and literature at universities and colleges in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington for more than 20 years. A native of Oregon, she completed her Ph.D. in English at the University of Oregon, specializing in Middle English language and literature, but also received comprehensive training in composition pedagogy. At Clark, she enjoys teaching composition and research writing as often as possible, because they form a crucial foundation for students’ success in college, work, and life. On occasion, she also teaches literature, including her first love, American literature, believing that all students deserve to know literature not just as something studied in school, but as something of their very own: part of their cultural inheritance.
Russell Crooks is a college writing instructor, tutor, and editor. He holds an M.A. from Ohio University in English (Rhetoric and Composition) and a B.A. from The Ohio State University in English (Digital Composition). His disciplinary interests include composition and media, rhetorical theory, collaborative learning, research essays, documentary, critical theory, and film theory. As a tutor, he is well versed in helping students with MLA and APA documentation, research papers, basic grant applications, creative writing and digital "multi-modal" compositions.
One of his favorite things about work is learning through the research of students. Russell strives to help others write clear, cogent, and concise.
Andrew earned his M.A. in History at the University of Utah in 2012 and is now finishing his Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Utah State University. He began teaching composition in 2014 and enjoys integrating classical rhetoric and history into each course. His research focuses on medical rhetorics and critical questions surrounding the rhetorics of pediatric care. In addition, he maintains his connection to his historical training through freelance writing for popular press ancient history publications.
Shannon completed her undergraduate degree in English Education at Trine University in 1998. She worked in marketing and communications for over 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. She went back to school in 2012 and completed a Master of Arts degree in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse and a Master's Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from DePaul University in 2014. She is currently working on a Master's Certificate in Women's and Gender Studies. Additionally, she has been working with the Chemeketa Press to write a technical communications textbook titled, Practical Models for Technical Communicators. It is currently in beta version 2.0 and has been tested in 200-level technical writing classrooms by early adopters.
Perrin earned her Ph.D. at University of Oregon with specialties in modernist literature and feminist theory. She spent most of her career at Marylhurst University; now she teaches at Prescott College in Arizona and Portland State University--in addition to teaching at Clark. She has been teaching over 30 years and loves teaching both literature and writing online; she also loves working with students. When she is not teaching for colleges or universities, you will find her teaching creative nonfiction at Literary Arts in Portland or at various writing conferences around Oregon.
Alexis grew up outside of New York City and earned degrees at the State University of New York at Binghamton and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. The bulk of her twenty-five-year teaching career was spent at Reedley College in California, but she also taught at Fresno City College and Greenville Technical College in South Carolina. She has been mercilessly mocked by students for introducing every single reading assignment as her favorite piece of writing.
Dawn Marie Knopf
Dawn teaches composition, literature, and poetry at Clark College and Portland State University. She received her bachelor's degree at University of California Davis and her master's degree at Columbia University in New York, where she was the editor of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. Her poems and essays have appeared in the Boston Review, Pacific Standard, Bomb, the New Inquiry, and Fence, among others.
Kym started as a small shivering member of the Croft family in Anchorage, Alaska but gravitated to warmer climates for an undergraduate degree in Political Science at Stanford University and then a J.D. from Santa Clara School of Law. After practicing law for "a second" (read, a year) in California, Kym decided that a) the family should move to Oregon and b) she should be a writer. Since her husband is an easy-going, saint-of-a-man, that is exactly what they did. Now they live in Portland and she happily uses her M.F.A. from Pacific University to work as a freelance editor and English professor. Kym has an inexplicable love of essays, but also digs being with her three grown children and hanging out with her granddog, Marvin.
Lynne was born in Seattle, and, after spending time in Arizona, Oklahoma, California, and Texas, moved back to the Pacific Northwest in 1994 and immediately felt at home among the trees. She lives in Portland with her husband, Mike. They have two beautiful daughters and an incredible grandson. Lynne received her B.A. in English Literature from Lewis and Clark College and her M.A. in English from Portland State University where she specialized in Renaissance literature and literary theory. She joined Clark's English Department in 2003 and teaches all levels of composition (and sometimes literature) both online and in the classroom. Her classes emphasize sense of purpose, and she encourages students to continually ask “why” on many levels. She is always eager to talk about Shakespeare, the best television show ever--Lost, the Chicago Cubs, the Washington Huskies, and will take on all challengers in basketball.
Inspired to become an English teacher by his first composition instructor's emphasis on critical thinking and advanced literacy, Joshua tries to spread the same. Since 2008, Joshua has taught reading, writing, and literature classes at Clark College, specializing in pre-college reading and writing. He has a master's degree in English from Portland State University where he studied Critical and Composition Theory. He enjoys games, animals that do not bite, and music.
Lindsey has been with the Clark English Department since 2013 and has taught most levels of composition, as well as science fiction/fantasy and American literature. She also works as an Instructional Designer with the Clark eLearning team. She loves it here!
Lindsey also teaches in the University Studies program at Portland State University,
where she created the Capstone “Embracing Size Diversity,” a community-based learning
course that explores weight stigma and body image through social justice and healthcare
perspectives. She is also working on a Capstone focused on the need for diversity
in children’s and young adult literature, as well as closing the gap in literacy levels
among marginalized youth.
Lindsey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Philosophy, a Master of Arts in English, and is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with a focus on writing for young people. She has been teaching in person, online, and hybrid courses for a decade and is committed to applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to create accessible, engaging online learning environments. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her husband and young children, garden, camp, and read (of course!).
Dr. Arwen Spicer
Arwen belongs to California’s wine country and gets back there when she can. She has a B.S. in biology from Humboldt State University (1997), M.A. in English from Sonoma State University (2000) and Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon (2005), where she focused on the nineteenth-century British novel and evolution and ecology in utopian science fiction. Her recent scholarly work includes the relevance of Ursula Le Guin’s and Jeff VanderMeer’s science fiction in the age of climate crisis. She has published two science fiction novels, Perdita and The Hour before Morning. Her favorite thing about teaching composition classes is bringing together a group of diverse voices to have meaningful, respectful discussion about topics that matter.
Carrie has been teaching college level language development and communication classes for over 21 years, 13 at Clark College. She has earned a bachelor’s in Interior Design from WSU Pullman, a Certificate in Professional and Technical Writing and Editing from PCC, and a master’s in Education: Policies, Foundations, and Administration, Specializing in Leadership in Ecology, Culture, and Learning from PSU. Carrie is a firm believer in lifelong learning, both for herself and her students, and constantly enriches her knowledge base. In 2019, she earned a Certification of Completion in eLearning/Teaching Online with Hybrid and Online Formats. Carrie’s former careers include chef, catering director, career services director, and restaurant manager.
She loves adventure and nature and traveling with her husband and family and has been fortunate to visit 21 countries and many states. Carrie’s two grandchildren, two sons, daughter, and their partners are a loved and valued benefit in her life. She also enjoys a yearly family camping reunion at the Oregon and Washington coasts, which brings together European, Californian, and NW family.
A Portland native, Linda began teaching composition courses at Clark in 2016. She studied English at Seattle Pacific University (B.A.) and the University of Washington (M.A.). She also teaches composition at Portland Community College.
Cydney is a Portland native and began teaching at Clark in 2015. She studied English/Literature at Eastern Oregon University and earned an M.A. in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University in Chicago, where she also taught for the City Colleges of Chicago. Her teaching experience spans all levels of composition courses, American literature, and creative writing.
Jim first became a faculty member at Clark College in 2000. Jim taught English in Kanazawa and Sendai, Japan for seven years before coming to Clark. He holds a BA in English from Whitworth University and a MA in English from Gonzaga University. His hobbies and interests include grilling, biking, martial arts, and spending time with his family, which includes four dogs, three cats, and a lop-eared bunny named Butterscotch. Jim has what his daughter describes as an “unnatural talent” for board games and is willing to defend this distinction at Catan, Carcassonne, 7 Wonders, Dominion, Ticket to Ride or a game of your choosing at any time. Clark College highlights include receiving the Clark College Exceptional Faculty Award and serving as the Dean of Transitional Studies, English, Communications, and Humanities.