Erin Striff, Associate Professor in the Department of English and Modern Languages in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been selected as the University of Hartford’s Distinguished Teaching Humanist for 2018-20.
Recipient of both an Innovations in Teaching and Learning Award in 2017 and an Outstanding Teaching Award in 2004, Striff teaches creative writing, drama, and literature. As the Distinguished Teaching Humanist, she will focus on storytelling in teaching and learning. She explains, “storytelling happens when we reflect upon, reframe and successfully communicate our experience to an audience. From a teaching perspective, this means building a narrative about why our subject matters, what skills we want students to develop, and how they might apply this knowledge. Storytelling can also give students the opportunity to find their own voice, whether through organizing their thoughts in an oral presentation, building a narrative in their writing, or analyzing and interpreting their own experience. Attention to our own stories and the stories of others builds knowledge, empathy and a common purpose in the classroom and in the University community as a whole.” As winner of numerous teaching grants and fellowships and as an invited speaker for several teaching workshops, Striff is well poised to lead these efforts.
Striff’s fiction has appeared in Split Lit Magazine and *82 Review. She is also a playwright with two published plays; her work has been produced in several countries. Striff edited the book Performance Studies and has published a wide range of scholarly articles on theatre and performance. She has been accepted as a participant in the fiction workshop at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference this summer and she has twice been a fiction scholar at The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.
According to A&S Dean Katherine Black, “The selection committee was particularly intrigued by Striff’s storytelling pedagogy and how it might be applied across disparate disciplines. Using a variety of innovative techniques, students learn not only how to articulate their own stories but also how to appreciate the perspectives of others. Such skills are more important now than ever before.”
The Distinguished Teaching Humanist(DTH) enlivens teaching and improves pedagogy in the humanities, and has considerable discretion and opportunity to innovate in the pursuit of this mission. The DTH conducts workshops on pedagogical issues of general concern for University of Hartford faculty, and consults with individual faculty members and observes their classes upon their request. In addition, the DTH provides leadership for the content and administration of all aspects of the Distinguished Visiting Professor program and partners with the Distinguished Visiting Professor to create the intellectual substance of the annual summer workshop.