Senior Teaching Specialist
Postsecondary Teaching & Learning
250D Burton Hall
178 Pillsbury Dr S E
M.A. Creative Writing and Literature, University of Cincinnati
B.A. English Literature, Wheaton College
What motivates me in my work?
Stories and students inspire my teaching. I am sustained by the process of analyzing and creating narratives, from literature to students’ stories. Digital storytelling and writing assignments provide students with opportunities to communicate their findings shaped by their experiences. The narratives we discover together through research, discourse, and fieldwork connects academic theories to shared realities. I am motivated by the power of writing and learning to transform students’ lives so that they can harness their academic skills in order to participate in positive social change in their communities.
What can students expect from me?
“Benevolent power-sharing” informs my teaching and points to students’ experiences in my classes. Together we build knowledge and learn by doing. Whether we are walking along the Mississippi River while reflecting on poetry, or giving feedback on digital story drafts about social issues, we create enduring insights gained from collaborative applied learning. Together we foster an inclusive community that bridges academic learning with our sense of wonder and creativity and vision for social justice.
PsTL 3324W "Writing in the Workplace for Education and Human Development Majors" Fall 2014
PsTL1368 “Literatures of the World – International Perspectives” Fall 2014
EDHD 3100/5100 "Global Change, Environment, and Families" in northern Thailand, May 2015, with Catherine Solheim (FSoS)
PsTL 4216 "Solving Complex Problems: Mississippi Local, Global - Community Based Approaches to Living with Rivers, Sustainably"
PsTL1525W "First Year Inquiry: Multidisciplinary Ways of Knowing"
I have been teaching in the humanities for over fifteen years. As a writer, I bring my love of stories and my belief in the the need for vital communication to all of my courses. I am honored that the College of Education and Human Development recognized my work through the Distinguished Teaching Award in May of 2012.
I was awarded a leave from the college to design a writing intensive, multidisciplinary freshman seminar on the resource of water. "Water, Water, Everywhere? Investigating and Protecting Our Life Source.” The seminar integrates field work, texts, film, and guest speakers from both the arts and the environmental sciences, and each student creates a digital story about a water resource topic of their choosing, which features a first person interview with a relevant expert. Through support from the college I've developed a seminar website which features the students’ digital stories.
My collaboration with colleague Catherine Solheim (Family Social Sciences) has led me to the Mekong River in northern Thailand, where we interviewed community members about how their cultural traditions and ways of living are being impacted by globalization and climate change. For more information about our upcoming learning abroad session in northern Thailand, "Global Change, Environment, and Families" You can also view our digital story, "Mekong Mosaic"
The over-arching goal of my teaching and learning is to foster the role of the humanities in helping people envision more just and sustainable ways of living. I collaborate with artists, scientists, and community members to provide students with models of how people are using their academic knowledge as well as their creative passions in order to help us move toward more interdependent, environmentally sustainable societies. An example is partnering with The New York Times to bring in Pulitzer prize winning photographer Ozier Muhammad to present his photographs from his coverage of Haiti after the earthquake. For news article.
Helping students understand the diverse cultures that shape the humanities is an essential component of my teaching. I am fortunate to work at a university with a diverse population; these rich cultural traditions are vital to helping us move toward more mutually beneficial ways of living. Through funding from the University, I have traveled to New Zealand and Thailand to research sustainability initiatives by community members and the government, and I bring these experiences to life in the classroom through images and lectures.
My teaching has been transformed by my research and implementation of Innovative uses of digital media. When incorporated thoughtfully, the use of technology increases student engagement, fosters diversity, and facilitates different ways of learning.
I give public readings related to my essay collection, World Gone Beautiful, and am a guest writer in elementary schools. For a podcast of my U of M reading.
Selected Fellowships, Grants and Awards
Fellow, Internationalizing Teaching and Learning Cohort Program 2013-14, 2011-2012, Global Programs & Strategy (GPS) Alliance, the Center for Teaching and Learning, Instructional Development Services, and the Office of Information Technology, University of Minnesota.
Fellow, Office of Instructional Technology (OIT) Faculty Fellows Programs, 2012-13, University of Minnesota.
Award, CEHD Distinguished Teaching Award, May 2012.
Award, CEHD P&A Professional Development Award, “The Mekong Initiative” University of Minnesota, February 2012.
Fellow, CEHD U-Lead Program Recipient, with Catherine Solheim (FSS), 2011. College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota.
Grant, International Travel Grant - “The Mekong Initiative” - Global Programs and Strategy Alliance – University of Minnesota, April 2011.
Grant, International Engagement Grant -“The Mekong Initiative” - College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, January 2011.
Fellow, Artist Residency - Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, 2010, University of Minnesota.
Grant, Academic Technology Project Grant- Academic Technology Services, CEHD, December 2011, August 2010, 2008, 2007.
Digital Story, "Creating The Changing Story" with Office of Instructional Technology, December 2013.
Web article, Make it Yours with J. Sinn and M. Perkins, Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, April 2014.
eChapter, "The River in the Classroom: Digital Storytelling that Fosters Community, Deepens Engagement, and Cultivates Global Awareness." Cultivating Change in the Academy: 50+ Stories from the Digital Frontlines at the University of Minnesota in 2012.
Review, "In the Land of Ashes: Rachel Cusk." Books & Culture, Carol Stream, Illinois, Sept/Oct 2012.
Essay with Images, The Gazing House: Research at the Reserve, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, East Bethel, University of Minnesota, October 2011.
Essay with Images, Secret Knowledge: Cedar Bog Lake, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, East Bethel, University of Minnesota, July 2011.
Essay, The Use of Images in Engaging Students in Creative and Critical Media Literacy, Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, University of Minnesota, April 22, 2011.
World Gone Beautiful: Life Along the Rum River. Cathedral Hill Press 2008.
Shouts and Whispers: Twenty-One Writers Speak about Their Writing and Their Faith. Edited by Jennifer L. Holberg. Eerdmans 2007. Buturian's interview with Kathleen Norris.
"Crossing Boundaries to Create a Learning Mosaic that Fosters Cross-Cultural Understanding" With Catherine Solheim (FSoS) and Susan Andre (CEHD), Internationalizing the Curriculum and Campus Conference, Global Programs and Strategy Alliance, University of Minnesota, April 11, 2014.
"Digital Storytelling: From Process to Product" With Pete McCauley, videographer, CEHD, Professional Association for Computer Training (PACT), Golden Valley, MN, December 13, 2013.
"Making Meaning with Technology: From Design to Assessment, Pedagogically Informed use of Technology in the Classroom" With Postsecondary Teaching and Learning Colleagues (PsTL), for Mankato, Winona, and St. Cloud State Universities, Academic Technology Faculty and Staff, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, April 29, 2013.
"Digital Storytelling that Fosters Engagement and Knowledge in First Year Students" With Mike Stebleton, annual First Year Experience Conference, Orlando, February 22, 2013.
"Enhancing Learning in a Hybrid Literature Course with Online Technologies" With Alison Link, PsTL Technology Fellow/Graduate Student, Minnesota Association for Developmental Education MNADE, Walker, MN, September 27, 2012.
"Digital Media: Giving Voice to Students and Fostering Global Learning" With Catherine Solheim, (FSoS), 28th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning, University of Wisconsin, Madison, August 8, 2012.
"Integrating Sustainability Themes in Teaching and Learning" Sustainability Across the Curriculum: Workshop for Faculty, Institute on the Environment, Institute for Advanced Studies, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, East Bethel, MN, June 7-8, 2012.
"Digital Storytelling as Global Development Learner Tool“ With Catherine Solheim (FSS), Internationalizing the Curriculum and Campus Conference, Global Programs Strategy Alliance, University of Minnesota, March 2012.
“The Mekong Initiative: Using Digital Stories to Connect Communities through Water” With Catherine Solheim (FSS), College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, December 10, 2011.
“Digital Storytelling and Internationalizing Teaching and Learning” With Cristina Lopez (OIT), Global Programs and Strategy Alliance and Learning Abroad Center, University of Minnesota, November 4, 20112
"Integrating Digital Media into Teaching and Learning: Best Practices and the Benefits of Collaboration," Presented with Scott Spicer, Smart Learning Commons, Office of Instructional Technology, June 2010.
“Creating a Culturally Inclusive Classroom – From Pedagogy to Practice,” Co-facilitator Ilene Alexandar - Center for Teaching and Learning, Co-sponsored by College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences and College of Biological Sciences Curriculum Revision Guidelines Task Force, January 2010.
“Water for Peace: An Iraqi-US Partnership,” College of Education and Human Development, Office of International Programs, Muslim Peacemakers Team, Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project, September 2009.