I received a doctorate in rhetoric and composition studies (SUNY-Albany), and I did graduate work in creative writing as well, receiving an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. Since 1988, when I arrived at Drake, I have been teaching courses in language theory, writing, cultural criticism, and filmmaking.
I have been recognized as the 2001 Arts & Sciences Teacher of the Year, the 2002 Madelyn Levitt Teacher of the Year, and the 2011 Stalnaker Lecturer. From 2008-2010, I was the College of Arts & Sciences Centennial Scholar; and in 2012, I was awarded the Ronald Troyer Research Fellowship. I currently am the Ellis and Nelle Levitt Distinguished Professor of English.
I have published poetry and essays on writing reform in national journals. I also have written and co-produced a documentary film, A Little Salsa on the Prairie: The Changing Character of Perry, Iowa, which received The Gold Eddy, the highest award in the category of Professional Documentary, at the 2007 Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival. The film has had over 45 public screenings in Iowa, New York, California, and Mexico , as well as been shown several times on Iowa Public Television and on The Documentary Channel.