Cindy Nichols, Senior Lecturer
Office: South Engineering 318F
I've been at NDSU for many, many years. If you want to be my friend, don't ask.
I grew up in Ojai, California, a small town just south and inland of Santa Barbara. I hold a BA in English Lit. from Humboldt State University and an MFA from the Iowa Writer's Workshop. My teachers included Jorie Graham, Stanley Plumly, James Galvin, Marvin Bell, Donald Justice, and others. Graham, who was my primary mentor, is currently Boylston Professor at Harvard University. Reflected glory.
I'm something of an academic mutt, since I have education and teaching experience in Literature, many years in the Composition/Rhetoric trenches, and a main degree (and primary interest) in Creative Writing. I'm something of a theory-head as well, which is why I've been teaching several semesters of our 271 (Literary Analysis) course. I actually really love lit. crit., I'm mad for ideas, and (now that I'm past the jargon barrier) interested in writing some of it—or, at least, writing a sort of hybrid "creative theory." (Creative Theory? Plug it in to Google and you'll get "Dynamic Theory, Inc.," "A Creative Conspiracy Theory," and "Toward a Theory of Creative Inklings." I'm not sure what any of that is, but I sort of like it. ) ("Creative Inklings"?)
Teaching philosophy: respect students, aim for as much active learning as possible, and (here comes my California DNA), "be real." What that means for me is that I try to be a "person" in my classes and not just a talking head. I'm uncomfortable in positions of authority and so my "teacher's persona" isn't very different from my everyday-out-on-the-street doofus persona. I respect hands-off, student-centered teaching, but find that I enjoy being a student in my own classes too much to stand back very much! I like to engage students just as people like myself trying to figure out what's what.
None of which means I don't take teaching seriously. Years of insomnia prove that I do! And don't think for one minute that I can't be a hardass. Insomnia can make a person REALLY cranky.
I write poetry, new media, and a lot of mixed-genre stuff. I'm definitely a person who thinks outside the box—so much so that I sometimes lose the box altogether. It's a problem.
Favorite contemporary writers include—well, all of my former teachers…Also Dean Young, Lyn Hejinian, Frank O'Hara, Fanny Howe, Annie Proulx, Elizabeth Bishop, Lucie Brock-Broido, and, well, it goes on for miles. I've been researching what these days is called "Creative Writing Studies," a relatively new field that explores Creative Writing pedagogy and craft criticism.
My creative as well as scholarly work has appeared in a variety of national print and electronic journals. You can view my badly-in-need-of-updating homepage at: http://www.ndsu.edu/instruct/cinichol/
I live in Moorhead where I am happily married to John.
I hate every photo ever taken of me, so see pics of my office and cat Mojo.
Good inklings to you.
Last Updated: August 20, 2012.