B.A., Haverford College; Ph.D., Yale University
Jeannine JohnsonSenior Lecturer in the Writing Program
I am the director of the Writing Program and senior lecturer in writing.
Many of the courses I teach, including “Wellesley and the World,” “Poetry and Other Arts,” and "Secrets of the Library," emphasize literature and history, women's issues, and contemporary social trends. One of my goals in teaching is to help students to see writing, research, and scholarly argument not as ends in themselves but as an important way for us to engage with our world. "Live and Learn: Understanding Mind-Body Connections" is a course I have recently team-taught with Connie Bauman of PERA. In it we've explored the history of women's education as a foundation for understanding contemporary issues in science, public policy, and higher learning. The course fits with my aim to cultivate active connections between the classroom and the world beyond it.
I've explored how poets perceive the possibilities and the limitations of similar types of boundary-crossings in my book, Why Write Poetry? Modern Poets Defending Their Art (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2007). In it, I examine the ways in which poets perceive the role of poetry in the broader culture, looking at how they defend its value within their poems and simultaneously question whether this defense is resonating outside them. I continue to be interested in the expression and uses of poetry in today's society.
I'm also interested in developing tools and practices to help students write with clarity, purpose, and an alertness to their audience, and to help educational institutions effectively support and promote their students' writing. In recent years, I have travelled to Japan and China to teach writing and to advise on best practices for teaching and supporting college writers. In the U.S., I have led writing workshops for undergraduates and graduate students, as well as for college faculty in the humanities and in the sciences.
I came to Wellesley in 2007. Before that, I taught in the Writing Program at Harvard, and in the English Department at Wake Forest University.
Beyond campus, I enjoy food, sports, and travel, the latter especially when it involves activities related to food or sports.