Professor Goldberry Long wins campus teaching award

Courtesy of UCR Today
Professor Goldberry Long, an assistant professor of creative writing, was awarded the 2012 UC Riverside Innovative Teaching Award at a campus luncheon on May 7. The Innovative Teaching Award is presented each year to faculty who have implemented novel teaching methods that have been shown to improve students’ learning experience.

Creative Writing Department Chair Andrew Winer nominated Long for the Introduction to Creative Writing (CRWT 56) course that she designed and applied to a large class size of over 250 students; generally, creative writing courses are designed for a smaller class size of 15 to 20 students.

Students who have had the opportunity to take CRWT 56 have praised the classroom environment and curriculum. “[CRWT 56 gives you] the chance to really express yourself and open up to a room full of strangers without having to worry about what others may think of you,” stated Dulcie Chou, a second-year student who took the class in winter of 2012.

When asked if it was a challenge to apply a course designed for a class size of 15-20 students to an exponentially larger body of students, Long stated, “My course design is not reliant on the small class model. I designed it with 270 students in mind, and that made it exciting. Also, I have six TAs, which is essential to my concept for the class. The discussion sections are as important to the class as the large lecture,” in an interview with the Highlander.

Winer further elaborated on Long’s innovative practices in an article by UCR Today, in which he explained that Long’s strategy involved “a combination of inventive pedagogy that she, in part, came up with, but also through her sheer talent. She is doing something that is not only remarkable, in terms of her own majors, but it is applicable to professors across campus.”

Students who enroll in CRWT 56 learn various writing techniques that can be applied to fiction, nonfiction, poetry and other forms of writing. Each week, lectures focus on a certain writing technique that students must master and subsequently demonstrate in their own writing assignments. Aside from engaging lectures and weekly assignments, students watch poetry slam videos, music videos and read pieces of literature to supplement their learning experience.

Long instructs her students to retain every creative work in a folder dubbed the “chapbook.” At the end of the quarter, students are able to reflect on their knowledge and observe how it has impacted the quality of their work. “[Long] really cares about each student individually and all she really wants from each of her students is to help guide them towards the right direction to become a better writer,” stated Chou.

One of the central aspects of the class is called the “56 Project.” The project requires students to combine the techniques they learn throughout the quarter and apply it to a single piece of work. “Whether he/she is writing fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, and whether he/she is using autobiography, the student is revealing his/her worldview, emotional perspective and other extremely personal pieces of the self,” stated Professor Goldberry Long in an interview with the Highlander.

Long is also widely known for going extra lengths to establish personal connections with students; this often entails Long telling stories from her own life that serve to inspire students. Long explained that she tries to reveal things about herself “so that students will have a sense of what that looks like. Also, I think students deserve my respect, and part of respecting them, for me, is that I don’t pretend to be superior to them, or less human than they are.”

In addition to teaching, Long has been involved in helping out other professors though the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Colloquium. This is a quarterly series that helps identify and diffuse successful teaching practices among UC Riverside faculty. a

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