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Faculty and Staff

Elisa Berry
Elisa Berry
- Assistant Professor & Embedded Tutor Program Coordinator

Introduction to College Writing; Supplemental Writing Lab; Introduction to Literature; Writing in the Disciplines


When I was a kid, I did not have teachers that movies are made about—they didn’t care about me, and I didn’t care about them. And very quickly I checked out, staying away for about ten years. When I did return, to a community college at the age of 26, my experience was the absolute opposite. I met engaging teachers who were invested in my success, which made me curious to learn and invested in their approval. Two years later I entered the excellent liberal arts university UNC-Asheville and my experience only got better. Gradually, my motivation to please my professors turned inward and became self-sustaining, my skills skyrocketed, and my very concept of myself changed. My vision of the world changed. And so, I know first-hand the transformative power education can have in broadening an individual’s perspective, while deepening the roots of their place within it. This experience taught me that learning and teaching at its best is relationship based.

I entered graduate school when I was 36, after working odd jobs, traveling to odd places, and meeting odd, extraordinary people. Along with my education, I also bring all these experiences with me into the classroom. And I share them. I tell my first-year writing students about my early years feeling like an academic failure, and about the great joy I now get from knowing stuff and engaging in critical, complex conversations. I like to get to know my students—their strengths and fears, their interests and apathies, their goals and confusions. By doing this as a class, they get to know each other too. These relationships foster ideas that give my students engaging things to think about and write about. At the end of a successful semester, I look around my classrooms at students leaning forward in their desks, laughing with each other, spending time with each other outside of class. I have to rein in class discussions, because everyone has something to say. Their writing is thoughtful and fun, takes risks, and shows great improvement. Fantastic! It is in the magical space of those relationships, the unique creature that is each class personality, that I believe the best learning and teaching occurs. And I’m honored to play a part in that journey for my students.

Outside of school, I like to spend as much time as possible at home in the country with my husband, Walt Whitman, and our menagerie of misfit goats, chickens, dogs and cats.

Pedagogical Interests:

Currently, I am developing curricula that address the growing complexity students face while reading and researching in an era of rampant disinformation, especially in digital formats. These strategies include incorporating a larger framework for teaching critical, mindful reading skills and incorporating news-as-text pedagogy into the first-year composition classroom.

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 Last Modified 4/24/18