Jan. 27th, 2009

dieselsandwich: A picture of me with purple hair (Default)
Oh fuck no.

Not only are they trying to take away the job of my most favorite and best professor, they're also trying to slander her to the academic community at large. This was the woman who gave me my passion to write and the skills to pull it off.

These fuckers try to slander her and fire her. All because she wouldn't play their little bullshit in departmental politics games. Fuck them. It's time to write angry letters.


To whomever it may concern,

           

The first class that I had with Rebecca Housel was Creative Writing: Prose Fiction (0502-452-02 during Spring quarter of 2006). I hadn’t written in a while and had mostly given up on it as something that I could really work with. I took the class because I needed an elective to fill out my quarter not because I expected to gain much.

           

The class, however, was beyond what I had ever expected. Not only did Professor Housel re-invigorate my interest (and later passion) for writing but she also did an amazing job in helping me build the skills I needed to ever have a future in writing. I went on from that class to take Creative: Nonfiction (0502-459-01 during the winter quarter of 2007) with her and learned even more of the necessary skills to write confidently, capably and to get across my ideas in ways people would not only understand but be receptive to. She helped me develop my skills so much that I felt confident in changing my liberal arts concentration from psychology to writing studies. Because I took several literature courses after that and Advanced Creative Writing with Stephen Huff (an excellent teacher in his own right) I now have all the courses I need to obtain a Creative Writing Minor. None of that would be possible without Rebecca Housel.

 

Her class structure builds critical skill and writing skill at the same time. We read over several varied types of literature within the prose fiction category (and within the nonfiction category for the nonfiction class) and wrote a small analysis piece on each of them. This built up my critical skill, allowing me to understand how good writing is done and allowing me to analyze descriptive language, settings, tone, story structure, visualization, dialogue and a host of other important aspects of writing. This capacity in turn helped me to analyze and improve my own writing. Of course one learns the best through practical experience and that was something else we received in great amounts in those classes. We worked on several small projects or one large writing project; building the experience we need from writing ourselves. We even did class critique workshops on each other’s work, further developing critical skill, while seeing analysis and critique of our own work firsthand. This was a necessity in building the skills I needed to be a good writer and a confident one at that.

 

She gave us theory lectures on writing, English and literature and even went in depth on the publishing process and how one goes about getting published. Things like this hadn’t even been touched on in previous writing classes I had experienced or known of and I would have been lost without them as I go on to attempt to publish some of my works now.

 

Professor Housel also gave an encouraging and fertile environment to formulate our own ideas and style, and especially in the nonfiction class, a tolerant and safe environment to write about things that were truly difficult to write about. I was able to open up about one of the most difficult things I have ever dealt with (and still deal with) in my life through writing because of that class. Without that I never would have gained the confidence to be able to write from within and from my own experiences in anything, much less nonfiction. She was available and constantly helpful. We knew we could always go to her with questions, concerns or to ask for some advice and critique on our work. I still trust her as a source on my works even now that I’m writing on my own, outside of classes. She was far more available and helpful than most teachers I had, throughout the entirety of my career as a student.

 

She is a professor that cares about whether her students not only do well in class, but come away from that class having learned something truly beneficial and having gained real skills they need to succeed as writers. When I heard that the English Department of Rochester Institute of Technology was attempting to oust her I was disgusted with them. They could only be so lucky to have even one professor as good as her. They could only be so fortunate to have even one professor that actually cared about her students as much as she did and gave them the skills, experience and knowledge that is so important for not just writing but doing it well. They could only be so lucky to have Rebecca Housel.

 

It is not their loss if they attempt to get rid of her. It is the loss of the students who will lack her knowledge, her experience and her willingness to go the extra one thousand miles to make sure her students gain the confidence, knowledge and experience they need to be writers. I may not be able to change the flimsy and foolish case that her department makes against her using less than ten poor student reviews (knowing full well that they likely had to scrape and search to even find that number) but I will not stand idly by while these English department bureaucrats (who seem to care more for politics than for teaching) attempt to slander her reputation outside of RIT as well.

 

Without Rebecca Housel I would not be a writer at all, much less a good one. Without her I would not have taken those other classes within that same department that seeks to drag her name through the mud. Without her I would not be filling out the paperwork for the Creative Writing Minor with all the requirements already filled by fortunate accident. She is, and I do not exaggerate, the single best professor I have ever had. Better than any of the professors for even my major.

 

Sincerely,

Sophia Lafergola


There may be some editing before I send it. For grammar and whatnot.

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dieselsandwich: A picture of me with purple hair (Default)
Sophia Lafergola

October 2010

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