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Teaching

Trevor Corson Key West class

In addition to his work researching, writing, and editing, like many writers Trevor has also spent a lot of time teaching. Below are detailed descriptions of Trevor's varied experience as a teacher.

Summary

Most recently, Trevor has served as an adjunct professor in the graduate program in creative writing in the School of the Arts at Columbia University in New York City, and has taught full-time in the undergraduate writing program in the Department of English at Columbia. Before that he was a lecturer in the graduate program in science journalism at Boston University, a visiting writer in the M.F.A. program at the University of Memphis, a lecturer at The New School, and a faculty member at Brooklyn Friends School. He has taught writing workshops at the Key West Literary Seminar, the Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism at Harvard University, and the Symbioses BioSocial Network.

Teaching at the Graduate & Adult Levels

The graduate courses Trevor teaches, and his advising work and workshops, tend to draw together elements of literary creative writing, including craft techniques from memoir, fiction, and poetry, with elements of conventional and immersion journalism, along with insights from science and technology studies where applicable. While helping students think deeply about journalistic ethics, the social context of different sources, and the complex relationships between writers, subjects, and readers, Trevor strives to give students a range of approaches to reporting, researching, and constructing essayistic, literary, and narrative nonfiction in a variety of forms, short and long. Trevor also teaches these approaches as ways to enhance news reporting and the communication of science to the public. In Trevor's classes students often work in science- and environment-related subject areas, but also engage with food, health, religion, gender, race, and other subjects. As both a teacher and an editor Trevor has worked closely with nonfiction writers on structuring book-length projects as well.

Teaching at the Undergraduate Level

The writing courses Trevor has taught in the undergraduate core curriculum at Columbia University were structured around four demanding essay assignments every semester, each involving an intense process of drafting, feedback, and revision. The courses also included in-class student presentations and regular one-on-one teacher conferences. Trevor worked with a highly diverse range of college freshmen, mid-career adults, and military veterans from a variety of backgrounds. Students learned to craft compelling essays, conduct rhetorical analysis, assess and use a variety of journalistic and scholarly sources, develop their own research projects, workshop each other's writing, and enter the public sphere by writing and submitting their own op-eds for publication, some of which were published in online and mainstream journalistic venues.

Most recently Trevor's undergraduate writing courses were themed around contemporary readings in American Studies, a subject area in which he led a curriculum team that developed units on race, class, political rights, and free speech. For two years Trevor also taught similar courses at Columbia themed around gender and sexuality studies, and served on a curriculum development team in that subject area as well. Trevor also supported first- and second-year instructors through formal mentorship and class-observation reports, and in the past has served as a teaching assistant for the Department of English's graduate training course in writing pedagogy, Teaching Writing: Theory and Practice.

Teaching East Asian Studies

Earlier in his career Trevor taught East Asian studies—in an undergraduate seminar at The New School in New York City that examined Japan through food, religion, and erotica, and as a member of the faculty of Brooklyn Friends School for two years, where he developed and taught a new East Asian studies curriculum in the upper school, including courses in the modern history of China and Japan and in classical Chinese philosophy, as well as language classes in Mandarin Chinese.

Lecturing at All Levels

In addition to his teaching duties Trevor has been a frequent public speaker at schools, universities, and symposia throughout the United States on the topics of his books, emphasizing environmental stewardship and how personal choices can contribute to sustainability.

Learn more about Trevor's work as a public speaker.

Testimonials

From Miles Frieden, Executive Director of the Key West Literary Seminar:

"Trevor Corson is an outstanding workshop leader. He led a weeklong class on narrative nonfiction, a class that included students from a wide array of backgrounds, abilities and approaches. He provided everyone with detailed attention and engaged class members in improving their own and others' writing. He was unfailingly accessible and kind to students throughout. He also provided essential information about nonfiction writing, its mores and ethics, and how it differs from memoir, fiction and other forms of writing. We strongly recommend Trevor as a teacher and workshop leader."

From Buki Papillon, novelist and former writing workshop student:

"I will always be immensely grateful for Trevor Corson's class. I learned a lot about nonfiction writing techniques and skill and also enjoyed the class immensely. Trevor's workshop approach fostered a true spirit of community amongst his students as he encouraged each of us to contribute to the critiquing process in a way that maximized the results for everyone. Trevor's own critiques were insightful and, between the diagrams he would occasionally create on the board and his analysis of each student's story, I left feeling that I had gained more from his workshop than I imagined possible. I carried with me the basic important fact that in order to write successful nonfiction, I have to tell a good story while unobtrusively weaving in verifiable information. I also very much appreciated the fact that Trevor treated every one of us as talented writers who one day could be fellow professionals, so that I left his class feeling both challenged and encouraged that we had all been given the tools to steer safely through writing our own real stories."

From undergraduate student evaluations at Columbia University:

"Professor Corson is by far the best University Writing professor. He excels in teaching the course, while at the same time providing helpful feedback in a thoughtful way. He gives each student so much attention and love, and really has helped me grow as a writer and college student. Overall 11/10 rating."

"It is rare to receive such dedication, interest and time in writing courses. Prof. Corson holds each and everyone of us to a high standard, and I worked ten times harder to make sure I met those expectations, because Prof. Corson emphasized how important this course would be for the rest of my academic life."

"He was amazing. He brought a great amount of experience to the table and always made me think in new ways about my writing. I will be recommending him to anyone freshmen I meet next year."

"Prof. Corson is a great professor and a good fit for this class. He always gave useful feedback and was very helpful in the drafting process as well, since he always came up with creative ways to approach a topic."

"I am not fond of University Writing, and it was an absurdly hard semester. Prof. Corson, though is tough but absolutely immense as a professor. His personal charisma in class is almost limitless, and the fact that he is a professional writer himself means that his comments are well-thought out and helpful. Overall, you may work quite hard for Prof. Corson, but he cares about his students and works hard for your benefit as well. He is an incredible professor, and the shining star of my overall bleak time in UW."

From Dr. Robert Ginsburg, Professor, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami:

"Trevor Corson delivered an insightful and constructive seminar providing crucial tips for helping our scientists and experts communicate their work to the public."

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