Dylan Altman is an alumnus of California State University, Northridge. He received for his Master of Arts in English(2014) and his double major in Honors Literature and Creative Writing in 2011. He teaches Business Writing, Creative Writing, Literature, Comic Studies, and Video Games as Literature at several colleges and community colleges in Southern California. In 2015, he formed a small Press called Select Start Press. Select Start Press is dedicated to writing and talking about video games in the same way people discuss literature. At his core, Dylan believes in the power of narrative to change the world one mind at a time.
I received my undergraduate degree from Albright College in Philosophy and English (dual concentration) in May of 1997. I received my master’s degree from California State University, Long Beach in Linguistics, Teaching English as a Second Language, in December of 2003. I received my doctorate of philosophy degree from National Taiwan University in Foreign Languages and Literature in July of 2016. In addition to having taught in four universities in Taiwan from 2011 to 2013, I got started in my college teaching career in January of 2005 at Rio Hondo College in Whittier, California and began teaching English composition and English advanced composition; I continued to teach there until 2010. My teaching at Los Angeles Valley College began in 2013 and I have been teaching English 21, English 28, English 101, and English 103.
Nearly a decade of highly diversified English teaching experience at the community college level. Highly experienced in teaching composition, reading, critical thinking, and debate. Specialized in teaching writing. An emphasis on writing for different genres, with a focus on research. A structuralist when it comes to organizing content in writing. An expert in creating contextualized classes that meet the needs of a diverse population while adhering to Student Learning Outcomes. Ability to conduct both face to face classes as well as online classes.
Jonathan Berliner received his PhD in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. He enjoys working with students at Valley College as they develop skills of argumentation and analysis, particularly as they become empowered by finding their own voices through writing. Professor Berliner has published essays in major scholarly journals and given presentations at colleges and universities around the world, including Oxford, Dartmouth, and Shevhenko University in Kiev. He lives in Sherman Oaks.
Beth Martin Brown is an adjunct professor in the Los Angeles Community College District and has taught English and further writing courses at Los Angeles Valley College and other community colleges for the last twenty years. Some of her classes include short story writing, mythology, history of theatre, and playwriting. She enjoys helping students overcome their fear of writing and explore their abilities through writing.
She is a graduate of the USC Master of Professional Writing Program. Her first college experience was when she attended Gainesville Junior College, Gainesville, Georgia while a junior high school student.
As a playwright, she is the librettist for the children’s musical, The Little Witch of Wichita (www.stageworthy.com). This play won the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Award and has had numerous productions around the country and world. Productions include sold out performances at the renowned Geffen Theatre in Westwood, CA.
Her love of writing plays originated when her one-act play, The Lonely Bull, won the USC Sixth Annual One-Act Play Festival and went on to gain honorable mention in several other play festivals. She studied with Jerome Lawrence (Inherit the Wind) while at USC. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild and Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights (ALAP)
Nancy Carroll received her both BA and MA in English/Creative Writing from California State University, Northridge. A Valley College Alumni, she returns as a published poet, (Night Walks, Yak Press) and is a member of The Southland Poets & Writers, a local writers' consortium that hosts open-mic readings & writing workshops. Also a photographer (mocro art, portraiture and nature), her art informs and energizes her writing. She has won awards for both her poetry and photography, but finds teaching at Valley and working with Valley students equally rewarding.
I graduated with my MA in English Composition in 2012 from CSUN. I received my BAs in English and in History, also from CSUN in 2007. I enjoy reading, writing, movies, Shakespeare in the Park, concerts, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends. In both of my degrees I focused on the role of women, both in literature and historically.
My central work throughout my MA career was focused on how students deal with the concept of identity in the composition classroom. Although my degree is in Rhetoric and Composition, I’ve always been a big fan of Shakespeare, specifically his tragedies such as Othello.I believe that the classroom works best when it is an open place where students can feel comfortable to speak/participate, engage and discuss the material presented to them. Pedagogically speaking Jonathan Alexander, author of Literacy, Sexuality and Pedagogy, was pivotal in my graduate career in guiding me, through his textbooks that I was assigned, in how I wanted to be as a teacher. He focuses on the concept of identity and how students write about themselves and issues that are important to themselves and their futures. I think that what happens inside the classroom has the potential to enlighten how students view their work in the classroom, but also how they engage with the world around them. I try to pick essay topics and assignments that are relevant to today’s day and age. I strive to create an environment where every student feels welcomed and is encouraged to participate.
I earned an A.A. in English and another in history at College of the Canyons in 2011; then, I transferred to CSUN to earn my B.A. in English Single Subject Instruction in 2013 and my M.A. in English Rhetorical Composition in 2015. I currently teach at both LAVC and CSUN.
My various hobbies include comics, handcrafts, 3D printing, and vegan baking, although my real passion has always been communicating with and learning from other people. Since an increasing amount of our communication now takes place online, I hope to use my knowledge of rhetoric and composition to help others make themselves heard. As a first generation college graduate and community college alum, I place a great deal of importance on mentorship, so please come to me with any questions!
Debi Hall has been a Professor at LAVC since 2010. As a graduate of Oklahoma University, Debi began her early teaching career as Program Coordinator for Theater Arts in Oklahoma City. As a College/University Professor, Debi has taught all levels of English at LAVC and other college districts. Debi was the recipient of the Turnitin Global Innovation in 2016.
Debi has received multiple honors and awards throughout her career and is thrilled to call LAVC home. Debi believes in her students and participates in campus programs. Her philosophy is:
When individuals collaborate with an educator to construct a solid foundation for learning, their capacity for success beyond basic skills is limitless. They see the possibilities of infinity.
Susana Marcelo is a lecturer at CSUN and LAVC. Her publications include The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States, In-Flight Literary Magazine, and Virginia Quarterly. She is also the creative director of La Ceiba: The Undergraduate Journal of Central American Studies.
Colette Meade graduated from California State University Northridge with a master’s degree in English Rhetoric and Composition. She picked this major because it focuses on teaching and education as well as writing.
She is also a freelance music journalist who interviews musicians and writes reviews of concerts and music releases for several publications including Consequence of Sound online magazine.
She also works at the LAVC Writing Center, which is a part of the Academic Resource Center (ARC). The ARC provides tutoring in many different subjects free to students (even online). She has worked there since 2012 and it has been a rich and rewarding experience.
As a professor, she says that her philosophy “is firmly rooted in the belief that student of every ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, identity, gender, ability and background can discover and develop their unique talents and capabilities and derive marketable skills from their investment in education. As a professor, it is my goal to help guide students on this journey. I enjoy working at Los Angeles Valley College because I believe that the affordable, inclusive, and accessible qualities of the community college make it a unique and extremely important environment for underserved populations.”
Jennifer Niwa currently offers an Education 203 class through the English Department at Los Angeles Valley College. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology at University of California at Los Angeles in 1990. After working in the field of education as a preschool teacher, she returned to UCLA to obtain her M.E.d. in Teacher Education in 1994.
Ever since then, she has served in teaching, consulting, and administrative positions in elementary education and has fulfilled adjunct positions at Los Angeles Mission College and Los Angeles Valley College in Developmental Communications and Education.
Jennifer believes that educators guide students in pursuing the education they desire. She offers a course of study that students embrace in varying degrees and at their chosen depth. Students charter their own paths toward intellectual development, career readiness, and self-actualization. Outside of living the dream of educating students, Jennifer loves to dance, hike, bike, practice yoga, and spend time with her three children, friends, and extended family.
Tracey Oberman was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. She finished high school at William Howard Taft and then continued on to Pierce Community College, CSUN for her BA in fine art, National University for a CLAD Single Subject Teaching Credential and an MA in English, and The University Of Wisconsin for a graduate certificate in Instructional Design. She is passionate about learning and has been in education since she begun college.
She has been teaching for LAVC for ten years now! She has always loved explaining things - she even used to set up her dolls as if they were in a classroom, so she could pretend to be a teacher, when she was only seven years old. Besides teaching, she loves to draw, read, go hiking, and at times enjoy a glass of wine and an evening with friends.
Tracey’s teaching philosophy is that all students are individual and everyone learns in their own unique way, and she sets up her curriculum to support that idea. She used multiple teaching methods to make sure that all of her students learn the content. She used visuals, videos, podcasts, articles… anything it takes to help get the message across. She believes that the ARCS adult learning theory is best used with college students because she can make the information relevant and even humorous at times, provides positive feedback, and she likes to give assignments that include group work and also she allows her students to understand that they will use the information learned in everyday situations throughout the rest of their lives.
While still in grad school, I began working within Valley's very own Writing Center. My experience being a writing tutor is one that I cherish so much because I acquired a multitude of skills that have proven to be positive influences in my life in many ways. After I graduated, I was fortunate enough to become a part of the English Department, where I've been lucky enough to teach and continue to learn all aspects of reading and writing alongside students.
I earned both a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach, and my interests include fiction writing, fashion, yoga, art, film, animal welfare, and vegan cooking and baking.
Virginia Lee Requa has taught at Los Angeles Valley College for almost twenty years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Political Science from California State University, Northridge. She went on to attain her Master of Arts Degree in English from CSUN where she also earned an Adult Education Credential. With her MA in English, she attained an Emergency Teaching Permit through Los Angeles United School District.
With her Emergency Teaching Permit, she went on to teach English, English as a Second Language and Social Studies at Sun Valley Middle School. After teaching Middle School for three years, she taught part time at several Community colleges including: Los Angeles Valley College, Mission College and College of the Canyons (COC). In addition, she taught a variety of courses at ITT Technical Institute. While an adjunct instructor at LAVC and COC, she also substitute taught at middle schools, high schools and elementary schools throughout the Los Angeles, Castaic and Saugus school districts. Her students ranged in age from five years old to eighteen. At the same time, she also tutored English privately, and professionally for all grade and age levels. During this time, she also enjoyed teaching English as a Second Language at community adult schools. She has taught students in their twenties to seniors. Thus, Virginia Lee Requa has enjoyed teaching at a wide variety of schools, subjects, students. She excels at teaching, tutoring, and substituting English and other subjects within her area of expertise at a wide variety of educational institutions.
Many years ago in her teaching career Ms. Requa decided to formulate her teaching philosophy. Just as colleges have a Mission Statements, so too she believed she needed to include one her syllabus and daily practice in the classroom. She adheres to the following principles: Mutual Respect, Open Communication and Active Participation constitute the basis of her teaching. She has completed fourteen marathons and is training for her fifteenth. She loves reading, writing, bicycling and listening to all types of music.
I have been teaching for almost thirty-five years and I enjoy it. My forte is teaching English: mainly reading and composition. I retired from the LAUSD, after teaching there for two decades. I have been with LACCD and with LA Valley College in particular, since 2005.
I have also taught at Santa Monica College.
I have a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Bombay and a Masters in Education from the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, where I studied creative writing.
My passion is reading and writing stories and interacting with students. I have been working on a novel which I hope to get published soon. I am a fellow of the UCLA Writing Project, since 1988.
I completed my BA in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (1994). My graduate work (MA in Creative Writing) was completed at Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA (2000). I am a freelance writer/editor, and have produced feature stories for national magazines, developed scripted material for radio and television, and published a memoir, Death-defying Nina.
I came to LAVC in 2015 after ten years at Cal State Long Beach, where I had the pleasure of being the Writing Specialist and Program Faculty for federally-funded programs devoted to the academic needs of low-income, first-generation college students: Student Support Services Program, Upward Bound, and The McNair Scholars Program. Prior to my tenure at CSULB, I was an Adult Basic Education instructor for an innovative parolee educational program sponsored by the California Department of Corrections. As an educator, my goal is to inspire students to become life-long learners and embrace their educational journey.
Jennifer Smith has taught English here at LAVC for over eight years. She got her BA in English from Concordia University in Portland (2003), her MA in English from Chapman University in Orange (2006), and just finished her Ed.D in Education from UCLA. Her goals are to become an agent for change in the California Community College system and to lead educators to new paths of communication with students, while still teaching full time at the Community College level. She loves reading and writing, cooking, and going on impulse vacations.
Professor Stark commenced her college education at El Camino Community College, an experience that enables her to empathize with the various needs of community college students. With the Associate of Arts degree, she transferred to the University of California at Los Angeles to study with a major in Literature and a minor in Education.
Two years later she received her Bachelor’s degree and applied to graduate schools. After a semester at Columbia University in New York, where she took classes in Greek Literature and Old English, she enrolled in the University of Philadelphia. The graduate work was in American and English Literature as well as Literary Criticism. Having received a Master’s Degree in Literature, she returned to the West Coast and began teaching at The Bishop’s School, an Episcopal girl’s school in La Jolla, California. During the same time, she attended San Diego State for education courses and was awarded a Community College Teaching Credential. A new community college had just been completed, San Diego Mesa College, and she joined the new faculty to begin instruction in her first college courses. During the five years teaching at Mesa College, she published a Freshman Composition text titled The Search for Self. She started teaching at Los Angeles Valley College in 1969 and soon after published a second text titled The Involved Generation. At Valley, she has taught all of the developmental writing classes as well as Freshman Composition, Introduction to Literature and Critical Thinking. Additionally, she has taught most of the upper division Literature courses as well as English as a Second Language courses. She encourages a learner centered classroom with alternating lectures, student group workshops, applications, discussions, and field trips. Her emphasis for a composition course is the shaping of intellectual strategies to provide the students with a methodology to comprehend, evaluate and communicate about their academic and life experiences. She has been Vice Chair of the English department and assisted a large group of adjunct faculty. In addition to grants for projects such as “Comparative Cultural Literary Images”, and “Freshman Composition for Japanese Learners” and others, she received a Fulbright grant to exchange teach for a year in Norway. Her personal interests focus mostly on reading and listening to music, literature and art lectures on Audible. Also, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and applying her architect husband’s design principles to decorate her home and vacations when possible with her son and his wife.
Bill Wallis was born in the American South and educated at Hendrix College, Southern Illinois University, the University of Nebraska (Ph.D.in Literary Criticism and Creative Writing, 1972), and the Hanover Conservatory (Opera Performance). In 1973, while a member of the faculty in Lincoln, he performed a supporting role in Napoleon, a grand opera that he co-authored. His opera The Vision, based on Lakota myth, story, and song, was set to music and performed as part of the American Bi-Centennial Celebration in the Great Plains.
Between 1978 and 1985, he worked as a stage director, then as a tenor singing operetta and opera in the European theater. After returning to the United States permanently in 1983, he began teaching and writing in Lincoln, Nebraska; and then Santa Barbara, California. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he is Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of English at Los Angeles Valley College.
In 1992, he performed the World Premier of Robert Chauls’s Song Cycle “Songs of Great Men and Death” at the founding convention of the Emily Dickinson International Society in Washington, D.C. He is a contributing editor for Shofar Magazine at Purdue University Press.
He has published twenty volumes of poetry and prose. His volumes Joshua (1994), Twins (1996), and Selected Poems 1969-99 (2000) were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, Poetry Division. In 2006, his novel Hawk won the Benjamin Franklin Award in Popular Fiction of the Independent Publishers of America. His latest publication is a biography, Prairie Symphony, the Story of Charles Leonard Thiessen, which appeared in 2010. (His works are available on Amazon.com.)
He lives with his wife Leslie and their four children just off the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, where he is a cycling enthusiast.
Scott Weigand received his B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and his M.A. in English with a concentration in composition and rhetoric from California State University Northridge. As director of the Academic Resource Center (ARC), Scott enjoys working with the students, tutors, and faculty in support of student success at Valley.
I have been very blessed to have had the privilege of working at LA Valley College for twenty years. During that time, I have taught a wide variety of courses in basic skills, writing, critical thinking, and literature – but how did I get so lucky to be here in the first place? Well, a LONG time ago, I started off at UCSD studying theater and dance. That led to gaining a big ego at the time, so I auditioned and transferred to UCLA to get a toehold in the world of performing arts. Alas, I was fickle, changed my mind, and then went on to earn a B.A. in English. I have never looked back.
Afterward, I graduated and began working in various writing endeavors: advertising, public relations, magazine editing, and corporate writing. While in the corporate world, I taught a business writing class, and the teaching bug grabbed me. I then enrolled in graduate school and stayed there for a long, long time, earning three teaching credentials and two M.A.’s, all while working as a teacher in public schools. Right before my second daughter was born, I was able to secure a spot at LAVC. That was in 1998. I am thrilled to be here and look forward to many more fun and productive years at “my second home.”