Michele Dunnum - Faculty - English

If I had not become an English professor, I would have become a neuroscientist. I am fascinated by how our brains work, how they learn, and how they develop patterns of thinking that can have a tremendous impact on our whole lives, for the better or the worse.

My English 101 course asks students to examine the patterns of thinking that they have developed around writing, reading, learning, and college in general. We read other writers and reflect about how their ideas and narratives might help us better understand our own thinking and develop mindsets that will help us reach our goals. Our research writing focuses on personal or academic challenges we are facing, with the aim of developing strategies and solutions for our real lives, even as we accomplish English 101 course objectives.

In English 102, we examine our patterns of thinking in the context of argument, exploring the differences between emotional gut-level reaction and critical thinking. We aim in this course to slow down our reactivity when we encounter an argument and to develop our ability to think about the quality of evidence presented to us. At the same time, we work to develop our own ability to present an argument rationally, without manipulating our audience. These skills are crucial not only for effective college writing, but for effective citizenship and even day-to-day personal communication.

I have been teaching in Mott’s English department since Fall of 2004. Prior to that, I completed a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, where I also taught developmental writing students and worked as a consultant in the Sweetland Writing Center.

I chose to teach at Mott Community College because Community College students are more interesting than students at any other kind of educational institution. I thrive in the diversity of a Mott classroom (face-to-face or online), where students range in age from 17 to 75 and bring with them a tremendous amount of wisdom and life experience. Even the youngest have stories to tell, and these stories keep me engaged.

What makes students successful in my courses is participating in class and trusting me-- which means engaging in the learning process that I have designed, taking intellectual risks, and asking questions.

Students who take my class tell me that my course is challenging but fair. They appreciate the safety net that I have created; the opportunity to revise most writing assignments for a new grade helps students feel more comfortable taking on difficult tasks.