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Jim Powell

Faculty Spotlight: Powell, Williams bring teaching careers to a close

Jim Powell and Anne Williams, senior lecturers in the Department of English, brought their distinguished teaching careers to a close following the fall 2013 semester. Both spent over 25 years teaching at IUPUI, acting as advisors to the literary journal, genesis, and playing important roles in creating classes and opportunities for students.

Powell began teaching part time at IUPUI in the spring of 1982. During his career at IUPUI he taught various freshmen composition courses and creative writing and literature classes.  During much of his teaching career, he was also the executive director at the Indiana Writers Center. As the executive director, and before beginning his teaching career at IUPUI, he partnered with the English Department to bring authors to Indianapolis and to campus as part of the Writers Center’s residency program.

One of the most satisfying activities of his teaching career was working as an advisor to genesis. He developed the Literary Editing and Publishing (W280) class to guide the journal’s student staff in the process of creating a publication. "Genesis is really the Liberal Arts’ only hard product, something you can show people," he says. "It’s proof our students are achieving something both as writers and editors. It’s a great credential for students. When we did an editing panel a few months ago some of the former genesis editors came and most of them had jobs in the field."

He also developed an Indiana literature class, the first class of its kind in the state. As part of his Elementary Composition 2 (W132) course that focused on issues surrounding Native Americans, he received a grant from the Center for Service Learning and partnered with The Eiteljorg Museum (Indianapolis).

"Whether it was my Writers Center career or my teaching career, over these years it’s all been connected to IUPUI," Powell says. "It’s been a large part of my life and a good part. IUPUI is an inspiring place. You get a wonderful variety of students. It’s never boring around here as a teacher. And I feel like as a writer I’ve learned so much from having taught."

Powell plans to continue to teach on a part-time basis, while also working on his own fiction writing.

  Anne Williams

Anne Williams, senior lecturer in English, began teaching at IUPUI in the fall of 1976. She taught freshmen composition classes and developed classes that took student writers in new directions, giving them an opportunity to gain real world writing experience.

"One of the things I enjoyed most about IUPUI is watching the writing program develop," Williams says. When she began teaching, Elementary Composition 1 (W131) classes consisted of ten essays during the semester with no revisions. Williams deviated from the department’s standard practice and brought revision into the classroom. As pedagogy changed, the department began teaching revision in addition to writing a first draft. "Watching (the teaching of) writing change into the dynamic process has been the very best part of teaching here."

Williams is especially pleased with the courses she developed for the department, which include Res in the Disciplines-Honors (W150), the honors section of Elementary Composition 1 (W131) and Elementary Composition 2 (W231), Writing Biography (W312), Writing for Popular/Professional Publication (W426), and The Art of Fact: Writing Nonfiction Prose (W313). The classes give students experience in skills ranging from interviewing to archival research in preparation for producing public writing.

"The opportunities I’ve had to work with talented colleagues and as an administrator, to shape policy and curriculum for a writing program that touches thousands of students, would never have happened any place else," she says. "This university has developed, come alive and grown in ways nobody ever expected. I love teaching at IUPUI. I look at IUPUI students and they make me really proud. This is a place where people have to work hard to get an education. And they do."

Williams plans to move to Southwestern Colorado and continue writing.

The School of Liberal Arts is thankful for the years of service Professor Powell and Professor Williams have given to the school and its students.