Skip to main content
Go! Register for Spring today!


Writers Conference: 2016

Columbus State Community College
13th Annual Writers Conference
Saturday, April 23, 2016 (9am-5pm)
Columbus State Workforce Development Center
Columbus, Ohio

*Conference is free of charge this year: lunch will not be provided, but there will suggested group lunches around local establishments*

For Registration Information and Proposal Submission, Contact Mike Wright: OR Heather Thompson-Gillis:

Keynote Speaker: Hanif Willis

Writers Conference Keynote

HANIF WILLIS-ABDURRAQIB is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poems and critical essays have appeared in PEN American, Muzzle, Vinyl, Pitchfork, The FADER, MTV, and the New York Times. His first collection of poems,The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, is forthcoming in 2016 from Button Poetry/Exploding Pinecone Press.


Judith Rogers: CSCC Adjunct Instructor Retires after 35 YEARS of Service

This was taken north of the Arctic Circle when I was dogsledding on my Norwegian trip. Of course, I am the woman in the back...ha!

Future Plans: Include wintering in the Sedona/Oak Creek area of Arizona and continuing to write and design and teach classes through OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offered through Yavapai College. I am also blessed with three wonderful children and five grandchildren with whom I hope to grow and travel for many more years.

My kids say I can't go into Kroger, Walgreens, Rocky Boots or just about anywhere in Central Ohio without someone approaching me and saying a version of "Do you teach at Columbus State?"  One of my former students included the President of a Fortune 200 company.

Memories: A friend had been told by his English teacher he "wasn't college material" and spent his work life repairing typewriters. With Bruce Ardinger's permission and the permission of my 102 class, I had him come to a class discussion of an essay in the text he had read beforehand. He was only going to "watch" but it wasn't five minutes before he was sharing his opinions in a relaxed give-and-take. The students said he was welcome any time and afterward he said, "That wasn't work; it was fun." It didn't change his career or the content of his daily life, but it sure changed his confidence in other settings.

I have taught as adjunct English faculty for 35 years; if I taught this semester, I would be starting my 36th year. I had official (recognition) credit for 75 quarters (15 years) but with the change to semesters occurring when I had 99 quarters, I have heard no more about service awards. I also retired through STRS and was rehired at some point, resetting the clock, which in my opinion shouldn't apply to adjuncts since we have no union, seniority, etc. Since I have 66 graduate hours and was ready to sit for my generals at OSU on a M.A. bypass program, I have taught both freshman- and sophomore-level courses including Creative Writing, literature-based courses, Technical Writing, and Speech. I also developed targeted Communications seminars for the old Business and Industry Division of CTI, presenting them at Ashland Chemical and other local corporations. For 26 years, I taught at CSCC and worked a day job; the longest tenure was 19 years in the Communications Department of Columbus City Schools. I held positions ranging from Communications Specialist through Acting Director and retired as Public Information Officer. I also worked in marketing and public relations for Doctors Hospital and Cardinal Industries.

Writers Conference: 2015

Columbus State Community College
12th Annual Writers Conference
Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 (9am-5pm)
Columbus State Workforce Development Center

Columbus, Ohio

*Conference is free of charge this year: lunch will not be provided, but there will suggested group lunches around local establishments*

Keynote Speaker: Jaswinder Bolina

Jaswinder Bolina

For Registration Information and Proposal Submission, Contact Mike Wright:

-Extended deadline for proposals of March 15th, 2015.


Outstanding Adjunct Award: 2014

-Nominations were made by faculty to recognize the stellar work of the department's adjunct instructors.  There are three nominees, and the winner will be awarded at the English Department, Spring 2014 Semester Meeting, May 01, 2014.  Following is a profile on the three nominees:

Sarah Armstrong:

My name is Sarah Armstrong, and I am an adjunct English professor, a Freshman Seminar professor and a Writing Center/Online Writing Center tutor at Columbus State Community College (CSCC). I have been with the college since 2009. Although I work in Columbus, I live in Dayton, Ohio with my 13 year old son, E.J. In Dayton at Sinclair Community College, I teach Developmental Writing, and in Springfield at Clark State Community College, I teach College Preparatory Writing. Soon, I will also be teaching Public Speaking and Interpersonal Communication at Clark State.  Obviously, I am looking forward to the day when I only teach at one school, which is why I am finishing up my M.A. in English online with Southern New Hampshire University. I will be finished with this program in June 2014. Currently, I have a B.A. in English (Minor: Communications) from Wright State University and a M.A. in Education from Antioch McGregor University.  In the past, I have tutored with Sylvan Learning Center and Huntington Learning Center. I have also taught at Wright State University, Miami Jacobs, Montessori Learning Center, and other Dayton public schools (as a substitute teacher).

My passion is teaching and learning. Teaching is a way to take what a student knows and build on it. It is an act that touches a student’s life and changes him/her, preferably for the better. I think that education informs, encourages critical thought and changes minds and lives. Because I believe this about teaching, I also seek out opportunities to be taught. I have attended various workshops and conferences where I have learned about technology such as Turning Points clickers, WebEx, Angel, and Blackboard; learned about how to be a Change Agent in the classroom by encouraging diversity, acceptance, and a safe space; and learned additional teaching pedagogy that has improved my teaching ability. My best teaching practices have been using humor to keep students engaged; answering the question of “why” for all of my assignments, so that student’s understand my objective;  and developing a sense of community in my classroom. I think it opens up the floor to so many opportunities for true learning. Once the classroom environment is in place, I can truly touch minds.

Outside of the classroom, I try to be engaged in the learning community. Over the years,  I have contributed to the selection of a common reading texts for Wright State students, assisted with the review and improvement of the composition rubric for the Language Development courses at Columbus State Community College; contributed to the selection of essays for Et Al, a publication of Columbus State’s Writing Center; participated in Advanced Adjunct training and the National Tutoring Association training; Conducted and prepared a research paper and presentation related to the following topic: “Trauma that binds the book of our lives: Recovery through Reading, Reflecting and Writing” for the annual TYCA Midwest conference in October 2011; participated in the Gentileschi Academic Symposium: Defining Herself: Women, Art & Expression by presenting a research paper on her life, her work, and the possible connection to art therapy; presented at the Instructional Success Committee Faculty Idea Exchange Summer 2013 Conference on the topic of “Ebonics in the classroom.”; participated in book discussions and obtained recognition at Sinclair Community College as being a Change Agent; tutored and mentored individual students of various ages; and currently, I’m participating in the selection of the new textbook for the Beginning Composition courses at Columbus State Community College. I stay busy and I have many more plans for the future, which may sound like a lot, but as it often quoted, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” I am doing what I love, teaching and learning.  My personal website is

Kelli Nowlin:

I have been teaching on-site and online at Columbus State for six years in the English Department, but I also teach COLS classes. I have a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and a master’s degree from Otterbein University.

Prior to Columbus State, I spent 13 years in the media/communications field, including as a producer for WKKJ FM and NBC4-TV and the Communications Director for Franklin University. During those years, I also worked as a freelance writer for local newspapers.

History is one of my passions, and I volunteer each year for National History Day where middle and high school students across the state present original essays, theatrical performances, exhibits, websites and documentaries. I was also lucky enough to be able to co-author a historical book called Cradles of Conscience, a book highlighting the history of Ohio’s independent colleges.

I am married and have three children.

What are some of your best classroom practices for keeping students engaged?

I tend to focus on exploratory learning. I don’t believe that students learn a great deal when we simply give them the answers. When they explore a subject and have to use multiple levels of intelligence to develop their ideas, not only is the learning more meaningful, but they develop confidence and a sense of pride in their abilities. I also use group projects such as debates and incorporate technology to keep them engaged.

What do you enjoy most about teaching for CSCC's English Department?

I love that I have always felt supported by the department. I can’t remember a time when I had a concern or needed advice and turned to a colleague, lead faculty or program chair and wasn’t offered guidance and support.  I also enjoy teaching at CSCC because I love the diversity of the students.

What have been your most memorable teaching moments?

There have been so many memorable moments, but one that has always stuck with me was when a student with Dyslexia, who also worked in a prison, wrote an amazing narrative comparing life with Dyslexia to life behind bars. He stayed after class one night to tell me that he felt like he had been ‘paroled’ for the first time in his life because that narrative was the first time he had been able to write something he could be proud of. He stayed after to thank me for helping him, but there is no doubt that he deserved all the credit. 

Which composition course do you most enjoy teaching?

I can’t say that I enjoy one composition course over another because they’re so different. The students in 0190 often need someone to ‘hold their hand’ until they gain confidence in themselves, and I find that very rewarding. On the other hand, I love watching the 1100 students really take off in their writing.

Beyond teaching, what have been some of your contributions to Columbus State?

I have been fortunate enough to serve as a judge for the college’s “In My Own Words” narrative writing contest, help students work on submissions to Spring Street and Et al., and represent the college as a volunteer judge at the annual National History Day contest.

What would you say is the importance of an adjunct instructor to the department and college?

I would say adjuncts are important to the college because they can bring real-world experience to the classroom, can focus on teaching as opposed to administrative tasks, and can support full-time faculty who carry a heavier teaching load.

What made you want to become a teacher and pursue teaching in the English field?

While I loved working in the media, I had a strong desire to make a difference. Then while working with students at Franklin University, I realized that the classroom was where I needed to be. I have always been particularly fond of the English language and literature, so English was the natural choice.

 If you had five minutes with any author, who would it be, and what would you ask them?

I would ask John Steinbeck what the last years of his life were really like. As a huge fan of his writing, I always found it sad that many people turned against him in his later years. In fact, he responded to a request to name a school in his hometown after him by saying, ‘‘If the city of my birth should wish to perpetuate my name clearly but harmlessly, let it name a bowling alley after me or a dog track or even a medium price, low church brothel; but a school!’”

What is your favorite novel, poem, t.v. show, etc?

My favorite novel is The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. My favorite poem has always been “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost. My favorite television show is Blacklist.
What other activities/hobbies do enjoy whilst not teaching?

When I’m not teaching, I am usually at a baseball game watching one of my sons or at gymnastics watching my daughter.  If I have a chance to really get away, I will always choose the beach.

Robert Ryder:

Profile: Rob is originally from the Washington, D.C. area and studied communication with a concentration in journalism at George Mason University. Rob obtained an M.Ed. in English Education from OSU and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Writing from the University of Findlay.

-Rob's alter-ego is The Food Pope, and blogs about cooking, food, and the teas of the world. Rob's wife Lindsay and kitties Manny and Nemo help Rob explore new recipes and enjoy helping him sample his culinary creations.

-Rob is also interested in the paranormal, and recently had an article published about The Ohio Frogman in FATE magazine. Last weekend Rob attended The Ohio Bigfoot Conference and is working on a freelance article about the many Bigfoot sightings that have occurred an hour and a half east of Columbus State.


1. One of my best activities to keep students engaged is to incorporate a lot of in-class writing into class sessions and to show students my own published writing to encourage students to see how writing does not only occur within the classroom for a grade.

2. I love the people within the CSCC English Department. I have made so many friends and appreciate all of the support and encouragement I receive from my colleagues.

3. My most memorable teaching moments have been moments of very candid, authentic class discussion. Through discussion, classes become a community and we critically examine our hopes, passions, and dreams for the future.

4. My favorite course to teach is ENGL0190. I love to see students start to find their voices as writers.

5. Beyond teaching, I work in the Writing Center and always try to find ways to connect with and encourage our students outside of the classroom. I try to smile as often as possible, showing students I love to be here and they should too!

6. Adjunct instructors bring with them a wealth of personal and professional experiences that make our classrooms amazing learning environments.

7. I have always loved writing, learning, and sharing my experiences with others. Teaching became a natural extension of these passions I have in life.

8. My favorite restaurant is La Chatelaine. It's French-inspired, cheap, and the food is always fresh. What's more to love?

9. If I had five minutes with Adrienne Rich I'd ask her how poetry has empowered her to fight for change in society throughout her life.

10. My favorite TV show is the British Comedy Keeping Up Appearances depicting the life of hilarious homemaker Hyacinth Bucket

11. When not teaching I love to hang out with my wife, friends, and cats