• Bonnie Yarbrough
  • Bonnie Yarbrough
  • ENG
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  • Lecturer
  • btyarbro@uncg.edu
  • 3105 MHRA
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  • At UNCG Since:
  • Fellow for Communication Across the Curriculum
  • Bonnie Yarbrough
  • Fellow for Communication Across the Curriculum
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  • Why Teaching?
  • Teaching for me is about making meaningful connections. There’s no better way to do that than to look in someone’s eyes and watch an idea begin to take shape and spill out onto a page. If everyone in the room is working on the same question, collaborating, arguing, debating, and defending, engagement is a shared experience that shapes understanding, recollection, results. More than anything, I enjoy watching that process play out.
     
    Like others here, I had some great teachers along the way who introduced me to new works and to new ways of reading. In the small, seminar courses I took, they gave me an opportunity to talk about my perspective and to explore other points of view and stunningly, made me believe that they were interested in what I had to say. Great teachers do that. Those irresistible early experiences made me want to create a connection with others equally committed to issues or to texts.
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  • Why English?
  • A love of literature, of language, of words led me to study English as a discipline. I remember being mesmerized by the sound of medieval poetry in a course during my first semester in college. The language was compelling, foreign, and . . . English; but it was not a language I had ever heard—despite the vague similarity to some elementary German my mother had taught me. After completing my first year as a math major and taking an honors seminar in English, I changed my major; the next year I added French. And there was so much more to learn about the complexity, elegance, and power of language.
     
    Why English? Rhetoric forms the foundation from which we understand how words work, how they move others, and how they shape the world. Literature gives us a unique way to access the past, and creative writing allows us to map our personal journeys through the present. Professional writing is the most valued communication skill today. That reality alone has allowed me to work in other departments, in organizations, in business, in the community, and in other countries. As a teacher of writing—academic, professional, interdisciplinary, business and technical—I am drawn to the process, including invention, exploration, surprise, affirmation, and analysis. As an editor, I love the challenge of precision in the product.
     
    English—as a language and as a discipline—is versatile and organic. For writing embraces both use and abuse. It conveys meaning in poetry and prose. It relays messages in codes and tweets. It can reveal and conceal, clarify or obscure. Respecting language’s adaptability, as well as its capability, is both a pedagogical concern and a practical exercise: more than ever before, the ability to communicate effectively is critical to a successful career. My own path has been labyrinthine, winding through various applications in other disciplines and professions. For our students, who may move on to become teachers, writers, consultants, attorneys, nurses, editors, publishers, or marketers, knowing how to make words work will be paramount.
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  • Why an FTLC Fellowship?
  • Innovation is a great energizer, and the FTLC is like an incubator for innovation. The FTLC provides a place for those interested in having conversations about new techniques, discussing pedagogy, and presenting new strategies. Broadly, the Fellowship gives me an opportunity to engage with those who enjoy collaboration; more specifically, it provides a home for Communication Across the Curriculum resources so essential for faculty and students alike.
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  • What one thing would you change about UNCG?
  • The quick answer is, of course, a simple one: expand resources. A more thoughtful response would be to provide additional ways and means for faculty to work more collaboratively across disciplines.
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  • What’s Next?
  • Life has a way of presenting an unexpected detours and alternative routes, so I generally resist prognostications. I’m always open to new paths, adventures, and destinations (all I need is a reliable GPS).
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