I grew up in Port Carbon, a small town in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, attending Pottsville Area schools. After a few bad experiences with pigeons (as a psychology major), I became an English major in my senior year at Swarthmore, taking a position as a middle and high school English teacher (and drama and distance running coach) at a Friends-affiliated K-12 school in Philadelphia. I taught there for 6 years, completing a Masters’ degree in summers at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English; at Bread Loaf I studied the teaching of writing, theatre practice, drama, American and British literature, and outrunning the bears in the woods. In 1998, I returned to graduate school full time in Literatures in English at Rutgers. There I taught first-year writing and advanced undergraduate drama courses while completing my courses in British cultural and literary studies; my dissertation connected Robert Browning’s early poetry and plays to dramatic criticism and theatrical practice of the Romantic era.
After graduating from Rutgers, I began new research on British women playwrights in the years before and after 1800, and have continued that research to the present, editing a collection of essays on Joanna Baillie (Routledge, 2004) and publishing articles in European Romantic Review, Gothic Studies, Romanticism on the Net, and several essay collections. I also co-founded (with Michael Eberle-Sinatra) the British Women Playwrights around 1800 Web project and have been on the planning committee of three drama and theatre history workshops that have been held in conjunction with the annual conference of the North America Society for the Study of Romanticism.
After graduating from Rutgers, I took a position at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey, developing tests and instructional assessments in language arts, literature, and theatre arts; I learned quite a bit in a short time about large scale assessment. After moving to the Boston area in 1996, I taught humanities for a semester at Boston University’s College of General Studies and writing and Shakespeare at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. I then worked in publications development, evaluation, and research at the Education Alliance at Brown University for 8 years, beginning as the only member of the publications staff and building the entire department of editors and designers before moving on to more administrative and evaluation-oriented work on a U. S. Department of Education regional laboratory grant.
Since arriving at Shippensburg, I have redefined my scholarly work to weave together the strands of my past work and to draw upon my existing relationships in the fields of both education and theatre studies. My current scholarship can be characterized as education development research; it focuses on development of conceptual frameworks, teaching approaches, and educational resources. Building on my past historical scholarship on British theatre history, I have pursued new ways of teaching previously ignored literature and cultural forms. More broadly, in my development research, I pursue new directions in using digital technologies in the humanities, in exploring innovative pedagogical methods in language arts teaching, and in connecting theatre performance to learning about literature and literacy. The directions my scholarship has taken have been driven in part by my desire to develop research and development projects that offer Shippensburg students opportunities to engage in sustained research and development as well.
In teaching secondary English education at Shippensburg, I am not only returning to my home state of Pennsylvania but also bringing together a range of work experiences and intellectual interests (in secondary education, literary, theatre, and cultural history, and education research) in ways that I had always hoped would be possible.
I was granted tenure by Shippensburg University in May 2010.