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12 H o wa r d T i n b e r g DOI: 10.7330/9781607326625.c012 HOWARD TINBERG, a professor of English at Bristol Community College, Massachusetts and former editor of the journal Teaching English in the Two-Year College, is the author of Border Talk: Writing and Knowing in the Two-Year College and Writing with Consequence: What Writing Does in the Disciplines. He is co-author of The Community College Writer: Exceeding Expectations, and Teaching, Learning and the Holocaust: An Integrative Approach. He is co-editor of What is “College-Level” Writing? and What is “College-Level” Writing? Vol 2. His publications have appeared in a variety of journals, including College Composition and Communication, College English, and Change. In 2004 he was recognized as US Community Colleges Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the American Council on Education (ACE). He is a former chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. At Bristol, Tinberg teaches four courses in the fall and five in spring which include first-year writing, an English literature survey, and an honors seminar on the Holocaust. In addition to teaching, he is currently serving as chair of the Faculty and Staff Senate. His interview took place on September 13, 2013, via Skype. christine: In “The Teacher/Scholar: Reconstructing Our Professional Identity in Two-Year Colleges,” Jeff Andelora noted that most community college faculty tend to identify first as teachers of English in a two-year college rather than identifying as a disciplinary identity within rhetoric or composition or literature. Where do you see yourself and, by extension, your writing? howard: Well, that’s an excellent question. [laughs] That’s one I’ve thought on for a long time. I think that’s an accurate assessment about two-year college folk, because they’re generalists and teach both comp[osition] and literature; they see themselves somewhat more like English faculty rather than composition and rhetoric faculty . And we have some creative writers as well or people who have MFAs or Masters of Creative Writing who might see themselves as somewhat set apart from comp rhet[oric]. Truth be told, a good deal Howard Tinberg   121 of the comp teaching at two-year colleges is taught by a contingent faculty, indeed, so full-time faculty tend to gravitate towards some of the lit classes. We have a two semester requirement. First semester is expository writing and second semester is kind of writing about literature , and many of the full-time faculty gravitate toward that second course for all kinds of obvious reasons. As for myself, I’m a comp rhet person. I teach mostly the writing 101 with some British literature survey but I’m pretty much a comp guy. christine: Another finding that was mentioned in the Cs [College Composition and Communication] essay I referred to was that twoyear college faculty who publish tend to draw on a wide variety of disciplines to support their research, such as education and psychology. They don’t worry as much about disciplinary loyalties in their scholarship . Do you also draw from a larger pool of research even though you identify as a composition specialist as a scholar? howard: That was certainly the case when I was involved in a writing center. I directed a writing center for many years, and I worked with faculty from across various disciplines. It was really wonderful work and the writing in the disciplines work was delightful. That interdisciplinary focus certainly influenced my own research. Despite the broad reach of some of the work, I think that community college faculty tend to be more insular than perhaps other folks, and given the time constraints and the labor-intensive work, I suspect that we don’t get out all that much . . . [laughs] christine: [laughs] I see. howard: . . . and so we kind of stay within our own department or division . We do have divisional setups in many community colleges so we may be hanging around in meetings with people from the arts area, for example, theater certainly and communications, but not necessarily psychology or history. I happen to teach an interdisciplinary Holocaust course with a colleague in history, and that’s a great experience , but I don’t think it happens often enough at the community college. The local and specific nature of the community college setting has definitely influenced what I want to write about. christine: Some of my MA students have finished reading your coauthored Community College...


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