Jia-Yi Cheng-Levine is Adjunct Professor of Writing and has been teaching English at the college level for twenty years and has been teaching online and hybrid classes for almost a decade. At Woodbury, she teaches a variety of WRIT courses, mostly WRIT 112, and coordinates the Online/Hybrid Program for the Writing Department. She also helps promote Writing in the Disciplines by working closely with the MBA program to enhance the writing components of its foundational courses. Dr. Cheng-Levine strongly believes that students come to her classes with rich cultural and linguistic backgrounds that give them the tools to become critical readers and effective writers. She designs her classes so that, with proper guidance and rigorous work, students will learn to be self-directed learners, reflective thinkers, and successful writers.
Prior to moving to California, Dr. Cheng-Levine was an Associate Professor of English at the University of Houston-Downtown, where from 1997 to 2005 she taught writing and literature courses, including courses in Asian American Literature and American Ethnic Heritage. Her areas of expertise are American literature, composition, e-learning, nature and environmental writing, and ethnic studies. She has published critical essays in various journals and with Richard Matzen co-edited Reformation: The Teaching and Learning of English in Electronic Environments (2007), a collection of essays on e-learning.
Education: B. A., English, Tamkang University, Taiwan; M.A., English, University of Georgia; Ph.D., English, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Aristi Contos is Participating Adjunct Professor of Writing and teaches in all Academic Writing Program courses. She has spent the last 12 years teaching developmental English, freshman composition, and critical thinking courses at Woodbury University and Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she coordinates the Writing Consultant Program, the Writing for Academic Success Program, and the Writing Awards program at Woodbury. In 2008, she was nominated for Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year at Orange Coast College. Prof. Contos’ academic interest is nineteenth century English literature, specifically fairy tales written by Victorian women, also the topic of the Ph.D. dissertation she is working on at Claremont Graduate University. Her honors thesis for the B.A. was a comparison of the rose as a symbol for knowledge in Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose and Dante’s Paradise. Her M.A. thesis was on Dorothy’s discovery of Self in L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz.
Outside of class, as the Southern California District Chairperson for the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, Prof. Contos organizes festivals for 23 parishes and the annual district level festival. Her responsibilities include helping speakers ages twelve to eighteen research their speeches and practice oration techniques. In addition, Prof. Contos studies Greek folk dance, costumes, and music. Her efforts to preserve Greek cultural heritage take her to Greece every year to visit remote villages where the folk culture is nearly extinct. As a fluent speaker and writer of Greek, she is able to interpret the traditions as they are narrated by old-timers in the villages. This research results in an annual cultural presentation at the Greek Folk Dance Festival. She and her family alsp\o own and operate two restaurants in Long Beach, which have been in business since 1963. Her father, Jimmy Contos, founded the business, which prides itself on its dedication to made-from-scratch food. For the last twenty years, Prof. Contos has managed the North Long Beach location and is currently the corporate secretary. As a Phi Beta Kappa initiate, she has an exceptional dedication to scholarship and academia. She integrates her academic and business experience in the classroom to make learning how to write a practical skill welcome by all students regardless of major.
Education: B.A., English Literature, California State University in Long Beach; M.A., English Literature, California State University in Long Beach; Ph.D. candidate, English Literature, Claremont Graduate University.
Kristal Cutley is Participating Adjunct Professor of Writing and teaches in all Academic Writing Program courses. She joined the Writing Department during the fall of 2007. She serves as a As Director of the Writing Center, she has coordinated the work of a professional/student staff of writing tutors conducting both in-person and online tutorials for Woodbury students. In this capacity, Prof. Cutley has developed training materials and workshops for Writing Center staff, conducted assessment practices, participated in Writing Center outreach initiatives, worked on developing the Writing Center’s online presence, and overseen all aspects of Writing Center operation.
Prof. Cutley is also the principal/founder of Career Courtesy, a professional development firm offering quality and affordable job training assistance and business solutions to clients. As part of her primary functions with Career Courtesy, Prof. Cutley develops cataloged and custom online and traditional face-to-face professional development workshops geared towards working professionals. Workshop topics range from academic success to workplace safety and risk management. Prof. Cutley is a mother of three young children and for the past ten years has committed her spare time to meeting the needs of the underserved and at-risk communities of Los Angeles County. She works with her church to provide training, food, health, and other resources to individuals in need.
Education: B.S., Human Services, Springfield College, School of Human Services—Los Angeles campus; M.S., Management and Organizational Leadership, Springfield College, School of Human Services—Los Angeles campus; Ph.D., Organizational Leadership, University of Phoenix.
Sarah Daniels is Adjunct Professor of Writing. A proud class of 2000 graduate of Woodbury University, she came back to campus in 2005 in a teaching capacity, leading a lively section of WRIT 111. Prior to teaching, Prof. Daniels earned a certificate in poetry from Charles University in Prague. She went on to work as senior textbook editor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine. In 2005, Prof. Daniels and a partner launched a community newspaper, The Valley Social, which earned her the San Fernando Valley Business Journal‘s “Rising Star of the Year” award. In 2006, she took a hiatus from teaching in order to serve as the paper’s the full-time executive editor. Prof. Daniels also served on the board of directors of the Women in Business foundation. In 2007, Prof. Daniels was recruited by Gen-Y Marketing to launch a trade publication for the apparel industry, where she served as the magazine’s publisher and editor-in-chief. During her time there, she was the recipient of the American Society of Magazine Editors full scholarship, which allowed her to attend Stanford University’s Professional Publishing program. Under the tutelage of media luminaries such as Dick Stolley and Bill Moggridge, she won first place in the Media Company Launch Project. In turn, Sarah was hired in a short-term “turn-around” position as executive editor of a jewelry industry trade magazine.
In 2010, Prof. Daniels returned to Woodbury, teaching a section of WRIT 212. In class, she utilizes her professional experience to help students focus on the practical application of business writing, with projects centered on students’ majors and areas of interest. In addition to teaching, Prof. Daniels now owns and operates Play on Words, a multi-faceted creative services agency where she manages a team of writers, editors, and designers and acts as new media consultant for a wide variety of businesses. When she’s not on campus or on the computer, Prof. Daniels enjoys playing Triominos with her family and taking walks with her Australian Shepherd, Moose.
Education: B.S., Business Administration and Marketing, Woodbury University; M.P.W., Professional Writing with a Concentration in Nonfiction, University of Southern California.
Laurel DiGangi is Adjunct Professor of Writing and has been at Woodbury University since 2008. She primarily teaches WRIT 100, 111, and 112 for the Academic Writing Program and is actively involved in its various assessment, consultant, and placement programs. She has also taught PPDv 100, Transition to College, for Woodbury’s Office of Student Development and co-taught ARCH 268, World Architecture II. Prof. DiGangi brings her professional and academic experience to the classroom to enhance her students’ technical and critical thinking skills, with the ultimate goal of instilling within them a better understanding—if not a love—of the writing process. Prof. DiGangi discovered her own love of writing later in life, spending the first 15 years of her career as a graphic designer and illustrator in Chicago. As a designer, she worked for a variety of corporations, design firms, and in her own freelance business. She also served on the board of directors and as president of Women in Design/Chicago, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth of women in the design profession. She was inspired to change careers and pursue her master’s degree in English when an essay she wrote was published in the Chicago Reader, one of the nation’s most prestigious alternative newspapers. She soon became a regular contributor.
Since then, Prof. DiGangi’s journalism has appeared in a number of publications, including USC’s Trojan Family Magazine and Southern California Physician Magazine. Her fiction has been published in Denver Quarterly, Asylum, Atlanta Quarterly and other literary journals. As a former writer and film critic for Entertainment Today, she has interviewed dozens of actors, producers, and directors such as Johnny Depp, Robert Duvall, Drew Barrymore, Ridley Scott,
Peter Jackson, and Joel and Ethan Coen. An avid film buff, Prof. DiGangi’s original screenplays have been finalists in several competitions, as well as optioned.
In addition to teaching, she currently serves her own freelance writing clients and is currently working on several personal writing projects, including a memoir
Education: B.A., Art History (Phi Beta Kappa), University of Illinois/Chicago; M.A., English, University of Illinois/Chicago.
Kelly Dodge is Adjunct Professor of Writing and Organizational Leadership.
Education: B.A., University of San Diego; M.A., Organizational Leadership, Woodbury University.
Reuben Ellis is Associate Professor of Writing, Assistant Chair of the Writing Department, and Assistant Director of the Writing Center. He teaches the foundational WRIT courses offered by the Academic Writing Program, and his teaching background includes courses in composition, newspaper journalism, magazine journalism, creative non-fiction, travel writing, fiction, and literature. For Dr. Ellis, the writing classroom is a lively, engaged workshop environment where students collaborate in developing and expanding their skills. As Assistant Director of the Writing Center, he trains and supports an energetic and committed student staff providing writing support services, mentoring, and other student-centered educational outreach initiatives. Dr. Ellis calls the Writing Center the “Sacred Grove” of Woodbury’s writing culture. HIs campus wide interests include supporting and fostering Writing across the Curriculum, Writing in the Disciplines, and other curricular initiatives seeking to center writing within the academic community. In the area of assessment, and with other colleagues, he leads the Writing Department’s ongoing WPA process of self-evaluation and external program review.
Prior to coming to Woodbury, Dr. Ellis served on the faculty of the Arts and Letters Program and the Masters of Arts Program at Prescott College in Arizona where he taught writing and literature courses, including courses in southwestern American literature and environmental literature. He has also served on the faculty at Hope College in Michigan and Teikyo Loretto Heights University in Colorado. He is a practicing writer himself. His work includes Vertical Margins: Mountaineering and the Landscapes of Neo-Imperialism; Stories and Stone: Writing the Ancestral Pueblo Homeland; and Beyond Borders: The Selected Essays of Mary Austin, as well as many published essays and works of creative writing. He is currently working on a book-length project describing literary representations of ancestral Puebloan peoples and sites. His research interests in the field of rhetoric and composition include applications of directed writing and using sequenced modes to bridge from narrative writing to other forms. Dr. Ellis enjoys spending time in the wild and open spaces of the American southwest. When he doesn’t have a book or a keyboard in front of him, he can be found –or not found—somewhere past the last road.
Education: B.A., English, Western State College of Colorado; M.A., English, University of Idaho; Ph.D., English, University of Colorado at Boulder.
Bert Emerson is Adjunct Professor of Writing. He has taught a full array of WRIT courses, including WRIT 100, 111, and 112, since the fall of 2007. In addition to classroom instruction, he has participated in a variety of Writing Program activities, from evaluating transfer portfolios to assessing writing in other disciplines. During this time, he has also been working on a Ph.D. in English at Claremont Graduate University. With his focus is nineteenth century American literature and culture, his dissertation explores the concept and role of local fictions in the middle years of the nineteenth century and how their expressions of democratic aspirations run counter to the national and sectional forms of the era.
Prof. Emerson’s broader scholarly interests are in figures of print and written discourse, their political ramifications for all people living under at least nominally democratic governance, and the responsibilities of critical practices in our current moment. He enjoys bringing his research interests into the writing classroom to grapple with the most basic concepts of reading and writing and our various educational investments in them. Before coming to Woodbury, Prof. Emerson began his professional career as a college baseball coach before transitioning into the high school classroom, where he spent six years teaching English and coaching baseball at two independent schools, first in Miami and later in Orange County. During his time in California, he has also taught English courses at the University of California Riverside as well as graduate courses in education at Pepperdine University. When he needs a break from reading, writing, and teaching, he enjoys taking a good run.
Education: B.A., English, University of the South; M.A., English, California State University Long Beach; Ph.D. candidate, English, Claremont Graduate University.
Adrik Gharibian is the ESL specialist in the Writing Center. He serves international students who are improving their ESL skills, both in oral and written communication. During his one-year collaboration with the Writing Center as a writing tutor, Mr. Gharibian has assisted hundreds of student writers as they have pursued their goal to become competent and graceful writers.
Before joining Woodbury, Mr. Gharibian taught English courses at accredited colleges and universities overseas and achieved awards for Best Teacher for successfully implementing authentic communication methodology and increasing learners’ communication competencies. As an adjunct professor of English Literature at Azad University in Iran, he enjoyed teaching courses in poetry, short story, literary theory and criticism, prose reading, and academic writing. For a change of mood and pace, Mr. Gharibian enjoys playing music and hunting. He has travelled to several countries on his hunting adventures, and he enjoys spending time in nature. Of course, he always has his guitar with him.
Education: B.A., English Language and Literature, Azad University, Iran; M.A., English language and Literature with minor in American post-modern theater, Azad University, Iran; MBA, Master of Business Administration, Woodbury University, California.
Richard Matzen is Associate Professor of Writing and the Chair of the Writing Department. Soon after joining the university in 2005, he created the Writing
Center and revised two existing writing programs. Since then, he has added numerous writing programs in the areas of hybrid/online teaching, transfer portfolios, writing awards, writing-in-the-disciplines, writing center curriculum, and online tutoring. Currently, his directing the Academic Writing Program includes his collaborating with writing faculty and guiding WRIT curriculum, assessment, and placement. His collaboration with the Writing Center Director has resulted in continual expansion of Writing Center services, and he is developing curricular initiatives to help faculty across the curriculum to use “writing” for teaching,
learning, and assessment purposes.
Before coming to Woodbury, Dr. Matzen taught at Utah Valley State College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, and Northern Arizona University. He has published an article on writing assessment in the Journal for Developmental Education (2004) and a chapter on online assessment of writing in the landmark book, Machine Scoring of Student Essays: Truth or Consequences? (2006). He co-edited the book, Reformation: The Teaching and Learning of English in Electronic Environments (2007), which includes a chapter he wrote and a forward and introduction he co-wrote. He won research awards at Utah Valley State College and helped to create their IRB. His areas of expertise are qualitative research, assessment, writing program administration, composition theory, and sociolinguistics; and his professional experience includes working in various bridge programs—for international, first-generation, or at-risk students—to help them improve their academic writing and adjust to university life in general. After his undergraduate years and before graduate school, he worked as a publisher, freelance writer, musician, and poet.
Education: B.S., Northern Arizona University; M.A., Northern Arizona University; Ph.D., Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Andy McCutcheon is Participating Adjunct Professor of Writing. Since the spring of 2005, he has taught various levels of composition, including WRIT 100, 111,
and 112, and occasional creative writing courses for the Academic Writing Program, as well as themed core courses and comparative literature courses for the Institute of Transdisciplinary Studies. As Academic Writing Program Coordinator, he has helped oversee the English Placement Program since 2007 and the AW/WRIT 112 Transfer Portfolio Program since 2008. He is also involved with assessment at the department and curricular levels through his facilitation of the Academic Writing Program’s syllabus review and his participation in the C- Portfolio Review each semester. He has served on the Academic Appeals and Faculty-OSD Advising Committees and is a regular participant in Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) events.
In addition to his academic work, Prof. McCutcheon is a published singer/songwriter and poet who performs and reads his work publicly both as a solo artist
and with his bands, The Reversibles and The Skeptics. Recently, he has made several trips to the East Coast to perform with The Skeptics, who are currently
the subject of a documentary entitled The Skeptics in a World of their Own by Baltimore filmmaker Keith Chester. Andy has had a number of his songs featured
in television and film, including the 2008 season finale of Showtime’s Californication, a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard III starring the late David
Carradine, and most recently, an independent horror film entitled, President’s Day. He has several vinyl and CD releases and is currently completing a new
album to be released in spring 2011. He hopes to continue merging his professional and artistic interests through teaching composition, creative writing, and literature-based courses.
Education: B.A., English with an extended minor in Creative Writing, University of Maryland; M.A., English, Tulane University of New Orleans.
Kim Cullen Rawley
Kim Cullen Rawley became an Adjunct Professor of Writing at Woodbury University in the fall of 2008 and has taught WRIT 111 and WRIT 112. She has served in the Writing Consultant Program and participates in the C- Portfolio Workshop assessment. Prof. Rawley recently finished a certificate in online teaching and is very interested in how multimedia can facilitate learning through online instruction. She believes that writing is a skill that anyone who truly desires to can acquire or improve upon.
A relatively recent graduate, Prof. Rawley finished college while she was the features editor and columnist for the Antelope Valley Press, a suburban daily newspaper. For ten years, she wrote stories, managed and mentored reporters, and supervised layout for 14 pages a week, winning awards along the way from the National Newspaper Association, National Newspaper News Executives, Suburban Newspaper Association, and the Associated Press. The Antelope Valley Press weekly lifestyle column, which v continued to write freelance after she left the paper in 2008, has recently been taken online in the form of a blog.
Education: B.A., English with a minor in Communication, California State University Bakersfield, Antelope Valley; M.A., English, California State University Bakersfield, Antelope Valley; Certificate in Online Teaching, Cerro Coso College.
Terrie Leigh Relf
Terrie Leigh Relf has been on staff at Woodbury University School of Architecture, San Diego, since the fall of 2007. During this time, she has taught WRIT 111, 112, and 212, as well as Urban Writing. She has also served as a Participating Adjunct, San Diego Writing Center Coordinator, and a writing consultant. Previous positions include teaching academic writing at San Diego City College and San Diego State University, business writing at The Learning Annex, and creative writing at Writer Online. In addition to teaching, Prof. Relf is a writer, editor, and writing coach. Currently, she freelances for The Peninsula Beacon and The Ob Rag, and is on staff at Sam’s Dot Publishing, where she serves on the Special Projects Committee, is the lead editor for Hungur Magazine and The Drabbler, and has recently been appointed to the position of poetry editor for ParABnormal. Prior staff positions include City Works, Vision Magazine, The Espresso, Musings, Writer Online, San Diego Writer’s Monthly, Mindfire Renewed, Fire Weed, NFG, and Tales from the Moonlit Path.
Prof. Relf is a lifetime member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA), as well as an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA). She has been nominated for the Rhysling Award four times, and her poetry, fiction, articles, and columns have appeared both on and offline. She is the author of three poetry collections, Lap Danced by The Muse, My Friend, the Poet, and Other Poems About People I Think I Know, and Jupiter’s Eye, an illustrated story book, The Ice Queen, a novel, Blood Journey, co-authored with Henry Lewis Sanders, and a creative writing handbook, The Poet’s Workshop—and Beyond. Upcoming in 2011 from Sam’s Dot Publishing include The Waters of Nyr, a slipstream novel, The Ancient One, a novel co-authored with Henry Lewis Sanders, Jupiter’s Eye Redux, Origami Stars and Other Tales, and The Poet’s Workshop—and Beyond, Volume II.
Education: B.A., Buddhist & Western Psychology and Buddhist Studies, Naropa University; M.A., English, with an emphasis in Rhetoric & Writing, San Diego
Elizabeth Von Schoff
Elizabeth von Schoff is Adjunct Professor of Writing and brings her expertise as a professional writer and editor to her teaching. In her “day job,” she creates and edits materials for textbooks, academic journals, web sites, technical publications, and a wide variety of other print and non-print materials. She also translates texts in many technical, academic, and artistic fields from German into English. Before teaching at Woodbury, Prof. von Schoff spent twenty years as a lecturer in English and American Studies at Gerhard Mercator University in Duisburg, Germany, where she won the university award for excellence in teaching. While in Duisburg, she also directed the university’s English-language theater, organized an annual international drama festival hosted jointly by the city and the university, and coached her department’s creative writing workshop, many of whose members have gone on to become published authors. Her own publications range from poetry to academic articles on teaching reading and creative writing.
Education: B.A., English and American Literature, Occidental College; M.A. English, University of California Los Angeles; Certificate, Teaching English as a Second Language, University of California Los Angeles.