Dr. Janet Blank-Libra
Professor, Director of Journalism & Chair of the English and Journalism Department
Janet Blank-Libra teaches courses in journalism as well as foundational courses in composition and literature. She also regularly teaches courses in literary journalism and creative nonfiction, as well as the Civitas literature course. She was the 2005 recipient of the Vernon and Mildred Niebuhr Faculty Excellence Award and the 2008 recipient of the Augustana Student Association teaching award. Her interests include creative nonfiction, science fiction and the social dimensions of journalism. Dr. Blank-Libra’s Ph.D. in journalism is from Southern Illinois University.
Dr. Beth Boyens
Beth Boyens teaches foundational courses in literature and composition. Her research area is nineteenth-century American women’s literature; her other areas of interest include multicultural literature, regionalism, and naturalism. Boyens’s M.A. in English is from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and she has a Ph.D. from the University of South Dakota.
Dr. Daniel Gerling
Daniel Gerling received his B.A. in philosophy and M.A. in English at Eastern Illinois University and spent significant time abroad before completing his Ph.D. in American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century American culture and its effect on U.S. foreign relations, and he is developing his dissertation, “American Wasteland: A Social and Cultural History of Excrement, 1860-1920,” into a book. Gerling joined Augustana in 2012, and in he 2013 began serving as the director of the Writing Center, Augustana’s nationally certified peer tutoring program. He is a featured historian in the 2017 documentary Flush, and has been a content consultant on several books on excrement and sanitation. He teaches courses on grammar, FYS courses on excrement (fall) and English usage debates (spring), and ocassionaly co-teaches a J-term course in Cuba on race, gender, revolution, and cultural cross-pollination with the U.S.
J.J. Gohl teaches foundational courses in composition and literature, as well as the methods class for English students going into secondary education. Her M.A. in English is from Southwest State University (Minn.).
Dr. Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson teaches the survey course in American literature as well as upper-level seminars on both early and modern American literature and courses in world literature. She also teaches classes on creative writing for the stage and screen, musical films and theatre, and food in American culture, in addition to foundational courses in composition and literature. Her interests include folklore, Great Plains and Civil War literature and contemporary drama. She is the editor of the collection Cather Yearbook (Edwin Mellen Press, 1990) and she is currently working on a project dealing with Thanksgiving in American popular culture. Dr. Hanson’s Ph.D. in English is from the University of Illinois.
Dr. Mitchell Harris
Mitchell Harris teaches the survey course in British literature as well as upper-level seminars on both early and modern British literature and the Shakespeare seminar. He also teaches foundational courses in composition and literature. His areas of interest include the poetry of John Donne and John Milton, Shakespeare and medieval and Renaissance drama. Dr. Harris’ Ph.D. in English is from the University of Texas.
Dr. Patrick Hicks
Professor, Augustana Writer-in-Residence
Patrick Hicks is the Writer-in-Residence at Augustana University where he teaches courses on creative writing as well as Irish literature. When not discussing the literary arts with students, Dr. Hicks teaches such honors courses as “Great Britain and the Great War” and “Eleutheria: Freedom and Literature.” He is the author of The Commandant of Lubizec: A Novel of the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard, published by Steerforth/Random House, a short story collection, The Collector of Names, published by Schaffner Press, as well as six poetry collections, most recently Adoptable and This London, both from Ireland’s prestigious press, Salmon Poetry. He also edited A Harvest of Words, which was partially funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. His work has appeared in some of the most vital literary journals in the nation, including Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, Alaska Quarterly Review, The National Catholic Reporter, Commonweal, The London Magazine, The Huffington Post, and many others. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize, he has won the “Glimmer Train Fiction Award,” been a notable mention in Best American Stories, and his first novel was one of only twenty books chosen for National Reading Group Month. Dr. Hicks has received individual artist grant awards from such institutions as the Bush Artist Foundation, the Loft Literary Center, and the South Dakota Arts Council. He has twice been nominated for an Emmy. Before taking his Ph.D. from the University of Sussex (England), Dr. Hicks lived in Northern Ireland, Germany, and Spain for many years. A former Visiting Fellow at Oxford and a dual citizen of Ireland and the United States, he gives fiction and poetry readings all across the nation. His website is www.patrickhicks.org.
Cheryl Jackson Nelson
Cheryl Jackson Nelson teaches developmental sections of ENGL 110 as well as other courses in composition, introductory literature, world literature, and grammar. She has also taught Interim courses on detective and crime fiction, as well as food in American culture. She has also been a yearly NSS faculty advisor. Her M.Ed. is from the University of Sioux Falls.
Dr. Sandra Looney
Sandra Looney teaches courses in nonwestern literature, including the literatures of India, Japan and Russia, world literature, Shakespeare, and advanced composition, in addition to foundational courses in composition and literature. She has also taught the capstone courses “The Gender Knot” and “Light in the Darkness: Good and Evil in the 20th Century,” as well as the Civitas literature course. She was the 2000 recipient of the Vernon and Mildred Niebuhr Faculty Excellence Award. Dr. Looney’s Ph.D. in English is from the University of Arkansas.
Dr. Jeffrey Miller
Chair of Humanities Division and Professor
Jeffrey Miller teaches courses in journalism as well as foundational courses in composition and literature. He also teaches American film and the capstone course “Cinema, Character and Culture,” in addition to the “Reading Augustana” course in the Civitas program, of which he was director. His areas of interest include transnational television and film and American media history. He is the author of Something Completely Different: British Television and American Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2000). Dr. Miller’s Ph.D. in American Studies is from Michigan State University.
Dr. Darcie Rives-East
Darcie Rives-East teaches the survey course in American literature as well as upper-level seminars on early American literature and modern American literature. She also teaches literary criticism and theory, in addition to foundational composition and literature courses. Further, she has taught the Civitas course “Race and Justice in America: 1600-Present,” and is faculty advisor to the Augustana Women's Association. Her interests include women’s and ethnic studies and popular culture, with a particular emphasis on speculative and Gothic literature and film. Dr. Rives-East’s Ph.D. in English is from the University of Nebraska.
Dr. Janet Blank-Libra
Professor, Director of Journalism
Janet Blank-Libra teaches "News Reporting and Writing," "Advanced Journalism," "Photojournalism," "Ethics and Law of the Press" and "Magazine Writing." She also coordinates internships offered through the program and serves as adviser to the university yearbook, The Edda. Janet worked as a writer for university relations at South Dakota State University and as a weekly newspaper editor for the RFD News Group. Her articles have appeared in numerous local and regional publications. She is currently working on a book-length project dealing with compassion in journalism. Janet’s Ph.D. in journalism is from Southern Illinois University.
Dr. Jeffrey Miller
Chair of Humanities Division and Professor
Jeffrey Miller teaches "News Reporting and Writing," "Copy Editing," "Newspaper Layout and Design," "Newspaper Writing: Sports," "Newspaper Writing: Critical/Editorial" and "History of the American Press." He also serves as adviser to the university newspaper, The Mirror. Jeffrey worked as director of news services at Gustavus Adolphus College and as alumni magazine editor at Lafayette College (Penn.). His reviews and opinion pieces have appeared in newspapers including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. He has also written for numerous local and regional publications. Jeffrey’s Ph.D. in American Studies is from Michigan State University.