#FacultyFriday: Meet Maria Rankin-Brown

This week’s #FacultyFriday introduces us to Dr. Maria Rankin-Brown, who joined the department of English in 2006 and now serves as department chair. She specializes in composition studies, rhetoric, sociolinguistics, multicultural studies, non-Western literature, and creative writing. Prior to teaching at PUC, she taught at several institutions, including the University of the Pacific, Southern Utah University, Dalton State College, Chattanooga State Technical Community College, Mesa State College, and California State University, Chico. We are blessed to have Dr. Rankin-Brown’s energy and creative wit on our campus.

Name: Maria Rankin-Brown
Title: Professor of English and chair of the department of English
Email: mrankin@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2006

Classes taught: College English, Survey of Linguistics, Contemporary Literature, Themes in Literature, Short Story Writing

Education: Bachelor’s degree in journalism, from Pacific Union College, 1995; master’s in communication, from the University of Northern Colorado, 1997; Ph.D. in rhetoric and linguistics, from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2005

Professional activities:

Editor’s note: Since Dr. Rankin-Brown’s professional activities are extensive, we have listed only a few of her most recent accomplishments.


“’Sin’ of Adulthood’ and ‘Ministerial Cramps’ Are all in My Day’s Work,” Adventist Review. November, 2014. Print.

“Finding our Humanity in Paranormal Literature.” Popular Culture Review, Winter 2013.

“The Function of Japanese Manga to Shape and Reflect Japanese Identity.” Japan Studies Review, 2012.


Northern California Conference Academy Teacher In-service, “What to Expect from College Composition” and “Don’t Do It All: Using Rubrics to Teach Writing.” January 30-31, 2017.

California Association of Teachers of English. Co-presenter with Georgina Hill. “Don’t Do It All: Responding to Student Writing.” Santa Clara, California. February 17-19, 2017.

Adventist English Association. Co-presenter with Georgina Hill. “Worthwhile and Reliable Assessment in the First-Year Writing Sequence,” June, 2016, Keene, Texas.

Grants, Awards, and Other Professional Contributions

2007-2009; 2008-2009; 2010-2011; 2013-2014; 2017-2018: Pacific Union College: Herber Grant awarded to conduct research on Japanese literature and rhetorical behaviors and the African diaspora and the ways in which it is represented in museums.

Conference submission reviewer. Sigma Tau Delta National English Honor Society – 2009-current.

Article reviewer, Adventist Journal of Education, reviewed article on plagiarism, January 2012.

What made you decide to be a teacher?
I’m a big nerd and school is where I feel most at home. I was waiting to do my MA comprehensive exams in 1996 and was planning to be a professional mediator when the University of the Pacific needed me to cover their Conflict Management classes for a professor who was out on leave. Teaching both exhilarated and terrified me and I enjoyed that balance, and from there, I just stayed in school, where I continue to be exhilarated and terrified.

What are some of your hobbies?
It’s really hard for me to walk past a flowering plant without photographing it and posting it on Instagram. I spend a lot of time out in nature with my phone and camera while obsessively listening to audiobooks.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
My father’s family emigrated from Europe to Zambia (Southern Africa) long before the United States was even a country. I became a U.S. citizen seven years after marrying my American husband. I’m still learning new things about what it means to be an American.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
I feel like I’m supposed to say the students, but I really love the biscuits and gravy in the caf on Fridays. Plus my colleagues are thoughtful, friendly, and supportive. They make working here a pleasure.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Outdoors: the Back 40; indoors: Stauffer Hall.

What’s your favorite book?
“A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
It’s easy to allow yourself to stress about everything because everyone else is talking about how stressed they are and that energy is catching. If you’re here to learn and grow, allow yourself the time, the schedule, and the mindset to enjoy college instead of only being stressed.

Interested in learning more about PUC’s English program? Visit puc.edu/admissions!

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