Tag Archives: PUC English

#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!

#FacultyFriday: Meet Peter Katz

For this week’s #FacultyFriday feature, meet Dr. Peter Katz, assistant professor of English. A PUC alumnus, Dr. Katz has taught at the college since 2015. Previously, he worked as a teaching assistant and teaching associate at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y. While he was at Syracuse, he received several academic honors and grants,  gave many campus talks, presented at several conferences. Dr. Katz is also a prolific author, and currently has two pieces under consideration at various publications, in addition to what he has already had published.

Name: Peter Katz
Title: Assistant professor of English
Email: pjkatz@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2015

Classes taught: English 101 and 102; Survey of British Literature; 18th Century Literature; Digital Rhetoric; History of the Book; Science and Culture; Society, Sentiment, Science; Approaches to Poetry

Education: Associate degree in music, from Pacific Union College, 2010; Bachelor’s degrees in literature and European history, from Pacific Union College, 2010; Ph. D. in English, from Syracuse University, 2015

Professional activities:

Reading Bodies: Associationism, Affect, and the Representation of Literary Scholarship in Victorian Fiction. Manuscript complete. Submission in progress.

“Redefining the Republic of Letters: The Literary Public and Mudie’s Circulating Library.” Journal of Victorian Culture, vol. 22, issue 3, 2017, pp. 399-417.

“Second Hand Politics: Sartorial Culture, Socialism, and the Work of the Novel in Walter Besant’s Children of Gibeon.” Political and Sartorial Styles. Ed. Kevin Morrison. Manchester UP. Publication in progress, 2017.

“The Moonstone,” and “The Woman in White.” Companion to Victorian Popular Fiction. Ed. Kevin Morrison. MacFarland. Submitted January 2017. Publication in progress, 2017.

“Staging the Streets: The Theatricality of Science in fin-de-siècle Martial Arts.” Victorian Literature and Culture vol. 44, issue 2, 2016, pp. 343-361.

What made you decide to be a teacher?
At the wise old age of 13, I had my first job: to teach three hours per week as an assistant instructor in a martial arts school. I imagine I was pretty terrible at it. By the time I left for college, I was teaching almost full time. I imagine I was still pretty terrible at it. But I quite enjoyed the look on people’s faces when they finally understood a concept, or finally nailed a difficult technique, or even just figured out how to tie their belt correctly. The joy and wonder a student experiences when he or she gets it for the first time—it’s contagious. The thrill of discovery makes me excited to talk about topic sentences for the thirtieth time, because it’s new for someone, and maybe, just maybe, for the first time, they’ll really get it.

Also, both of my parents and my sister are teachers, so it was kind of inevitable.

What are some of your hobbies?
Unsurprisingly, if you read the previous answer: martial arts. I have black belts in American Kenpo, Aikido, and Taekwondo, and teach American Kenpo at PUC. I also love skiing, and am a well-versed, if not proficient, video gamer.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
That despite my musical training and performance of good taste, I secretly love awful pop-punk music like Panic!, Fall Out Boy, and Muse.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
Basically everything, but the people make it. Faculty, staff, students—they’re what brought me back here.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
The Prayer Garden located at the end of the path near the Campus Center. My then-girlfriend-now-wife and I spent a lot of time there talking, reading, and occasionally painting (she painted; I made messes on canvases that even kindergarteners would disdain).

What’s your favorite book?
Wilkie Collins’s “The Moonstone” (1868) is my favorite novel. It’s hilarious, clever, complex, and most importantly to the average reader, deeply embedded in the vitalist/mechanist debates of the mid-century Associationst-physiologists.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
Read. Read everything. Read your assignments pragmatically: it will make your classes most rewarding. Read your assignments deeply: you’ll be surprised when that book will pop up again in your life. Find rabbit-holes from your coursework and read everything about them. Read for fun.

Read the syllabus. I repeat: Read. The. Syllabus.

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