Faculty & Staff
Title: Instructor of English
Office: Hartnett Hall 141W
BS: Mass Communication: North Dakota State University
MA: Writing with emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition: Missouri State University
English 110 – College Composition I
English 120 – College Composition II
English 211 – Intro to Creative Writing
After completing her undergraduate, Nicole Thom-Arens moved to Springfield, Missouri where she worked as an assistant news producer for the NBC affiliate for two years and as a promotion producer for the FOX affiliate for two more years before leaving the television news business for graduate school in 2007. While working on her master’s degree, Nicole also worked as program director for the Ozarks Literacy Council where she became committed to promoting literacy.
Nicole’s background in the media, literacy, and marketing/public relations informs her approach to teaching writing.
She is able to balance the demand for practical writing skills outside the university and the theoretical approaches to writing in the classroom with vast knowledge in the importance of teaching students strong literacy skills. As such, Nicole’s pedagogical approach to teaching writing focusses on critical thinking. As Donald Murray said, “Writing is thinking,” and Nicole’s mission in the classroom is to get her students recognize this concept in the writing process across curriculums within the academy and everyday life outside higher education.
The two major pedagogies in composition—expressivism and social construction—influence Nicole’s teaching style as the classroom work focuses on small and large group discussion and peer review. Her mission is to teach her students to ask and answer “Why?” when making and analyzing claims. Nicole also emphasizes instructor-student conferences throughout the semester to heighten student understanding of the writing process and gauge student progress.
Primarily, Nicole sees herself as a writer who teaches writing. In her scholarship, Nicole works on her own creative nonfiction writing and focuses research on enhancing the creative and critical approaches of her students in writing and reading. Her research interests include composition pedagogy, rhetorical theory, gender studies, literacy studies, and postmodern writing.