Clinical Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies
M.P.S, New York University
Course(s) Taught: Writing I & II; Digital Memoir; Junior Independent Research Seminar; Experiential Learning; Senior Colloquium
Teaching Statement: Good teaching is explicit, demanding and creative. I encourage students to use writing as both a mode of inquiry and a way of thinking about the world around them. Good writing is, of course, good thinking. Learning to craft exquisite prose is only a small part of the process. Learning to have something to say, that is the challenge. In my courses we consider a wide range of texts from intimate personal essays to complex theoretical articles. However, my definition of a text is not limited to the written word. My students work with paintings, music, films, sculptures and other pieces of cultural production as a way of sharpening their critical thinking skills and strengthening their writing. With my partner William Crow, an associate museum educator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I live in an undergraduate residence hall as a Faculty-Fellow-in-Residence. This role allows us to engage with students through informal learning in a way that complements my work in the classroom and William's position at the museum. Within the hall our apartment is a place to discuss works of literature during a meal on our terrace or to explore a new form of creativity during one of William's art making workshops. We also accompany students to events in and around the city from Broadway shows to undiscovered cafes. My experience at NYU is not just that the city is our classroom but that we challenge the very notion of what a classroom is. When you are deeply engaged with the world around you the boundaries of the classroom no longer matter because everywhere is a classroom.
Kain making pancakes for students before a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Kain at a book signing.