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Hollins learns from experience

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Tamara Hollins, assistant professor of English, is currently writing her dissertation for a Ph.D. in English at Claremont Graduate University. Among other assignments, Hollins teaches Creative Writing courses during January Interterm. Her dissertation is titled, "Turning Dreams into Chaos: Multiplicity and Identity Construction." / photo by Bailey Porter

Tamara Hollins, assistant professor of English, is currently writing her dissertation for a Ph.D. in English at Claremont Graduate University. Among other assignments, Hollins teaches Creative Writing courses during January Interterm. Her dissertation is titled, “Turning Dreams into Chaos: Multiplicity and Identity Construction.” / photo by Bailey Porter

by Jennifer Dodd
Staff Writer

Tamara Hollins, visiting assistant professor of English, is no stranger to the University of La Verne.

She has served as an adjunct professor since February 2000, teaching classes like English Composition and Creative Writing.

Hollins has been hard at work completing her dissertation for her doctorate in English at Claremont Graduate University.

Her dissertation, “Turning Dreams to Chaos: Multiplicity and the Construction of Identity,” focuses on the production and construction of identity and human relationships.

This theme is something that Hollins has always been interested in even when earning her bachelor’s degree in art, while focusing on human portraits at the University of Arkansas in 1993.

From there, Hollins went on to obtain a master’s of fine arts degree in writing and literature in 1996. She also obtained a master’s degree in cultural studies at Claremont Graduate University in 1997.

When asked why she became a teacher, Hollins said, “the choice just came naturally. My life is never really planned out. The opportunity presented itself, and I just went with it.”

Hollins’ easy-going take on life may be because of her upbringing. Her father was in the Air Force and the family moved frequently.

Born in Colorado Springs, Colo., Hollins has lived in California, Germany, England, Arkansas and Georgia.

Hollins feels that her upbringing is the reason why she is so interested in diversity, cultural studies and human relationships.

She credits her father as having a big influence on obtaining her doctorate, which she hopes to have completed by next February.

Hollins said she tries to integrate the methods she has learned regarding diversity in the classroom by having discussions, group activities and presentations.

“I feel that teachers can learn from students just as much as students can learn from teachers; we are all people with something valuable to share with one another,” Hollins said.

Hollins began her teaching career at Chaffey Community College in 1998. She taught her first Creative Writing class there and remembers it vividly.

“It was a learning experience on what not to do. From that I learned that I needed to teach the class in a more student centered way,” she said.

Catherine Henley-Erickson, professor of English, shares an office with Hollins.

She expressed how fortunate she and the English department are to have Hollins as part of the faculty.

“She’s a wonderful office mate. She is easy to get along with and has a good sense of humor. I felt very confident with her taking over her new position and added responsibility,” Henley-Erickson said.

These days, Hollins has her future teaching goals in mind, hoping to one day implement a series of courses focusing on culture and diversity in America.

Hollins also feels that the English department has a nice collegiality that allows for growth and participation.

“I feel a positive force on this campus. The students really challenge me here, in a good way,” she said.

In her spare time, Hollins said she loves to travel, read and write, cook and spend time with family and friends. Hollins also enjoys going to church regularly.

She also loves changing her home d├ęcor frequently and simply enjoys the challenges that life presents both in and out of her classes.

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