Faculty

English

Janet Blank Libra

Dr. Janet Blank-Libra
Associate Professor, Director of Journalism

605.274.5436
janet.blank-libra@augie.edu

Janet Blank-Libra teaches courses in journalism as well as foundational courses in composition and literature. She also regularly teaches courses in literary journalism and creative nonfiction, as well as the Civitas literature course. She was the 2005 recipient of the Vernon and Mildred Niebuhr Faculty Excellence Award and the 2008 recipient of the Augustana Student Association teaching award. Her interests include creative nonfiction, science fiction and the social dimensions of journalism. Dr. Blank-Libra’s Ph.D. in journalism is from Southern Illinois University.

Beth Boyens

Beth Boyens
Instructor of English

605.274.5442
beth.boyens@augie.edu

Beth Boyens teaches foundational courses in literature and composition. Her research area is nineteenth-century American women’s literature; her other area of interests include multicultural literature, regionalism, and naturalism. Boyens’s M.A. in English is from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and she is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Dakota.

Daniel Gerling

Dr. Daniel Gerling
Assistant Professor

605.274.5433
daniel.gerling@augie.edu

Daniel Gerling received his B.A. in philosophy and M.A. in English at Eastern Illinois University and spent significant time abroad before completing his Ph.D. in American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century American culture and its effect on U.S. foreign relations, and he is developing his dissertation, “American Wasteland: A Social and Cultural History of Excrement, 1860-1920,” into a book. Gerling joined Augustana in 2012, and in he 2013 began serving as the director of the Writing Center, Augustana’s nationally-certified peer tutoring program.

J.J. Gohl
Instructor

605.274.5400
jj.gohl@augie.edu

J.J. Gohl teaches foundational courses in composition and literature, as well as the methods class for English students going into secondary education. Her M.A. in English is from Southwest State University (Minn.).

Debbie Hanson

Dr. Debbie Hanson
Professor

605.274.5435
debbie.hanson@augie.edu

Debbie Hanson teaches the survey course in American literature as well as upper-level seminars on both early and modern American literature and courses in world literature. She also teaches classes on creative writing for the stage and screen, musical films and theatre, and food in American culture, in addition to foundational courses in composition and literature. Her interests include folklore, Great Plains and Civil War literature and contemporary drama. She is the editor of the collection Cather Yearbook (Edwin Mellen Press, 1990) and she is currently working on a project dealing with Thanksgiving in American popular culture. Dr. Hanson’s Ph.D. in English is from the University of Illinois.

Mitchell Harris

Dr. Mitchell Harris
Associate Professor

605.274.4699
mitchell.harris@augie.edu

Mitchell Harris teaches the survey course in British literature as well as upper-level seminars on both early and modern British literature and the Shakespeare seminar. He also teaches foundational courses in composition and literature. His areas of interest include the poetry of John Donne and John Milton, Shakespeare and medieval and Renaissance drama. Dr. Harris’ Ph.D. in English is from the University of Texas.

Patrick Hicks

Dr. Patrick Hicks
Associate Professor, Augustana Writer-in-Residence, & Department Chair

605.274.5434
patrick.hicks@augie.edu

Patrick Hicks is the Writer-in-Residence at Augustana College, where he teaches courses on creative writing as well as Irish Literature. When not discussing the literary arts with students, Dr. Hicks teaches such honors courses as “Great Britain and the Great War” and “Eleutheria: Freedom and Literature.” He is the author of The Commandant of Lubizec: A Novel of the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard (2014), published by Steerforth/Random House, as well as six poetry collections, most recently Adoptable (2014) and This London (2010), both from Ireland’s prestigious press, Salmon Poetry. He is also the editor of A Harvest of Words (2010), which was partially funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. His work has appeared in some of the most vital literary journals in the nation, including Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, Natural Bridge, Salon, Commonweal, and many others. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize, he has won the “Glimmer Train Fiction Award,” and he has received several individual artist grant awards from such institutions as the Bush Artist Foundation and the South Dakota Arts Council. His work with PBS’s Over South Dakota was nominated for an Emmy. In 2015, his collection of short stories, The Collector of Names will be published by Schaffner Press and he is currently at work on a new novel. Before taking his Ph.D. from the University of Sussex (England), Dr. Hicks lived in Northern Ireland, Germany, and Spain for many years. He gives fiction and poetry readings all across the nation.

Cheryl Jackson Nelson

Cheryl Jackson Nelson
Instructor

605.274.5416
cheryl.jackson@augie.edu

Cheryl Jackson Nelson teaches developmental sections of ENGL 110 as well as other courses in composition, introductory literature, world literature, and grammar. She has also taught Interim courses on detective and crime fiction, as well as food in American culture. She has also been a yearly NSS faculty advisor. Her M.Ed. is from the University of Sioux Falls.

Sandra Looney

Dr. Sandra Looney
Professor

605.274.5430
sandra.looney@augie.edu

Sandra Looney teaches courses in nonwestern literature, including the literatures of India, Japan and Russia, world literature, Shakespeare, and advanced composition, in addition to foundational courses in composition and literature. She has also taught the capstone courses “The Gender Knot” and “Light in the Darkness: Good and Evil in the 20th Century,” as well as the Civitas literature course. She was the 2000 recipient of the Vernon and Mildred Niebuhr Faculty Excellence Award. Dr. Looney’s Ph.D. in English is from the University of Arkansas.

Jeffrey Miller

Dr. Jeffrey Miller
Chair of Humanities Division and Associate Professor

605.274.5431
jeffrey.miller@augie.edu

Jeffrey Miller teaches courses in journalism as well as foundational courses in composition and literature. He also teaches American film and the capstone course “Cinema, Character and Culture,” in addition to the “Reading Augustana” course in the Civitas program, of which he was director. His areas of interest include transnational television and film and American media history. He is the author of Something Completely Different: British Television and American Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2000). Dr. Miller’s Ph.D. in American Studies is from Michigan State University.

Darcie Rives East

Dr. Darcie Rives-East
Associate Professor

605.274.5422
darcie.rives@augie.edu

Darcie Rives-East teaches the survey course in American literature as well as upper-level seminars on early American literature and modern American literature. She also teaches literary criticism and theory, in addition to foundational composition and literature courses. Further, she has taught the Civitas course “Race and Justice in America: 1600-Present,” and is faculty advisor to the Augustana Women's Association. Her interests include women’s and ethnic studies and popular culture, with a particular emphasis on speculative and Gothic literature and film. Dr. Rives-East’s Ph.D. in English is from the University of Nebraska.
 

Journalism
 

Janet Blank Libra

Dr. Janet Blank-Libra
Associate Professor, Director of Journalism

605.274.5436
janet.blank-libra@augie.edu

Janet Blank-Libra teaches "News Reporting and Writing," "Advanced Journalism," "Photojournalism," "Ethics and Law of the Press" and "Magazine Writing." She also coordinates internships offered through the program and serves as adviser to the college yearbook, The Edda. Janet worked as a writer for university relations at South Dakota State University and as a weekly newspaper editor for the RFD News Group. Her articles have appeared in numerous local and regional publications. She is currently working on a book-length project dealing with compassion in journalism. Janet’s Ph.D. in journalism is from Southern Illinois University.

Jeffrey Miller

Dr. Jeffrey Miller
Chair of Humanities Division and Associate Professor

605.274.5431
jeffrey.miller@augie.edu

Jeffrey Miller teaches "News Reporting and Writing," "Copy Editing," "Newspaper Layout and Design," "Newspaper Writing: Sports," "Newspaper Writing: Critical/Editorial" and "History of the American Press." He also serves as adviser to the college newspaper, The Mirror. Jeffrey worked as director of news services at Gustavus Adolphus College and as alumni magazine editor at Lafayette College (Penn.). His reviews and opinion pieces have appeared in newspapers including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. He has also written for numerous local and regional publications. Jeffrey’s Ph.D. in American Studies is from Michigan State University.