Chris H. Hokanson


Lieber Memorial Teaching Associate Award (2002)
Indiana University Bloomington
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of English


Walk into Chris Hokanson's composition class and you're likely to get a juggling lesson. "Just as juggling requires hand-eye coordination,"he tells his students in the first days of class, "writing requires hand-mind coordination."Applying this metaphor to his students' learning, Hokanson shows them how to balance writing, reading and critical thinking skills.

Juggling, for Hokanson, is more than just a metaphor for multi-tasking. While most students enter his composition and literature classes as passive spectators of their education, they leave as active participants, able to juggle those skills, make connections between courses, question cultural representations and shape their educations.

Hokanson, who plans to earn his Ph.D. in 2003, is himself a consummate juggler - metaphorically speaking. In addition to "Basic Composition"and "Language and Metaphor,"he has taught, among other courses, "Reading and Writing Detective Fiction,""Parody and the Postmodern, Literature and the Visual Arts,"and "Professional Writing"and has supplemented his extensive teaching experience with a minor in pedagogy/composition studies. He also has served as a tutor with Writing Tutorial Services, as a graduate representative of various curriculum and teaching committees, and as a teaching consultant for new associate instructors.

Although he seems to have an inordinate number of his own bowling pins in the air, he never drops one. He balances and even merges his academic interests, composition studies and pedagogical research to create more meaningful educational experiences for his students.