Cheryl and son, Elias

Welcome to
Dr. Cheryl Chaffin's Web Page

Gavilan College English Department  

Contact Information

Dr. Cheryl Chaffin
Gavilan College English Department
Phone: 831.840.2842 (cell)

I'm happy to schedule phone, FaceTime, Skype, or in-person appointments with students.

Academic Background

I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and Ph.D. in Humanities with Union Institute & University. My Bachelors is from San Jose State University. The first decade after college I worked in the high tech industry as a marketing professional.

I have been with Gavilan College since 2001. My areas of interest are human rights and ethics as explored in literature, particularly first person, autobiographical narratives. As a graduate student I have studied poetry, autobiographical writing, philosophy, ethics, and theories of public space, politics, and narrative.

I'm a writer, a poet, a teacher, and a mother.

Areas of Expertise
Creative writing; memoir & autobiography; contemporary literature; critical thinking and textual analysis; social justice issues and ethics; women's writing; globalization and feminst theory; second language learners; openness to multiplicity of student experiences and backgrounds; Writing Center management and directorship.
Course Information

For Summer Session 2015 I teach English 1C: Critical Reasoning & Writing (80105). June 15 - July 23, 2015.

Go to Gavilan College's website, click on Online Courses, and enter your Gavilan ID and password to log into our English 1C classroom.

The online course will be available beginning M, August 31at 7:00 a.m.

The face to face course on the Gilroy campus begins on T, Sept. 1 from 2:00-3:20 p.m.

Teaching Approach

English 1A: College Composition

This transfer level writing course focuses on how writers employ personal narratives as social critique and to articulate their visions for change. In preparation for additonal college courses that require critical academic papers, we examine the ways in which writers use language and thought to put forward social and political criticism as a vehicle to awaken readers to issues of justice. Students compose three essays, one essay exam, and a final research project compiled from a combination of papers and readings done over the course of the semester. The course consists of a demanding reading and writing schedule. Students will emerge from the semester having engaged the genres of autobiographical narrative, critical essay, literary memoir, and poetry. They will be stronger thinkers, able to evaluate various kinds of texts and to engage in serious conversation, critique, and thought in relationship with the books they read. The course emphasizes skills of research, critical inquiry, the ability to read and think creativiely and critically, familiarity with academic writing style and format, and helps to refine college level skills for successful writing, dialogue, and informed, intelligent engagement in cultural and political issues.

Required Texts

Fall 2015

1) 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology (4th edition)

Published by Bedford St. Martins. Available at Gavilan Bookstore.

All students must purchase this text. Rental: $24.70. New: $38.00.

2) A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca

Preferred edition: Grove, 2001

All students must purchase this text. Available at Gavilan Bookstore as a rental or new book, or used through Amazon.

Rental: $11.20 (rental); New: $16.00.

3) Immigrants in Our Own Land by Jimmy Santiago Baca (poems)

$9.77 (rental); $13.95 (new); also used available online through Amazon.

Please budget for these required texts now. You will be required to read Baca's memoir in its entirety. If you order online, plan to receive the books with plenty of time for reading and discussion preparation.

I've tried to keep book costs as low as possible for students.

Students should have both of the above texts no later than August 30, 2015.