Ms. Wendy Bilen

Assistant Professor of English

Phone: 202-884-9249
Office: Main 268

Education

  • B.A., Christian Education, Taylor University
  • M.A., Educational Psychology, Loyola University Chicago
  • M.F.A., Creative Writing (Creative Nonfiction), George Mason University

Interests

  • Creative nonfiction
  • Memoir
  • Spoken word
  • The integration of faith and writing
  • The teaching-learning process
  • Experiential learning
  • The teaching of writing
  • Writing as empowerment for under-resourced students
  • The impact of technology on student learning

Awards

  • Individual Artist Grant, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, 2012
  • Writing Residency, Ragdale Foundation, 2010
  • Finalist, USA Book News National Best Books Award for Autobiography/Memoir, "Finding Josie", 2009
  • Finalist, National Indie Excellence Award for Memoir, "Finding Josie", 2009
  • Next Generation Indie Book Award for Autobiography/Memoir, "Finding Josie", 2009
  • Midwest Independent Publishers Association Midwest Book Award for Biography/Memoir, "Finding Josie", 2008
  • Midwest Suggestion Pick, Midwest Booksellers Association, "Finding Josie", 2008

Select Works Published

  • Workshop: The Clever Researcher: Finding and Integrating Source Material without Looking or Sounding like an Academic
    , Festival of Faith and Writing, 2018
  • "Finding Josie," an award-winning biography-memoir
    , Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2008
  • Facilitator, "In the Gap: Creative Nonfiction Techniques to Use When You're Short on Material,"
    , Festival of Faith and Writing, 2012

Philosophy

Learning and life are inextricable. Whatever students encounter in their lives makes its way into the classroom, and what occurs in the classroom should make its way into their lives. I seek to educate the whole person, to build meta-skills that equip students for success in academia and beyond. The first step is to break down any obstacles students might have about the subject or the classroom experience by acknowledging and normalizing fears, creating a safe place to experiment and fail, getting to know each student individually, and providing regular support and encouragement. To get students invested in the educational process, I cater to various student learning styles, allow students to participate in curricular decisions, embrace experiential learning--inside and outside the classroom--and draw regular connections between the classroom and the world. Though teaching should adjust to the needs of the students, some things should never change: learning should be interesting, learning should push students to do their best, and learning should last. I use whatever I can, within reason, to make this vision a reality for each of my students.