English and Professional Writing Program


Christopher Buczinsky
Chris Buczinsky, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of English
Office: Room 519
Phone: (219) 473-4250

Chris Buczinsky earned his Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University. A children’s poet, illustrator, and performer, Dr. Buczinsky wrote, illustrated, and self-published Pied Poetry, a collection of poems and pictures for children. As a co-founder of A Child’s Voice, he has performed and taught poetry and illustrator workshops to elementary students throughout the Chicagoland area. He has been assistant editor of The Wholesaler and The Plumbing and Heating Contractor News, two national trade magazines as well as a columnist for The Arlington Post in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He teaches American Literature, 20th Century Poetry, Literary Criticism and Theory. He is currently at work on a variety of children’s picture and poetry books. Dr. Buczinsky keeps a children’s poetry and illustration blog at

Ginger Rodriguez
Ginger G. Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
Office: Room 520
Phone: (219) 473-4273

Ginger Rodriguez has a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in the Humanities from Union Institute and University and a Master of Liberal Arts from the University of Chicago. She teaches humanities, literature, composition, and Literary Criticism and Theory, among other courses in the liberal arts department, while pursuing research and writing interests in American literature, the development of the American literary canon, canon theory, and teaching humanities.

Kirk Robinson
Kirk Robinson, M.F.A.
Assistant Professor of English
Office: Room 515
Phone: (219) 473-5308

Kirk Robinson received his MFA in creative writing from The Ohio State University in 1998 and his B.A. from Webster University in 1993. He taught for seven years at the University of Illinois at Chicago and served as an assistant director of their First Year Writing Program. His poems have been published in several nationally distributed literary magazines, including Poetry Northwest, The American Literary Review, Third Coast, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. His poem "The Design of To-Morrow" has been selected and republished by Poetry Daily and his poem "A Motif" has been selected by Educational Testing Services for use on the reading comprehension section of their standardized tests. He teaches Rhetoric and Composition, 20th Century Poetry, Creative Writing, and a variety of liberal arts courses.

Valerie Pennanen
Valerie Pennanen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
Office: Room 522
Phone: (219) 473-4294

Valerie Pennanen earned her MA and Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology from The University of Michigan and her BA in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology and Ancient Greek from Bryn Mawr College. Her teaching experience includes the classics, art history, art appreciation, liberal studies, world literature, world civilization, and basic writing courses. Her special interests include autobiography and memoir, social history, and history of religion. Her most recent publication is an in-depth review of Robert Knapp's book Invisible Romans.

Mark Cassello
Mark Cassello, M.A.
Assistant Professor of English
Office: Room 521
Phone: (219) 473-4322

Mark Cassello received his MA from Indiana University, Bloomington where he is currently completing his Ph.D. in American Literature. His research explores the rise of Chicago's social realist fiction that gains prominence between 1935 and 1950. He examines how the particular violent history of Chicago's labor movement informs the emergence of radical fiction within an extant local, literary tradition. He is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post and is a regular guest on the nationally syndicated political radio show Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont. He teaches Rhetoric and Composition, The Drama, Technical Writing, and a variety of liberal arts courses.

Program Director: Chris Buczinsky
Faculty: Christopher Buczinsky, Ph.D.; Mark Cassello, M.A.; Richard Damashek, Ph.D., (Professor Emeritus); Kirk Robinson, M.F.A.; Ginger Rodriguez, Ph.D. Adjunct Instructors: Kimberly Allen, M.A.; Amy Comparon, M.A.; Nita Meola, M.A.; Nanette Naranjo, M.A.; Linda Oldenburg, M.A.; Julie Ruich M.F.A.; Jennifer Young, M.A.

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Contact Information

Program Director: Christopher Buczinsky
Room: 519
Telephone: (219) 473-4250
FAX: (219) 473-4259