Higher Education Webinars

The Education of Oronte Churm

Oronte Churm is the pen name of John Griswold, who teaches in the MFA program at McNeese State University, proudly nestled in Cajun country on the Louisiana Gulf.

October 10, 2007 - 9:50am
A big perk of writing for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency has been meeting people like today’s guest, Roy Kesey. Roy and I became pen pals through our dispatches for the Tendency, if pen pal is still a valid name for what happens instantaneously and online.
October 9, 2007 - 8:39am
You probably know people who expect instant loyalty to their causes. Any hesitation suggests to them the work they’ll need to do to sell you or else to wheel their flanks and attack.
October 4, 2007 - 11:56am
One of the two best college teachers I ever knew—an older Ph.D. candidate who became an adjunct himself here for a while—once told me we’d never know how we’d affected students’ lives; the students themselves wouldn’t know for 20 years. Coming from anyone else, it might have sounded like a defense against student criticisms or justification not to teach, but with him it was grace under pressure. I’m starting to understand what he meant.
October 1, 2007 - 1:24pm
One of the drawbacks of writing with a pen name is the restriction it places on topics. I can’t tell you about interesting lectures or readings I attended, or offer my take on a newsworthy event here, or even praise the best things about Hinterland University, because they’d be sure tip-offs to both place and identity.
September 28, 2007 - 12:35pm
September 26, 2007 - 4:51pm
Until our departments hire mystics, we may never know why some classes fall flat. We sit afterwards in quietude, trying to understand, but often it’s as futile as trying to piece together a shattered flowerpot. Better just to use one of the bigger shards to promote drainage in a new pot, and move on.
September 24, 2007 - 12:33pm
EXT. BENCH NEAR STUDENT CENTER - DAY A PROF eats his lunch from a Styrofoam bowl. Enter his acquaintance, who also works for the university but is a NON-PROF.
September 20, 2007 - 8:26am
Crazy Larry, the struggling actor, is in a commercial run of a good play, which got him signed recently with a big talent agency. They told him to do two things immediately: Pay hundreds (again) for a (different) headshot, and enroll in an acting school.
September 18, 2007 - 8:49am
But this ain’t science.
September 17, 2007 - 10:53am
My wife and I have opened part of our home as an inn for wayward academics.

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