Dr. Heidi Skurat Harris

Dr. Heidi HarrisHow long have you worked in the Rhetoric and Writing Department and what classes do you teach?
I joined the department in Fall 2013, and I teach Online Writing Instruction certificate courses, rhetorical theory, creative nonfiction, and technical writing.

What attracted you to this program?
I knew of the UA Little Rock Department of Rhetoric and Writing since the early 2000s. The Department is well known as one of the first stand-alone writing programs in the country. When this job came open, I knew I had to apply. Working in a writing program that combines rhetoric, nonfiction, technical writing and editing was my dream. The PTW program has a robust history of excellence AND provides faculty space for innovation and creativity. You can’t beat that.

Do you have a favorite class or subject?
Well, I do love online writing instruction classes. Seeing graduate students turn great ideas into online classes never gets old. Teaching teachers is an awesome responsibility. And I work hard to make my classes innovative and relevant.

What hobbies/interest do you have outside of the classroom?
What? You’re supposed to have hobbies outside of the classroom? This is new to me. In my “spare” time, I play games with my kids (8 & 2.75), do yoga, and read books not related to online writing instruction (just kidding on that last one…I read books about OWI for fun).

What’s a fun fact about yourself that your students or colleagues don’t know about you?
For a brief period in the early 1990s, I thought I might become a professional golfer.

What is your favorite quote from a writer?
Two: Norman Maclean and Annie Dillard.

Favorite passage from Maclean’s A River Runs Through It:
Once, for instance, my father asked me a series of questions that suddenly made me wonder whether I understood even my father whom I felt closer to than any man I have ever known. “You like to tell true stories, don’t you?” he asked, and I answered, “Yes, I like to tell stories that are true.”

Then he asked, “After you have finished your true stories sometime, why don’t you make up a story and the people to go with it?

“Only then will you understand what happened and why.”

“It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us.”

Favorite Annie Dillard passage from “Living Like Weasels:”
I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you. Then even death, where you’re going no matter how you live, cannot you part. Seize it and let it seize you up aloft even, till your eyes burn out and drop; let your musky flesh fall off in shreds, and let your very bones unhinge and scatter, loosened over fields, over fields and woods, lightly, thoughtless, from any height at all, from as high as eagles.