The Flourishing Academic

A blog for teacher-scholars published by the Duquesne University Center for Teaching Excellence


The Flourishing Academic is a Duquesne University multi-voice blog devoted to exploring the question, “How can we as teacher-scholars thrive in academia?”  We feature posts on teaching, learning, and academic career success by faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) staff. We hope you visit us often, comment actively, and teach enthusiastically!

We are committed to fostering a friendly, resource-oriented online community. We welcome and encourage commenting on our blog; to that end, we request that you refrain from naming students and faculty in your comments.

Laurel Willingham-McLain,  Co-Editor

Laurel has proudly served at CTE since 1999.   As director, she oversees instructional and professional development for faculty and graduate student TAs across Duquesne University. She consults with faculty on teaching and academic career success, and with department chairs and directors on various higher education topics.  Laurel earned a PhD in French linguistics from Indiana University (Bloomington) and has published on faculty and TA development.

Emtinan Alqurashi,  Co-Editor

Emtinan joined CTE in July 2016. As an instructional consultant,  she supports graduate teaching assistants to help them better prepare for college teaching across the disciplines. Her other responsibilities involve managing various components of the CTE website, developing teaching resources, and offering consultation for TAs who are preparing to enter the job market and would like to review statements of teaching philosophy, cover letters, and CVs.

Emtinan is also working toward her doctorate in Instructional Technology and Leadership at Duquesne University.

Arvin Simon, Contributor and Content Editor 

Arvin joined CTE in July 2016 and has been working as an instructional consultant to support graduate teaching assistants in preparing for college teaching across the disciplines. Arvin is excited to be working with, and learning from, TAs from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds.

Arvin is also completing his doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Duquesne University.

Steven Hansen, Contributor and Content Editor

Steve became the associate director for faculty development at CTE in 2008. Among his responsibilities, he directs the TA program, oversees faculty and TA workshops, and develops teaching and learning resources. He also directs the graduate student award for excellence in teaching and is co-facilitating the campus conversation on Spiritan pedagogy with the Center for the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

Steve’s PhD is in Systematic Theology. As a faculty developer, his scholarship focuses on instructional strategies and graduate student development.

Erin Rentschler, Contributor and Content Editor

Erin is the CTE Program Manager. She develops resources and programming, and provides consultation on college teaching/learning and academic career success to faculty and graduate students across Duquesne University.

Erin earned a Ph.D. in English from Duquesne University in 2016.  In her dissertation, she explored race and ethnicity in American novels representing the Vietnam War. She hopes that her project will contribute to both the critical discussion of fiction representing a particular historical moment and to conversations about teaching controversial and sensitive topics such as war, race, and ethnicity. To that end, she has presented her work at conferences focusing on both scholarship and teaching.

Rachel Luckenbill, Founding Editor

Rachel created and edited the Flourishing Academic blog in 2014-2015, while working at CTE.

Rachel earned a B.A. in English from Lebanon Valley College and an M.A. in English from Villanova University. She taught at Lebanon Valley College 2005-2009.  She earned a Ph.D. through Duquesne’s English Department 2016.  In her dissertation she examined representations of Christianity in contemporary Native American fiction and poetry, and the role of literature  in reconciliation  between disparate cultures.  She is delighted to serve as assistant professor at Southeastern University starting fall 2016.

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