Episode 25: Teaching through Contingency with Michelle Meyers and Ryan Leack

In Episode 25 we talk to Professors Michelle Meyers and Ryan Leack of the USC Writing Program about the issues facing part-time/contingent faculty–especially during a global pandemic and a time of tremendous economic uncertainty.

Michelle Meyers is a lecturer in the Writing Program at USC and a member of the Diversity Committee and the Community Engagement Committee. She teaches creative writing for the Prison Education Project as well and received her MFA in Fiction from the University of Alabama.

Dr. Ryan David Leack teaches in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California, and received his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Riverside. There he studied the productive intersections between rhetoric, quantum mechanics, philosophy, composition, and poetry. Ryan’s academic work has appeared in Composition Forum (2019), and in the edited collection Romantic Ecocriticism: Origins and Legacies (2016). His creative work has appeared in journals such as Chiron ReviewTipton Poetry JournalPif, and Westwind, as well as in Pomona Valley Review, where he served as Editor-in-Chief for seven years. His music is available on Apple Music, Spotify, and like services, and is featured in films available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and like services internationally.

This episode was recorded on August 4. Please be aware that, because we recorded via Zoom, there are occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.

Texts Mentioned in the Episode
  • Pandemic!: COVID-19 Shakes the World by Slavoj Žižek
  • The Year of Dreaming Dangerously by Slavoj Žižek

“I think a lot of people don’t understand how the neoliberalization of the university has impacted the tenure-track position…It’s more competitive now to get a tenure-track job at a community college than it was to get a tenure-track job at an R1 thirty to forty years ago.” -Ryan Leack

“I can’t help but care about whatever institution I’m involved with, and I want to be part of it. I want to be doing things that I think are important…I think [service work] also gives me more knowledge and more opportunities to then bring to my students and to improve their learning experience as well ” -Michelle Meyers

“At the end of the day, what keeps me going when all of these external stresses are happening, is that I do love teaching, and I do love trying to create the best classroom environment for my students.” -Michelle Meyers

“To me, to be a good teacher of writing means to constantly be invested in educating myself and to keep my knowledge sharp and cutting edge in the field.” -Ryan Leack

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