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Harper College


Meet the Faculty of the English Program

Andrew Anastasia

Associate Professor
Phone: (847) 925-6758
Office: L237
Classes Taught: ENG 095, ENG 101, ENG 102, ENG 103, ENG 130

Background: Dr. Anastasia received his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and specializes in LGBTQ+ rhetorics and social justice-focused, trauma-informed pedagogy. His current work centers on merging best practices from counseling psychology and post-secondary education in order to maximize student bandwidth recovery. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in clinical professional counseling at Mount Mary University. 

Ana Contreras


Brian Cremins  Brian Cremins

  Phone: 847.925.2389

Background: Brian Cremins is a Professor of English at Harper College, where he began teaching in 2008. He received his BA in English and Creative Writing from Dartmouth College in 1995, his MA in English from the University of Connecticut in 1997, and his Ph.D. in English (with a concentration in early twentieth century African American literature and film) in 2004. For more information on his publications, please visit his website at


Captain Marvel and the Art of Nostalgia. University Press of Mississippi, 2016.

The Other 1980s: Reframing Comics' Crucial Decade. Co-Edited with Brannon Costello, Louisiana State University Press, 2021. 


picture of Doug DePalma

 Doug DePalma

  Phone: 847.925.6284
    Office: L233
  Classes Taught: ENG 101, ENG 102, LIT 115

My research centers around studying popular art, from Shakespeare and Marlowe to contemporary pulp fiction. In studying authors off the beaten academic path, I hope to highlight how writing and reading is a key way we can connect with one another and express silenced or marginalized voices.


picture of Isaac Ewuoso

 Isaac Ewuoso

  Phone: 847.925.6284
  Classes Taught: ENG 100, ENG 101, ENG 102

I was graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with a master’s degree in Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse. At DePaul, I obtained graduate certificates in teaching ESL and teaching English at two-year colleges.  I also hold bachelor’s degrees in political science and philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  My scholarly interests are mostly in topics related to first-year composition, argumentative writing, social media and technology in the classrooms. Here is my Sway page: 


picture of Isaac Ewuoso

 Steven Fischer

  Phone: 630.743.1207
  Office: L203
  Classes Taught: ENG 101, ENG 102

Biography: I started teaching high school in 1975 and then began adjunct college work in the 1980's. My current stint of adjunct work at Harper has been from 2009, but in the 80's and 90's I also taught at Harper College before, College of DuPage, and Elmhurst College. I finished teaching full time at Lake Park H.S. back in 2011 and am officially semi-retired. Why then do I still teach?

I still teach:

because a person can only play so much golf;

because they say that the retirement years should be spent doing things we love, and I still love teaching;

because teaching at Harper eschews the parts of teaching high school that I hated. (No parents complaining. No administrators looking over my shoulder. No mindless meetings. No students telling me to commit carnal knowledge with myself.);

because I still enjoy the "Aha" experience, when students suddenly understand something that they hitherto have not;
and because I enjoy an audience that can't leave until the bell. (This last item doesn't come from me but from my children's commentary.)

The only things that I feel I'm good at are teaching, coaching, and parenting. I'm physically unable to coach any more. (cross country and track) My children are grown. (My oldest son, Daniel, is a doctor of anesthesia in Boston. My youngest son, Ryan, teaches AP Psych. at Morton East High School. His twin, Jenna, does marketing for a law firm, much as her mother did. Altogether, they are my "best pieces of poetry," as Ben Johnson would say. 

English 102 is my favorite course to teach because I get to teach all of my favorite writers and works and help students understand and appreciate those works and writers while they also learn about the universality of the human condition.

Publications: My loan publication to date is a short story in "The Chapbook" of the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1991. I currently am trying to get a book I wrote about the art of teaching published called "Tales Told Out of School" and am writing a book containing my favorite stories about my children as they grew up called "Life on the Shoulder." I also have a number of other stories that I haven't gotten published that I use in my classes.

Caroline Harris

Phone: 740.833.6011

Classes Taught: ENG 101

Biography: Caroline Harris is an Adjunct Professor of English at Harper College, where she began teaching in 2022. She is a working author and writer with a collection of publications and a novel in the works. She received her BA in English and Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University in 2018 and her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago in 2022. For more information on her publications, please visit her website at


Sondor Vignettes from the Subway - 2020, Sondor Midwest Journal

Among the Bed of Flowers - June 2020, Underwood Press

Dreams Built from Papers and Angels - Dec. 2019, High Plains Register

Alchemist's Coffee - Nov 2019, Showbear Family Circus Magazine

What did I lose - Nov. 2019, Bluntly Magazine Inc.

From the Grotto - Jan 2019, Acorn Review

Just a Formality - 2018, iOLiterary

Empty Nesters - 2018, The Helix Magazine

Kurt Hemmer

Phone: 847.925.6779
Office: L242

Shante Holley

Professor/CE Instructor
Phone: 847.925.6959
Office: D261a

Stephanie Horton

Associate Professor
Phone: 947.925.6334
Office: L334

Rich Johnson

Phone: 847.925.6429
Office: L229

Meg King

Professor / Co-Chair
Phone: 847.925.6450
Office: L251
Classes Taught: ENG 101, ENG 102, LIT 115, LIT 112, HUM/HST 105

Biography: Meg King has been a faculty member at Harper College since 2013.  She fell in love with teaching as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Over the years, Dr. King routinely revises and re-thinks her class policies and themes.  As a result of recent coursework on Trauma Informed Teaching and Equity Course ReDesign, she focuses on finding new ways for the classroom and course policies to support all students.  Her courses have focused on a variety of themes, including: Freedom of Speech and Cancel Culture; the American Food System; Post-apocalyptic Novels and Films; and Metamorphosis.  

Dr. King received her B.A. in English and Economics from Northwestern University, and her M.A. and PhD in American Literature (her dissertation focused on late 20th century American novels, the depiction of the return to pre-modern societies, and masculinity) from University of Illinois at Chicago.


“Father Knows Best: Manhood in David Bradley and Philip Roth.”  Philip Roth Studies (Fall 2013).

“‘Where is Your Country?’: Locating White Masculinity in All the Pretty Horses.”  The Cormac McCarthy Journal (Spring 2014).

"Graphic Representations of ‘Vietnam Syndrome’: Race and Masculinity in The ‘Nam.” The Other 1980s: Reframing Comics’ Crucial Decade, edited by Brian Cremins and Brannon Costello (LSU Press, 2021).

Seema Kurup

Phone: 847.925.6783
Office: L326

Nicole Mancha

LEAD Faculty Fellow
Phone: 847.925.6749
Office: L251

Magdalen McKinley

Phone: 847.925.6335
Office: L334

Ranjani Murali


Office:  L245

Judi Nitsch

Phone: 847.925.6481
Office: L244
Classes Taught: ENG 095, ENG 100, ENG 101

Background: Dr. Nitsch is dedicated to equitable, socially-just teaching in all of her writing courses. She believes that curriculum should be continually revised to meet the varied and amazing students who enter her virtual or physical classrooms, and she works hard at educating herself on how to better serve her students. She is grateful for her students' energy and generosity, and she loves learning from them. 

Dr. Nitsch earned her Ph.D. in Postcolonial Anglophone Fiction from Indiana University in 2010. She lives with her wonderful partner and their vivacious child in Chicago.


Nitsch, Mary J. “At Home in the Free-Market World: The Neoliberal Cosmopolitian Man in Salman Rushdie’s Fury.” DisClosure, vol. 25, no. 1, 2016, pp. 27–41.

Nitsch, Judi. “Like Nowhere Else: Tourism and the Remaking of Place in Julian Barnes’s ‘England, England.’” The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, vol. 48, no. 1, Spring 2015, pp. 45–65.

Nitsch, Judi. “Illusion 2: We Fight to Defend Our Personal Freedoms.” American Wars: Illusions and Realities, 1st ed., Clarity Press, 2008, pp. 27–35.

Paul Peterson

Associate Professor
Phone: 847.925.6748
Office: D261b

Kris Piepenburg

Associate Professor
Phone: 847.925.6513
Office: C213

picture of Doug DePalma

 Mark Puchalski

  Phone: 847.420.5160

Biography: Graduated from Northwestern. Have over 30 years of teaching experience especially with special needs students. Married to wife, Kathy for also 30 years. Maybe there's a connection there? Dr. P also teaches in the Psychology Dept at Harper as well as the College of Lake County. I've also always been ager to assist students to reach their full potential using a unique combination of training and educational experience coupled with real world business experience.


Dr. Pearl Ratunil

 Dr. Pearl Ratunil

  Phone: 847.925.6590
Office: L250
Classes Taught: ENG 101, ENG 102, LIT 115: Fiction, LIT 231: History of Early British Literature, HUM 105 Honors: Humanities

Biography: Pearl Ratunil, Ph.D. earned her B.A. in Literature from Antioch College (Ohio), and her Masters and Doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago where she specialized in Medieval Literature and African American studies. Her dissertation studied images of blackness in 13th century medieval hagiography. She served as Chair of harper's Academy for teaching and Learning from 2015-2016, and as Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and inclusion from 2016-2019. her research and teaching interests include mindfulness, contemplative pedagogy, women of color in higher education, social justice, and diversity and inclusion.


Review of Growing Up Filipino, edited by Cecilia Brainard, Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States 29.1 (Winter 2004).

"A Letter from Benjamin Thorpe to George Oliver concerning John Mitchell Kemble and Beowulf," Notes & Queries (June 2004).

Review of Theory and the Premodern Text by Paul Strohm, Symploke10.1-2 (2002): 224-25.

“Is This What We Came For? Costco Cards and AAA Memberships?” Review of the Chicago Asian American Film Showcase, Journal of Asian American Studies 3.4 (Fall 2000): 397-99.


Image of Michael Schmidt

 Michael Schmidt

  Phone: 847.925.6284
  Office: L233
Classes Taught: ENG 100, ENG 101, ENG 102

Biography: I graduated with a Master's in English at Northern Illinois University in 2016. While at Northern Illinois University, I studied a wide range of literature stretching from Medieval Lit and Victorian Prose to Ethnic American Lit and Modern American Literature. However, my focus was on British Renaissance poetry and Classical Mythology. In my research, I enjoy drawing connections between between the classical and the renaissance world and focus on themes of heroism, morality, and creation. We examine these themes (and more) in my ENG courses by exploring several different science fiction and fantasy stories by the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, Shirley Jackson, and Ursula K LeGuin.


Image of Amanda Smothers

 Amanda Smothers

  Phone: 847.925.6284
  Office: L233
Classes Taught: ENG 094, ENG 095, ENG 100, ENG 101, ENG 102

Biography: Amanda Smothers earned her Ph.D. in English from Northern Illinois University in 2016. She has been part-time English Faculty at Harper College since 2015, and she has been teaching college English since 2008. Her focus is on equitable teaching and integrating social justice education and inclusive practices into her courses. She is also the Teaching and Learning Coordinator in the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) at Northern Illinois University where she researches emerging pedagogies and technologies; offers high-level programs and consultations to faculty, teaching staff, and teaching assistants on basic to advanced teaching effectiveness and technology integration; and provides classroom observation services and confidential feedback and support for improving teaching.


Peer Reviewer for Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education Textbook Reviewer, post-secondary composition textbook, Six Red Marbles Instructional Guide for University Faculty and Teaching Assistants, Faculty Development, Northern Illinois University, revised and updated 2019-2021.

Edited Collection

“The Real Thing”: Essays in Celebration of Tom Stoppard’s 75th Birthday, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013. Co-edited with William Baker.

Studies in Victorian and Modern Literature: A Tribute to John Sutherland, Rowman & Littlefield, 2015. Assistant Editor.

Book Chapter

“The Search for Truth in Arcadia,” in “The Real Thing”: Essays in Celebration of Tom Stoppard’s 75th Birthday, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.


“Where Are We: My Mundane Professional Life,” Contributor, Composition Studies, Spring 47.1 (2019).

Bibliographical Review

“XIV: The Victorian Period (1830-1900)”: Year’s Work in English Studies 96:1 (2017; Covering work pub. in 2015): 703–915. Assisted William Baker.

"XIV: The Victorian Period (1830-1900)”: “1. Cultural Studies and Prose” and “2. The Novel.” Year’s Work in English Studies 94:1 (2015; Covering work pub. in 2013): 712-838. Assisted W. Baker.

“XIII: The Nineteenth Century: The Victorian Period”: “1. Cultural Studies and Prose” and “2. The Novel.” Year’s Work in English Studies 92:1 (2013; Covering work pub. in 2011): 647-706. Co-authored with W. Baker.

Blog and Newsletter

Editor, Coordinator, and Contributor, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) Blog (formerly Faculty Development Blog), Northern Illinois University (Oct. 2019-present).

Editor, Spectrum online newsletter (Faculty Development, Northern Illinois University, Fall 2019-present).

Joshua Sunderbruch

Phone: 847.925.6618
Office: L332

Alicia Tomasian

Phone: 847.925.6971
Office: L318

Elizabeth Turner

Phone: 847.925.6787
Office: L238

Jessica Walsh

Phone: 847.925.6326
Office: L332

Stephanie Whalen

Associate Professor
Phone: 847.925.6324
Office: D263a

Andrew Wilson

Phone: 847.925.6791
Office: D151a

Last Updated: 5/17/24