Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday Teacher Feature - Kevin Brooks

Kevin Brooks at the Fargo Theatre for the Martin Luther King Jr Day Celebration, January 18th, 2016
Kevin Brooks has been a professor at NDSU since 1997 and works with several local organizations working towards a goal of eliminating discrimination. These organizations include African Soul, American Heart, of which Kevin is the Vice President and Secretary, Giving + Learning, for which he is the Executive Director, and the
New American Consortium for Wellness and Empowerment, where he serves as the Board President.

Because of this extensive community involvement, he was the recipient of the Fargo Human Relations award as an adult who has made significant contributions to the area of human relations in the Fargo-Moorhead community. This award was presented by the Fargo Human Relations Commission at their 16th Annual Martin Luther King Jr Day Celebration on January 18th at the Fargo Theatre.

As opposed to the more traditional idea of reading, Kevin said that he more frequently than not will listen to the audiobook version, perhaps related to the fact that he is a life-long radio listener. The book he is currently listening to is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (on Goodreads here) which relates to one of the courses he teaches, Writing in the Health Professions.

He recently finished listening to the audiobook of The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman, which is the story of a Hmong girl with epilepsy, her American doctors, and the clash between their culture and her Hmong culture. (on Goodreads here).

Kevin's favorite writing assignment that he gives his students is to have them create an audio essay, which can be either a newly created piece or a reworking of a previously written essay. He says it is interesting for them to see what changes when a piece is performed audibly rather than written and read silently.

Following the audio theme, when asked which writers he would like to have coffee with, he responded with Ira Glass of Public Radio's This American Life and The Talking Heads' David Byrne, whom Time Magazine called "Rock's Renaissance Man" in 1986 due to his work with various media including film, photography, opera, and both fiction and non-fiction writing. Byrne's wide breadth of interests and his advice to young artists to continue being creative and exploratory were among Kevin's reasons for suggesting him as a coffee consuming companion.

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