September 6, 2018 at 11:45am
Ashley Brown '19

Millikin English Professor incorporates real practice with professional writing

For Dr. Julie Bates, Performance Learning is much more than a Millikin University buzz word, it's a practice. Dr. Bates is an assistant professor in the English Department and teaches courses focused on professional writing and editing, rhetoric and composition.

This fall she is teaching four courses: Critical Writing, Reading, and Research; Writing and the Environment; Web Publishing; and Magazine Publishing Roundtable, but her works can be seen far outside of the classroom.

Julie Bates

When asked about how she incorporates Performance Learning in and out of the classroom Dr. Bates said, "If you're teaching professional writing – why not make it real practice? Why just talk about it in theory when you can lay the ground work of that theory and then apply those skills." This mindset can be demonstrated in all of her classes and other extracurricular projects.

Dr. Bates is currently collaborating with Millikin student Alex Ralat, a senior English writing major from Springfield, Ill., on a new Millikin magazine called "Burst." She also helped another Millikin student, Kaytlin Jacoby, of Taylorville, Ill., land the position of editorial assistant for the Rhetoric Review, a scholarly journal that Dr. Bates oversees as the book review editor.

Julie Bates

Dr. Bates notes that the position of an editorial assistant is often given to graduate students, but through Millikin's courses and focus on Performance Learning, Jacoby was prepared to take on this advanced role. Dr. Bates has also teamed up with another Millikin English Professor, Dr. Stephen Frech, this fall semester to take a group of students to Chicago to meet and engage with professional writers and Millikin alumni.

Millikin University is much more than your typical institution according to Dr. Bates. With an enrollment of approximately 2,000 students and an average classroom size of 16, students are not just numbers at Millikin. Dr. Bates uses that to her advantage to get to know the students she's working with and their stories.

Dr. Bates also believes Millikin stands out as an academic institution because of the commitment the institution has for engaging students with their peers, faulty and their future. At Millikin, Dr. Bates has the flexibility to create and shape classes based on her passions. "I can make apparent to students what I value. It is important as a teacher and communicator to take your own expertise and shape it for other students to use."

Julie Bates

Dr. Bates believes perspective students should consider making it Millikin if they value collaboration with their peers, as well as their faculty. She also says Millikin gives students the opportunity to "do a little bit of everything and dabble in all kinds of activities, both in and out of the classroom."

Dr. Bates notes that students also have the chance to be hyper-focused on their major and dive deep into what they are passionate about.

"There is so much passion and commitment to the students and teaching at Millikin," said Dr. Bates. "I enjoy working with students and I appreciate all the opportunities Millikin has to offer."