Northwest College

Teaching & Learning Center

Faculty spotlights

Learn more about what makes Northwest college’s faculty truly excellent! 

In collaboration with The Committee on Faculty Development and Morale and the office of College Relations, the TLC is excited to showcase the great work of Northwest College's educators! In this faculty spotlight series, we will feature members of our faculty that are recognized by nominations from their peers based on demonstrated excellence in teaching, mentoring/advising, service, or scholarship. Spotlights will also be promoted by the Marketing, Communications & Web office in a variety of media.

Jennifer Dare

Posted: March 25, 2023

When talking with NWC Associate Professor of English Jennifer Dare, one thing quickly becomes apparent: she cares deeply about the future of her students. Her courses range from composition to mythology, but a common thread is her desire to see people claim their own narrative and reclaim their power as human beings.

“Society today increasingly dictates to people who they are, what they can do, and what they’re capable of doing,” Jen says. “Literature and narrative, the humanities, are the opposite. They liberate, showing all the things you can do and all the flights of fancy you can take. We have these stories that are 600 years old, but there’s something there that can still speak to someone.”

Growing up in the small town of Farmington, Illinois, Jen began exploring libraries and reading seriously by the age of four. When she moved to Connecticut for college, her passion for literature was fully ignited by access to a library the likes of which she had only seen in movies. She remained at school during the summers while working in that same library, a place that stimulated her curiosity and allowed her to grow intellectually.

After earning her BA in English from Trinity College, Jen moved to the Pacific Northwest, sparked not by academics, but by the “cool” factor. Working as a barista in Portland may not have been the best career decision, she says, considering her college debt, but with the encouragement and support of her family, she returned to school as a grad student at the University of Oregon. It was a difficult time in her life, but she earned both her MA and PhD there during a 10-year stay as a student and teacher.

While there, she also met Rachel Hanan, who would later join the faculty at Northwest College in 2011. When the college needed a one-year visiting instructor in English, Rachel called her old friend in Oregon, and Jen was soon on board. She eventually became a permanent member of the faculty and attributes her decade-long stay to personal relationships and the connection to students.

“I love the sense of community that exists at this college. Teachers are engaged and invested personally in their students and here we have time to do that.”