Jennifer Hancock
Assistant Professor of English Jennifer Hancock has a gift for poetry and a love of art. (Photo credit, Bonnie Bandurski.)


All the right words

In a nondescript office on the second floor of Colorado Mesa University’s Escalante Hall, warm, natural light brightens the office of Jennifer Hancock, PhD. Books line the assistant professor of English’s shelves; broadsides — prints combining graphic art, design and poetry — as well as mementos from her notable academic accomplishments hang tastefully on her wall.

Born and raised in south Texas, Hancock developed an interest in art — her mom is an artist — and a passion for words. She found that she had a gift for poetry and an uncommon love of creative writing and nurtured these things first at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla., and then New York’s Sarah Lawrence College, where she obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree. Returning to Stillwater, Hancock completed her doctorate at OSU.

She began her career in academia in Decatur and Bloomington, Ill., further developing her skills as a professional writer, poet, communicator and teacher. She joined the faculty of CMU in 2006. During her time at the university, she has taken advantage of priceless professional development opportunities, including the chance to study and write at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference in Sicily, Italy this fall.

“My favorite thing about teaching is helping facilitate that ‘Ah-ha!’ moment in a student, helping them get something new and sharing in the excitement of that,” Hancock said. She feels that a mid-sized institution like Colorado Mesa enables her to see that moment up close. “It allows not only for more personalized interactions with students but also the opportunity for collaborations with faculty from other departments. Those collaborations help create beneficial partnerships for students of different artistic disciplines.”

In addition to hunting wild mushrooms and preparing her favorite food, beef bourguignon, Hancock is a published poet. Her first book, Between Hurricanes, is a collection of poems. It was published in December and is available at Fruita’s Lithic Bookstore and Gallery, and on Amazon.

Learn more about a fascinating collaboration between Hancock and Joshua Butler, associate professor of art, in the next issue of The Maverick. The university magazine hits stands in February.

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