Homestead, William - New England College
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Homestead, William

Associate Professor, Communication Studies

Phone: 603.428.2336

William Homestead

Degrees, Certifications

MFA in Creative Writing, Goddard College
MA in Communication Studies, University of Montana
MS in Environmental Studies, University of Montana
BA in Communication Studies, Rutgers University

Professional Background, Scholarship Highlights

Specialty areas are environmental communication and spirituality/intrapersonal communication.

Books

  • The Path of My Soul: Journey to the Center of Self. Denver: Acropolis Books, 1999.
  • Not Till We Are Lost: Reflections on Education, Communication, and Spiritual Transformation (completed manuscript, seeking publication).
  • An Ecology of Communication: Response and Responsibility in an Age of Ecocrisis (work in progress).
  • A Birth Year: Poems (work in progress).

Book Anthologies

"The Language that All Things Speak: Thoreau and the Voice of Nature," Voice and Environmental Communication, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Journal Editor

Guest Editor, Special Edition on "Educating for Ecological Sustainability." Ometeca 14/15, 2010.

Journal Articles

  • "Communicative Praxis in an Age of Ecocrisis." Ometeca 14/15, 2010.
  • "An Ecology of Communication." Ometeca 7, 2003: 17-30.
  • "Practicing an Ecological Ethos: On Living Sciencepoetry." Ometeca 5 & 6, 2002: 315-324.
  • "La Practica de un Ethos Ecologico: Sobre el Vivir de Acuerdo con la Cienciapoesia" translated in Rafael Catala: del Circula Cuadrado a la Cienciapoesia. Luis A Jimenez, ed. Bellvue, WA: Ventura One, 1994: 103-117.

Online

"Whither Wildness." Ad Hoc Monadnock (Monadnock Writers' Group Web site), Feb. 2011.

Personal Interests

  • I begin my classes with the understanding that students will live a more fulfilling life when they experience themselves as participants within a larger fabric of social and ecological relationships. This understanding provides a larger context of meaning for asking questions and receiving answers, which, if they are genuine answers, will soon be transfigured into new questions. It also provides a context within which students may explore multiple modes of knowing—reason, contemplation, emotion, intuition, and imagination—so that they may transform.
  • My pedagogical approach encourages learning in three interrelated areas: the development of a critical, creative, and eco-social awareness.
  • To me, being a teacher means acting as a catalyst that ignites this process of transformation. I practice an engaged pedagogy – inspired by the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Paulo Friere, David Orr, bell hooks, Parker Palmer, and Howard Gardner – that encourages students to use the classroom as a means for liberating untapped potential and creating new possibilities. Through my own life experience, I have also found that outside-the-classroom experiential learning can be similarly liberating and empowering. Whether inside or outside the classroom, students already have an inner intelligence that desires expression. My job is to create a space where this intelligence is acknowledged, respected, and explored.
  • I have put ideals into practice during my many years of teaching at Purdue University, Rutgers University, the University of Montana, and New England College. Whatever course I am teaching, I encourage my students to explore topics that stimulate a passionate response. When students explore a topic they care deeply about, and focus their attention on communicating this care to others, their process of transformation has begun. I also practice what I preach by expressing my passion for teaching, ethics, and life. However, I balance this passion with a playful attitude. In my experience, the combination of passion and play is a powerful motivator. Students model the energy level of the instructor. When they witness a teacher who is serious about learning, but who also expresses a sense of humor, they quickly find these qualities within themselves. This makes the classroom much more interesting and fun, enabling students to become active learners.
  • I make my deepest contribution as a teacher simply by my integrity and commitment. My most recent writings explore personal callings within the context of social and ecological relationships. Teaching is my calling. It gives my life meaning by providing me with a means for giving to others. I combine this attitude with intellectual knowledge and insights culled from many diverse life experiences – including living in solitude for four months in New Hampshire and hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine – to be an educator who supports, inspires, and challenges students in the learning process.
  • NEC enrolls all kinds of students, including magnificent misfits who struggled in high school for various reasons, like because they thought it boring or stupid, but who have plenty of potential. Many are understandably lost or unsure of themselves. NEC is where they find what they need to find—due to small classes, strong relationships with teachers, and experiential learning—and I love playing a role in and witnessing their transformation.
  • I have been known to add experiential learning to courses that is not planned on the syllabus. For example, in my Freedom of Speech course I asked students to consider the ways they might productively use their free speech rights on campus, including their right to organize and ask for what they want. The result was the planning and implementation of Pilgrim Palooza, an end of the semester outdoor event with music, water slide and dunk tank, tie-dye T-shirts, etc. The students did all the work, with bonus points given for a reflection paper on the experience. Pilgrim Palooza morphed into Quadstock, which is now an annual event, but it started from a question in class.
  • I love sports, played tennis in high school and college, and follow New York sports teams (the Mets, Nets, and Giants); my sports knowledge comes in handy when teaching Sport Communication.
  • Experiential Learning, Natural Environment, Civic Engagement.  These values are part of all my courses, but some may be emphasized depending on the particular course. For example, Senior Seminar students explore their life paths post-graduation by exploring intrapersonal communication/self-knowledge (inner listening), and their roles as citizens of the world, particularly in an age of ecocrisis (listening to the needs of the world). Experiential activities include clearness committees, in which students work in groups helping each other to "get clear" on deeper needs and passions, mock interviews with NH employers, including some alumni, and project work with employers set up by the NEC Concord center. Students also write reading journals on seminal texts (Emerson’s Self Reliance, Albert Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus, Einstein’s Cosmic Religious Feeling, Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence theory, etc.), applying textual insights to their lives, and a semester ending Education Autobiography, in which they highlight their key learning experiences prior to and at NEC, connecting the dots and projecting their path into the future. Students write in their evaluations that they feel well prepared for life after college after taking the course, as they have explored themselves, and a larger vision that includes the natural environment and civic engagement, supported and made tangible by experiential learning.