Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon


Alison Apotheker

Alison Apotheker has been teaching at PCC for 10 years. Her poems have appeared in many national literary magazines, including Mid-American Review, Prairie Schooner, North American Review and Crab Orchard Review. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has received the C. Hamilton Bailey fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts. Her first book of poems, Slim Margin, published by WordTech Communications is available through Amazon and Powells.

She lives with her husband, two young children, and a dog named Norm in an old fixer-upper in NE Portland.

Angie Berdahl

I am a native Oregonian, the sixth generation in a long line of filbert and strawberry farmers in Washington County, and I have taught at PCC Rock Creek for 16 years. Over the course of these years I’ve taught a wide range of our course offerings, including Writing 80, 90, 115, 121, 122, 123, 185, 213, and 227, as well as several literature classes, including the 100 sequence of Fiction, Drama, and Poetry, and the Shakespeare sequence. I’ve also reworked several of these courses in order to teach them in an online format, including Writing 121, 122, 227, and the Shakespeare sequence (English 201 and 202), and I’ve been teaching online for 12 years. I am currently teaching Writing 121 and Shakespeare online.

Samm Erickson
Samm Erickson

Samm Erickson is currently in his seventh year teaching at the Rock Creek Campus. He teaches primarily WR 115 and WR 122. His writing courses are focused on preparing students for the writing challenges that they will face in other college courses and in the real world. His favorite classes to teach are ENGL 251 – Literature of Science Fiction and ENGL 262 – Introduction to Mythology. Both disciplines explore the panoply of humanity and He believes that through encountering different belief systems and social structures, students are able to learn more about themselves and the contemporary world. When he’s not teaching or grading papers, Samm likes to pretend he’s a lead guitar player in a local rock and roll band.

Chris Jensen
Chris Jensen

Chris Jensen lives in Southeast Portland with his wife, four children, and four chickens. For many years he has been building a wooden boat with his kids, who will soon be too big for the boat; he hopes to finish soon. He has been teaching composition and English at PCC since 2000. His teaching philosophy embraces everyone from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (who said teaching is friendship) to Victor Comerchero (who said teaching is the assault on illusion) to Theodore Roethke (who said teaching is to carry on one's education in public). As of late, Jensen stresses themes of ecocomposition in his WR 121 courses, while in WR 122 the focus is on fast food, slow food, and other forms of eating. This year, he will also teach WR 115 (Intro to Expository Writing), ENG 104 (Intro to Fiction), and ENG 275 (The Bible as Literature).

Elizabeth Knight

Elizabeth Knight received a BA in English from UNH where she studied poetry with Charles Simic. She has an MFA in poetry from the UM/Amherst. In 1990 she received the prestigious Massachusetts Artist Fellowship in Nonfiction. She has published poetry and non fiction in many journals and magazines, including Prairie Schooner, Poetry East, Fiberarts, American Craft and CLR -- Elizabeth is also a visual artist represented by PDX Gallery. She is currently working on a new book about animal assisted therapy, getting ready for a show in 2008 and training her 3 dogs in obedience and for therapy work. But she always has time for her students.

Michael McDowell

Michael McDowell has written articles for Willamette Week, worked as a senior technical writer for Bank of America, and published essays in such books as The Ecocriticism Reader and Reading the Earth. In nearly ten years as a full-time college undergraduate and graduate English student, he learned how to write both personal and academic essays—a skill which he is pleased to pass on in the Writing 115, 121, and 122 courses he teaches.

Melissa Gregory Rue
Melissa Gregory Rue

Like many people, I am a transplant to Oregon. I grew up on a farm outside of Paris, Kentucky and then spent four years sandwiched between cornfields in Ohio at Miami University before moving West. I got my start teaching in Eugene, Oregon where I worked as a tutor at a private center for college students with learning disabilities, then moved to Portland to work as a graduate teaching assistant and pursue an M.A. in English Literature at Portland State University. Before joining PCC-Rock Creek as a full-time faculty member in 2000, I worked as an adjunct English instructor for PCC’s Rock Creek, SE Campus and Cascade campuses and for Marylhurst University and The Pacific Northwest College of Art. I also directed the writing centers at Marylhurst University and Clark College in Vancouver. I’ve been teaching online classes for the last few years, mostly Writing 121. I also teach Introduction to Science Fiction online. When I’m not reading student papers, teaching, or working on committees, I’m studying filmmaking at The Northwest Film Center.