Nicole Blair, Ph.D.

Associate Teaching Professor
Office hours
Mondays, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
University of Southern Mississippi
Mississippi College

My academic career has spanned 34 years across four states and five universities, from the University of Southern Mississippi to the University of Washington, Tacoma. My interests in research and teaching are very broad, as I have an interdisciplinary background. I have an undergraduate degree in music and a Masters and Ph. D. in English. My interdisciplinary education has given me a unique perspective on the subjects I teach and an ability to look beyond the boundaries of any one discipline to see the ways all is connected.

Current Research

I am interested in many subjects, primarily literature, but also in the intersections between literature and music, and literature and science. Currently, I am working on a book about Virginia Woolf, an interdisciplinary work that explores the evolutionary foundations of story-telling.

As an administrator in Undergraduate Education, I am currently researching subjects such as faculty development, best practices of faculty in pedagogy and theories of student success. Based on this kind of research, our office creates workshops for both faculty and students.

In addition, as a teacher of first year students and as an administrator in undergraduate education, I am interested in the ways in which experiential learning impacts student success, and hoping to incorporate more service learning into my courses. Here at the University of Washington, Tacoma, we have the privilege of working with a variety of community partners. Community engagement and service learning are important areas of research for me as it directly impacts my teaching.

Lastly, I must say that I enjoy working with students on their research projects. I have been a faculty advisor for a Global Honors student writing her thesis, and in the spring of 2014, I was a thesis reader for an MIAS student. I also served as a faculty advisor for a student interning for the Tacoma Dome.


Since my appointment as Assistant Director of Undergraduate Education, I only teach three courses per year. Two of those courses are first year writing courses, in which we introduce academic writing. Core courses were originally taught in teams, so for the first three years, I taught with Sam Parker. Our theme was the Nature-Nurture debate. This course inspired me, when I started teaching it on my own, to further explore this social science theme. In subsequent iterations, I have focused on the nature of identity and how we both shape and are influenced by the world around us: in media, entertainment, politics and the way we interact with the natural world. Most recently, I have become interested in having students become more actively engaged with the world outside of the classroom and beyond the text. The theme for this course is now service learning. My teaching philosophy is fairly simple, based on my years of experience: I want my students to leave my class inspired to keep learning about the world they live in, and to make the world a better place than it was when they got here.  

I am looking forward to teaching a course on Literature and Other Arts, a course just recently added to the list of courses at UW Tacoma. As an interdisciplinary course, we will be exploring the connections between literature and music, from the classical genre to more modern styles of music like jazz.  

I do not teach graduate level courses at this time, although I do serve as a reader for graduate projects and theses. At this time, I am also the faculty advisor for student internships in the community.

Here is a list of the courses I regularly teach now, as well as courses I taught at UW Tacoma previous to 2006:

  • TCORE 101, First Year Academic Writing: The first year writing course is taught with a particular theme in mind, the theme being the choice of the faculty teaching the course. My theme this year was service learning.
  • TLIT 200, Understanding Literature: This is a basic, yet essential course, for anyone wanting to study literature in depth, as we read various kinds of texts and discuss ways of reading.
  • TLIT 240, Studies in English Literature: In TLIT240, we study prominent texts of British Literature. The time frame is up to each instructor. My favorite way to teach this course is through a theme, such as Gothic, in which we have read The Castle of Otranto, Dracula and Jane Eyre.
  • TLIT 325, Medical and Ethical Issues in Literature: The focus of this course is interdisciplinary, an exploration of the ways in which medical and ethical issues associated with illness and the practice of medicine emerge in literature, such as in Frankenstein, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • TLIT 390, Varities of Literary Criticism: In this course we explore the various theories and ways of critiquing literary and cultural texts.
  • TWRT 112, Introduction to Academic Writing: This course is similar to TCORE101 but is taught outside of the core program; it emphasizes critical analysis, research and argument. 
  • TWRT 211, Argument and Research in Writing: This course focuses on writing critical analyses and arguments about texts and issues in the arts and sciences. When I taught this course, my students chose their own research projects from a variety of topics, including media, entertainment, politics and social issues. Their final projects were multi-genre in nature. 

Previous to 2006, I also regularly taught the following: Nineteenth Century European Literature, Victorian Literature, Romantic Prose and Poetry, Literature and the Arts, Southern Writers.


I am a member of MLA, the Popular Culture Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the College English Association and the Threadhead Foundation (based in New Orleans, a foundation that supports roots musicians).

Academic Service

I am a member of a consortium of writing teachers across Puget Sound: our focus is on the transition from high school to college writing.

Honors and Awards

I have been incredibly honored by the students of the University of Washington as their choice for Outstanding Faculty from 2011, 2012, and 2013.

CV or Resume
PDF icon Nicole Blair CV115.83 KB