Meet Kara Mae Brown (CCS Writing & Literature Faculty)
The Literature major at the College of Creative Studies was the signature program at the onset of the College some 50 years ago. Several years ago the major was re-launched as Writing & Literature, and Kara Mae Brown came to CCS in 2015-2016 to become its Program Coordinator as well as a Lecturer in the UCSB Writing Program and the CCS Writing & Literature Program. Brown came to UCSB from Northeastern University where she taught writing for several years and served as Director of First Year Writing. “Launching a new program at CCS sounded challenging and coming to UCSB would allow me to continue my own writing somewhere I could get some sun instead of trudging through the snow and ice!’ commented Brown. She received her B.A. in English from The Ohio State University in 2003, and her MFA from Emerson College in Boston in 2009.
“I read all the time, ” remarks Brown when asked what inspired her from an early age, “but I never thought I would be a writer until a professor encouraged me.” Like the CCS Writing & Literature students, Brown has a genuine passion for reading and writing. Brown works closely with CCS students to complete rigorous coursework in Creative Writing, Literary Study, and Writing Studies. For Brown, one of the exciting aspects of the CCS Writing & Literature program is that students have considerable freedom to design their own course of study. A key differentiator of the Program for Brown is that ‘Writing & Literature majors keep a portfolio of their work throughout their four years with two comprehensive reviews in their second (mid-residency review) and fourth years (senior portfolio review), a serious commitment by students and faculty to enrich the student experience.’ The senior portfolio review is critical as it is a collection of the student’s collective creative and/or scholarly works as well as reflection of the student’s learning over the 4 years.
Students describe Brown as: “She cares so much about us. She grades hard and expects a lot but at the end your writing will improve tremendously,” “…one of the best teachers that I have ever had,” “Learned lots about writing and enjoyed it too because of her enthusiasm for the subject,” and “Was super bubbly…and…really passionate about what she teaches.”
Brown’s research interests include creative writing pedagogy, teaching with technology, online teaching, multimodal composition, comics, and first-year writing curricula—all reflective of her courses and published work. Brown is the author of short fiction and nonfiction essays and stories; some of her most recent publications include “Martha Paints the Sunset" (Glint Literary Review), “A Touch of Sugar on the Blood” (Green Briar Review), "What the Star Told Me" (Santa Clara Review) and "Superstition" (Bluestem Review). Brown presents her work at major conferences and encourages her students to do the same with support from the CCS Traveling undergraduate Research Fund. Brown is the recipient of a recent UCSB Faculty Career Development Award to finish her novel and is co-PI with CCS Interim Dean Kathy Foltz on a recently awarded UCSB Faculty Outreach Grant.
In addition to teaching, mentoring, and writing, Brown with her husband and daughter enjoy touring the California Central Coast.