Faculty Spotlight: Helane Androne

photo of Helane Androne

  • associate professor of English
  • interim director of the Ohio Writing Project
  • teaches K-12 teachers in graduate writing workshops as well as a variety of traditional and non-traditional undergraduate students at Middletown campus
  • research focuses on ritual studies applied to literature and teaching
  • most recent publication is Multiethnic American Literatures: Essays for Teaching Context and Culture


"I received my BA in Literature/Writing at the University of California, San Diego. I then received both a Masters in Teaching English and a PhD in English from the University of Washington before coming to Miami.

"I teach African American writing, Latin literatures, and composition courses. I'm also an affiliate with three Miami programs: Black World Studies, Latin American, Latino/a, and Caribbean Studies, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. My work uses ritual studies to engage literature and teaching, specifically focusing on the ritualizing that happens in literature and the way ritual principles like repetition, reflection, and transformative cycles operate in the classroom to encourage learning.

"The funny truth is, I always wanted to be a doctor of medicine, but I just kept getting caught up in my English classes! I enjoyed them so much, and the work came so naturally to me. I've always loved reading, writing, and language since I was a small child; I would spend my free time creating my own magazines, stories, and poetry. I loved texts and found myself writing and performing them. Whenever I had the choice, I would choose literature courses."


"I'm Interim Director of the Ohio Writing Project (OWP), which offers professional development to licensed K-12 teachers and administrators. I get to teach alongside K-12 teachers. I also teach undergraduates, who are always a mixture of traditional and non-traditional students. I love the kind of community this produces and the ideas that emerge from that. It's great to see what happens when you've got 16 year-olds and parents and war veterans and professionals and traditional students all in a room thinking deeply. It's a worthwhile challenge to teach, encourage, and motivate each other.
[Learn more about the Ohio Writing Project in the July 2015 CAS press release The Ohio Writing Project, teachers learning from teachers on Miami's campus.

"Working with OWP teachers has transformed my own classroom teaching. I feel like I've always been an engaged instructor, but interacting with K-12 teachers helps me to see my classroom and courses from multiple perspectives. It also helps me to engage the art of teaching differently, to find new ways to use learning tools and space. There's so much we can learn from working together!

"My philosophy is that students and teachers learn together, and the best way to do this is to have the freedom to ask questions, to pursue answers to questions, and to have ideas respected and considered. I often write on my syllabus, 'It's not important that we agree, but it is important that we engage. We're cracking things open and digging deeper.'"

Work in the Ohio Writing Project

"The OWP is a site of the National Writing Project housed within the Department of English, and we administer and offer a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). We assist K-12 teachers with in-classroom research as well, helping them pursue answers to real questions they have about what occurs in the classroom.

"Our writing project mantra at the OWP is 'the best teacher of a teacher is another teacher.' We are thinking partners in the conversation about issues that occur in the classroom. And the thing is, most of our concerns are essentially the same. It's all about adaptations: how do I achieve that outcome in my classroom? The outcome is significant and important regardless of how old the students are.

"I think our faculty would probably be really surprised at how enriching, fulfilling, and interesting working with K-12 teachers can be. I really encourage faculty to get involved with the OWP—it's a rewarding experience.

"I'm working toward gaining a more integrated role in the English department, the College of Arts and Science, and the university as a whole. The OWP has a very strong relationship with a large community of alumni and teachers, so we're working to connect what we do in the region's schools with opportunities for our Miami undergrads as well. Miami undergrads can find opportunities for service learning in the OWP. There are plenty of opportunities inside and outside classrooms. Students have the chance to see what K-12 teaching is really like, not only in classrooms and professional development workshops, but also with our annual Youth Writing Camp that takes place on campus in the summer."

Outside the Classroom

"I have to admit that working in the classroom allows me to do what I love most, so my hobbies aren't exactly exciting outside the classroom. I spend most of my time enjoying my family and their hobbies, which means lots of baseball, basketball and super/mutant/otherworldly heroes—and I definitely watch too much Netflix!"

[August 2015]