English Faculty

Dr. Nancy L. Tuten
Head, Division of Languages and Literatures, Professor of English; Writing Program Director, Pearce Communication Center

Nancy Lewis Tuten has taught writing and literature at the college level since 1982. She currently serves as a tenured member of the English Department faculty here at Columbia College, where she teaches and directs the Pearce Communication Center writing-across-the-curriculum program. She has published a number of scholarly articles and two books: The Robert Frost Encyclopedia (Greenwood, 2001, co edited with John Zubizarreta) and Critical Essays on Galway Kinnell (G. K. Hall, 1996). For over a decade, she was a consulting editor for the international journal The Explicator, and since 2007, she has been an executive editor for that publication. Formerly she served as associate editor of the academic journal Studies in Short Fiction. She earned her BA from Newberry College in 1982 and her PhD from the University of South Carolina in 1988. The topic of her doctoral dissertation is the work of Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Galway Kinnell.

Nancy has been married to Wofford graduate Tom Tuten since 1987. They have two daughters, Elizabeth and Emily, and four cats.

Favorite Quote:  “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” — Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies


Claudia Smith Brinson
Senior Lecturer of English

Claudia Smith Brinson worked for more than 30 years as a journalist, reporting for The Pensacola News-Journal, in Pensacola, Florida; the Athens Mirror and Athens News in Athens, Greece; and The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina. Initially, she covered education, which remained an interest. At The State, she wrote about social issues as a senior reporter, as an associate editor for the editorial board, and as a columnist. Most recently, she worked on special projects and was book editor. Her work was distributed nationally by Knight Ridder. She won more than three dozen state and national awards for her journalism, including the Knight Ridder Award for Excellence. She also covered South Carolina free-lance for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and, for several years, Newsweek.

Brinson has published short stories, including “Einstein’s Daughter,” which won an O.Henry, and has written for such magazines as McCall’s, Redbook, and Reader’s Digest. For 20 years, she taught a variety of writing courses for the English Department and S.C. Honors College at the University of South Carolina, where she earned a bachelor’s in English, a bachelor’s in journalism, and a master’s in mass communications. She is the mother of two. Her volunteer work has included teaching reading to adolescents, serving for several years on advisory boards for The Nurturing Center and Women’s Studies at USC, and, most recently, teaching poetry at the Women’s Shelter. At Columbia College, she teaches writing courses.

Favorite Quote: “Intentions create the reality that we experience.” –The Dancing Wu Lei Masters: An Overview of the New Physics by Gary Zukav.


Dr. Christine Hait
Associate Professor of English

Christine Hait teaches a variety of classes at Columbia College, including first-year composition, introduction to mass communications, multicultural American literature, African American literature, and an honors film seminar. She is the faculty sponsor of the English Majors Society and the Columbia College chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society. She has served as a member of the board of Sigma Tau Delta and travels with students annually to the Sigma Tau Delta conference where students make presentations and participate in panels with English department faculty.

Dr. Hait has published essays on American women writers Katherine Anne Porter and Kay Boyle. She serves on the executive committee of the Katherine Anne Porter Society and has recently co-founded the Kay Boyle Society. A native of Texas, she received her B.A. and M.A. at Texas A&M University and her Ph.D. from University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill.

Favorite Quote:  “Only connect!” – E.M. Forster, Howards End


Dr. Melissa W. Heidari
Professor of English

Melissa Walker Heidari is a professor of English and coordinator of the Literary Studies Track. She earned her B.A. in English and French from the University of South Carolina, her M.A. in British Literature from the University of Rochester, and her Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of South Carolina. She is a recipient of the University of Rochester’s Rush Rhees Fellowship, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a member of the Southern Intellectual History Circle. Her research interests include women’s autobiography, post-bellum and Reconstruction-era Southern literature, and Southern intellectual history.

She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Southern Regional Education Board for her research. Her recent publications include “To Find My Own Peace”: Grace King in Her Journals, 1886-1910 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004), as well as a number of articles and conference presentations. She is co-producer of a documentary film on Grace King, which she anticipates to be in production soon. In addition to introductory courses in composition and literature, she teaches courses on American literature and Women’s Studies. In 2004, she received the Columbia College Faculty Excellence Award.

Favorite Quote:  “If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.” — Margaret Fuller

Dr. Calley Hornbuckle
Assistant Professor of English, Director of the Academic Skills Center

Calley Hornbuckle received her B.A. from Bennington College in Vermont, her M.A. from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, and her Ph.D. From the University of South Carolina. After serving as an adjunct for four years in Massachusetts at Clark University, Bridgewater State College, and Bentley College, she came to Columbia for her doctoral study at the University of South Carolina. Her dissertation focuses on Romantic women writers and the environmental tradition. Her research interests include British and American Romanticism, ecocritical literature, eighteenth-century aesthetics, and women’s studies. She has also published articles on Iris Murdoch and David Henry Hwang. She began teaching at Columbia College in the spring of 2006 and has taught a number of first-year courses as well as survey courses on British literature in general, on the works of Shakespeare, and on special topics such as the modern fairy tale.

Apart from a genuine passion for teaching, Dr. Hornbuckle loves hiking, woodworking, and watching foreign films. Her favorite directors include Pedro Almodovar, Ingmar Bergman, and Zhang Yimou.

Favorite Quote: “To ‘learn from experience’ is to make a backward and forward connection between what we do to things and what we enjoy or suffer from things in consequence. Under such conditions, doing becomes a trying; an experiment with the world to find out what it is like; the undergoing becomes instruction—discovery of the connection of things.” —John Dewey, from Democracy and Education.


Dr. Allan Nail

Assistant Professor of English

Allan Nail began his career in education as a high school English/Language Arts teacher in his native Florida. For nearly a decade he taught all levels of secondary English courses, including for five years at Santa Fe College?s High School Dual Enrollment program. After completing his Ph.D. at the University of Florida, he taught at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown before joining the faculty at Columbia College where he teaches composition, literature, and education courses. His research interests include online technology use in teacher education, global student teaching initiatives, and the use of critical pedagogy in high school literature discussions through genre fiction.

Allan’s most recently accepted manuscript is a book chapter about student teaching experiences in New Zealand, and he has recently published academic articles on online writing partnerships and zombies— though, alas, not in the same piece. He is married to Cheryl, a fellow Gator, curriculum manager, and freelance writer.


Dr. Helen Rudnick Rapoport
Lecturer of English

Helen Rudnick Rapoport grew up in Aiken, South Carolina. Rapoport worked as the public relations director for The University of South Carolina-Aiken and The United Way of the Midlands in Columbia, South Carolina. She also was the editor of the weekly newspaper, The Richland Northeast, in Columbia, and she worked as a journalist reporting for The Aiken County Rambler and Sandlapper, a South Carolina magazine.

For many years she reviewed books for The State newspaper in Columbia and was a freelance writer for a number of publications and organizations. Rapoport published legal articles in state and national journals as a legal counsel for The South Carolina Department for Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services (SCDPPS). While there, she also instructed new probation agents at The South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and taught continuing legal education courses at SCDPPS. Rapoport has edited a number of legal books for The South Carolina Bar Association such as: Juvenile Justice in South Carolina, Marriage and Divorce Law in South Carolina, Nuts and Bolts of Substantive and Procedural Law, Capital Trial, Civil Practice and Due Process In Magistrate Court, and The Probate Practice Manual.

While at Columbia College, Rapoport published Express to Impress, a workbook to help students achieve an effective vocabulary. To sharpen their vocabulary skills, Rapoport’s students use the book’s mnemonic memory devices, graphic aids, and vocabulary exercises. The verbal and visual associations help connect the information that the students are trying to learn with something they can relate to in their lives.

At Columbia College, Rapoport teaches reading and writing courses and is a staff member of the College’s Academic Skills Center. She is married to Mark Rapoport, and they have three children.

Favorite Quote: “Success . . . to laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty. . . to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have SUCCEEDED!” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dr. Amy Reeves
Assistant Professor of English
Amy Reeves has her PhD in nineteenth-century British literature from the University of South Carolina. Her areas of specialization include nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature as well as children’s and young adult literature. She has published academic articles including: “Emily Brontё’s Pedagogy of Desire in Wuthering Heights in The Victorian Newsletter (2006) as well as “Saving Mrs. Mason’s Soul: How Blake ‘Rewrites’ Mary Wollstonecraft’s Original Stories from Real Life” for the book Romanticism and Parenting: Image, Instruction and Ideology (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007.) She also writes young adult books including Ripper (Flux/Llewellyn, 2012), a paranormal historical fiction novel about the Jack the Ripper murders in Victorian England, Renegade (Flux/Llewellyn, 2013) the sequel to Ripper, and Resurrection (Flux/Llewellyn, 2014) the third book in the Ripper trilogy.

Besides teaching and writing, Amy likes to jog with her Labrador retriever and spend time with her husband and three young children.

Dr. John Zubizarreta
Director of Honors & Faculty Development, Professor of English

John Zubizarreta is Professor of English, Director of Honors and Faculty Development, and former Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Columbia College. He has published widely on modern American, British, and comparative literatures; teaching pedagogy; honors education; teaching, learning, and administrative portfolios; academic leadership; and faculty development. Foremost among his disciplinary publications is his co-edited Robert Frost Encyclopedia (2001), a collaboration with Nancy Tuten.

A Carnegie Foundation/C.A.S.E. U.S. Professor of the Year and a C.A.S.E. Professor for South Carolina, he has also earned recognition for teaching and scholarly excellence from the American Association for Higher Education, the South Atlantic Association of Departments of English, the National United Methodist Board of Higher Education, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, and other educational organizations. John has led faculty development workshops and delivered keynote addresses worldwide, and he has mentored faculty nationwide and abroad in enhancing and documenting teaching and learning. His most recent interests have turned to student learning portfolios designed to improve learning through reflection, collaboration, and evidence. His recent books include Inspiring Exemplary Teaching and Learning: Perspectives on Teaching Academically Talented College Students (NCHC, 2008) and The Learning Portfolio: Reflective Practice for Improving Student Learning (Anker 2004), expanded and revised for a second edition by Jossey-Bass (2009).

When the academic life becomes too hectic, John is an avid telemark skier; an overly ambitious, aching runner; a former six-time national champion in whitewater canoe competition; a moonstruck husband; and the adoring father of two girls who keep him busy outside the ivied walls.

Favorite Quote: “Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.” — Flannery O’Connor.


Retired Faculty

Dr. Michael C. Broome
Head, Division of Languages and Literatures, Associate Professor of English

Michael “Mike” Broome, chair of the Columbia College English Department, began his career in higher education at Columbia College in 1973. After 16 years in the classroom, he was named associate dean of the College in 1992 and dean of the Graduate School and Academic Services in 1998. He returned to his faculty work in the English Department in 2000. Mike’s wife, the former Charlotte Stackhouse, is assistant music director at Washington Street United Methodist Church.

Dr. Broome’s B.A. in American Literature is from the University of Chattanooga; his M.A. in American Literature is from Florida State University; and his Ph.D. in English Education is from the University of South Carolina.

Outside of his love for teaching business writing, Southern literature and world literature, Mike enjoys golf, Civil War history, baseball card collecting, the Atlanta Braves and FSU football.

Favorite Quote: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants it down.” –Robert Frost, Mending Wall

Dr. Charles M. Israel
Professor of English

Charles Israel has been teaching English at Columbia College since 1985. He received his B.A. from Wofford College, his M.A. from Emory University, and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. He is the author of several critical articles on American and Southern literature. He co-authored with Elizabeth DuRant, the college’s archivist, a pictorial history of the college—Columbia College, in 2001. His main area of research and writing is contemporary Southern Literature.

Dr. Israel has been married to his wife Emily for half a century. Together, they have two children, Chuck and Laurie. He has one grandchild, Elizabeth. His son Chuck lives in Charlotte and teaches at Queens University. Laurie, his daughter, lives in Atlanta, where she is the manager of the graphic arts department at Carter USA. Dr. Israel enjoys traveling and playing golf, and his favorite reading is in contemporary Southern literature.

Favorite Quote: “A professor must have a theory, as a dog must have fleas.” –H.L. Mencken

Dr. Sandra R. O’Neal
Professor of English

Sandra R. O’Neal, born in Richmond, Virginia, graduated from Agnes Scott College with a B.A., from Wake Forest with an M.A., and from Duke with a Ph.D. in 1976. From 1976 to the present, she has taught at Columbia College.

Her areas of specialization are early English literature, history of the language, and composition. She has taught the following courses: Fundamentals of English (100), Basic Composition (101), Literature and Composition (102), British Literature to 1660 (Medieval and Renaissance), British Literature 1660 to 1832 (Neoclassical and Romantic), Shakespeare, Modern British Literature, British Women Writers, World Literature, The Development of Modern English, and Literary Criticism and Research. She received the Outstanding Faculty Award in 1993.

Most of her scholarly work has been associated with the Southeastern Conference on Christianity and Literature. She has presented numerous papers at the meetings of this group and has read two papers at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association.

Married to Gregg O’Neal, she has one son, one daughter, and one stepdaughter. Four granddaughters also provide joy in her life.

She has also taught Liberal Arts 101 as an honors course. This course, The Power of Ideas, explores the concept of what it means to be human from the approaches of fine arts, social science, science, and humanities.

Favorite Quote:  “It ought to be the endeavor of every [person] to derive his [or her] reflections from the objects about him [or her]. . . . The mind should be kept open to the access of every new idea.” — Samuel Johnson “Rambler No. 5”