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Portrait of Melissa Tombro

Associate Professor

Melissa Tombro

  • School of Liberal Arts
  • English & Communication Studies

Teaching Autoethnography
Personal Writing in the Classroom

Teaching Autoethnography: Personal Writing in the Classroom is dedicated to the practice of immersive ethnographic and autoethonographic writing that encourages authors to participate in the communities about which they write. The book draws not only on critical qualitative inquiry methods such as interview and observation, but also on theories and sensibilities from creative writing and performance studies, which encourage self-reflection and narrative composition. The book provides approaches anyone can use to explore their communities and write about them first-hand. The methods presented can be used for a single assignment in a larger course or to guide an entire semester through many levels and varieties of informed personal writing.

Cover of Teaching Autoethnography

How did you come up with the idea?
The book came from my dissertation research and work with students at FIT. There was no book available that offered a combination of ethnographic and creative writing techniques for undergraduate student populations interested in personal writing. My background in qualitative inquiry and classroom experiences at FIT all came together.

What did you learn?
It was amazing to work with my students at FIT and publish their work in the textbook. It allowed me to create training materials based on years of work I’ve done mentoring new faculty and developing practices from my research that are effective in my classroom.

What are you proudest of?
Over 2000 people have used my book to date. It is such a great feeling that my work can help so many people reach their teaching goals. The feedback has been very positive and gratifying.

  • Time to publication: 3 years
  • Professor at FIT since 2007
  • Teaches classes on writing and women and gender studies