Staff Spotlight: Professor Claire Davis

Sherry Bonner, Writer

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Professor Claire Davis joined the English department of LCSC in 1994, shortly after receiving her MFA from the University of Montana, as an adjunct professor. Her skills and inspiring teaching style soon earned her a tenured position and today she continues to assist students in expanding our horizons and understanding of the world around us.
Prof. Davis teaches two core classes: Intro/Literature (Engl-150) and International Literature (Engl-258). She also leads writing workshops on fiction, creative non-fiction and occasionally, poetry.
In addition to her academic work, Prof. Davis is also an internationally published, award-winning author with two novels, “Winter Range” (set in Montana) and “Season of the Snake” (set in Lewiston) to her credit, as well as a collection of short stories, “Labors of the Heart: Stories.” She served as co-editor with Kim Barnes on “Kiss Tomorrow Hello: Notes from the Midlife Underground by Twenty-five Women over Forty.”
Her work has also been published in such journals as the Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, and Southern Review. She’s been the recipient of the Associated Writing Program Award for poetry, appeared in the Best American Short Stories List of 100 for “Balance” and “Labors of the Heart” made an appearance in Best American Short Stories of 2001. She also received the Pushcart Prize for “Grounded” (another short story), was honored with the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award and Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for “Winter Range” and received the Foundation Award from LCSC for teaching.
Prof. Davis has a third novel in the works set in north central Idaho and based on two “at risk” teenagers, and a second collection of short stories.
On a personal level, Prof. Davis brings an abundance of knowledge and wisdom to the classroom in the form of her travels and insights into the human experience. In particular, the International Literature class is an eye-opening journey through the writings of authors and poets from multiple nations, in an effort to understand not only our differences but the similarities we share with other cultures.
“That global mix of literature is rich and deep and wonderful,” Prof. Davis said while describing the varying focal points and styles of the selected works. “Understand that when we consider something ‘weird’ it’s generally because we’ve been steeped in one way of viewing literature, reading literature, or understanding the story primarily coming from our culture or background.”
While Prof. Davis began her literary and academic path in her 30’s, she exhibits a sense of being connected to and understanding the role that technology has played in our daily lives, including the effect it has had on our consumption of literature. Although the number of students who actively read for pleasure has dropped substantially over the years, Davis is beginning to see a trend of “self-correction” in the pace of film media that may lead to longer attention spans in future students.
For students who haven’t taken a class with Prof. Davis yet, prepare to be immersed in a melting pot that will help you to appreciate the amazing diversity of our campus and our world. She has an energetic and thought-provoking teaching style that inspires classroom engagement and one of the most important qualities a teacher can have: she doesn’t teach you how to think, she gives you the tools and shows you how to use them so that you can think critically for yourself.