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Phone: 831.479.6366
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Office Hours: In my new position as Faculty Lead for Guided Pathways, I am not teaching but would be happy to have former students drop into see me at my new office in the 100 Building.
Location: NEW: 110

College Planning Council (CPC)EnglishFaculty SenateInstitutional Effectiveness CommitteeProfessional Development (previosly Staff Development)

Marcy Alancraig
English Instructor/ Faculty Lead for Guided Pathways

Marcy Alancraig
Looking for whales at San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja, Mexico

BA, Women's Studies and Creative Writing, UC Santa Cruz, MA. Art and Media Technology (Creative Writing), Anitoch College
With Cabrillo College since 1991

“If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. This first thing a writer should be is—excited.”

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

While I am not teaching for the academic year of Fall 2018-Spring 2019, I am very excited to be helping Cabrillo to implement Guided Pathways, a new approach to campus processes and offerings to help students complete certificates, degrees or transfer in a more timely manner. Come talk to me about what the college is doing and how it will help all our students to achieve their dreams.

I have treasured my moments in the classroom. Past classes include: Composition (English 100, 1A, 1AHonors, 1B, 2, 2Honors) and Creative Writing (English 12A, 14A). English for the Digital Bridge Academy, learning communities (US Women’s History and English 1A; History, Geology and Literature of Point Lobos and Big Sur), Gay and Lesbian literature.

Approach: Students take center stage; based on the latest research on the neuroscience of learning, classes are interactive and hands-on. We go outside, we teach each other, we ask hard questions with no right answer.

Themes: History, literature, anthropology and ecology of the Monterey Bay (English 1A, 1AH and English 100); neuroscience of learning, cetacean, primate, and elephant cognition (English 2, 2H), the creative process (English 1B, 12A and 14A).

Activities: Hikes through the Forest of Nisene Marks or Point Lobos; whale watch trips; visits to the National Steinbeck Center and the SC Natural History Museum; eavesdropping fieldtrips (for fiction writing); re-enactments of scenes in a novel or the internment of the Japanese during World War II, walking debates, presentations, public fiction readings.

Types of paper assignments: Nominate a scientist for a Nobel Prize (English 2) or a local change agent for the English 1A Humanitarian Award (English 1A), write an environmental impact report (English 1A), tell the one story you are not supposed to tell (English 12A and 14A).

Awards: 2009-2010 Hayward Award for Excellence in Education, a statewide recognition of my teaching, contributions to Cabrillo and work with faculty across California. 2016 Floyd Younger Award for Excellence in Teaching, Cabrillo's highest honor for faculty.

In between my work at the college, I also spend time writing. I get up at 5:30 every morning to work on my novel in progress, The Whale Singer, which tells the story of a young human girl who was once a gray whale. I am almost done with that book. I write stories and poems about listening to the natural world and finding how to live with the wisdom it reveals. Visit my web site at to learn about my novel, A Woman of Heart, from Mazo Publishers (published July 2011). Catch my blog on Writing and Teaching that appears on this site.

I am also excited about having fun. I am an outdoor enthusiast, avid hiker and backpacker: the east side of the Sierra and the backcountry of Yosemite are some of my favorite places to roam. Favorite local hikes: Nisene Marks and Garrapata State Parks, Point Lobos State Reserve, Manresa State Beach and Wilder Ranch.

I am also a gray whale lover: ecstatic participant on trips to Baja birthing lagoons to interact with mother and baby gray whales, Earthwatch Institute volunteer to research summer feeding habits of gray whales in British Columbia, intent whale watcher from a particular granite cliff at Point Lobos State Reserve.

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