Fran Martens Friesen, M.A.

Assistant Professor of Humanities
McDonald Hall, Room 207


M.A., Teaching of Writing, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., 1990
B.A., History and English, Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana, 1983

Share why you teach at FPU

I appreciate FPU as a Mennonite Brethren school with an Anabaptist perspective which stresses the importance of community--the concept that all are participants in the learning community, not simply sole individuals on individual quests of learning. Such a perspective also emphasizes the nonhierarchical "priesthood of all believers" so that in the classroom, teachers and students alike engage in productive discussion and discover truths together. Such a concept fits into Freire's interactive problem-solving approach vs. the banking concept of education: collaboration vs. a pouring out of knowledge from the authority figure. The FPU idea of prophetic witness is also an important concept: we can speak "truth to power," and not simply mindlessly conform to societal values and expectations. Rather, in our readings and reflections, we must think critically, comparing our biblical understandings and Christ's model to the prevailing assumptions of the day.

With extensive experiences abroad in Asia and elsewhere, I also believe it is important to widen the world view of students to issues and concerns beyond their borders and begin to understand how our world and other cultures intersect, in our neighborhoods here locally and across the globe--ultimately promoting a culture of service in a wider context. Our student body, with a diversity unusual to a small Christian liberal arts school, provides a rich context for such sharing and interaction!

Scholarly Interests

  • Culture and communication
  • Gender and writing
  • Writing across the curriculum
  • EFL(English as a Foreign Language) (in Vietnam and China)
  • 1.5 Generation (unique English language needs)
  • Poetry writing around faith issues and international experiences

Professional and Service Experience

  • Faculty workshop presenter: writing issues at FPU
  • Admissions Committee, FPU
  • Worship Committee, Mennnonite Community Church

Professional Affiliations

  • National Council of Teachers of English (and Conference on College Composition and Communication)
  • California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (CATESOL)

Publications and Presentations

  • "Peers, Papers, and Progress: The Evolution of Stretch Class Writing Lab," co-presentation at the Conference on College Composition and Communication annual convention March 2009 in San Francisco, California
  • "Vietnam: A Country, Not a War," with Kenneth Martens in The Fresno Bee, April 24, 2005
  • "Peacebuilding and Traditional Culture in Vietnam," in MCC Peace Office Newsletter, January - March 2003
  • "Peace Efforts in Vietnam" in Mennonite Weekly, 2001 "The Watering Can," in A Whistle Over the Water, edited by Carmen Horst and Wanda Kraybill, published by Pinchpenny Press, 1994
  • "Garden Pump," in Born Giving Birth, edited by Mary Shertz and Phyllis Martens, published by Faith and Life Press, 1991

Other Information

International living experiences: Honduras (1983), China (1986-88) and Vietnam (1997-2002) through Goshen College and Mennonite Central Committee.