At Taylor University, professors have active careers in their fields before and during their time with Taylor. Associate Professor of English Dan Bowman recently published his book On the spectrum, a creative, non-fiction perspective of his experience as a writer, teacher, father, and Christian with autism.
Due to Taylor’s low 12: 1 faculty-to-student ratio and focus on the whole person, students have many opportunities to form personal and professional relationships with faculty outside of the classroom. Bowman practices this regularly as part of his post with Emergency diary and relationships and mentoring with students.
On the spectrum
In addition to celebrating his 10th year of teaching through a series of essays, Bowman explores his journey towards his adult autism diagnosis and the ways autism affects all areas of his life. He is a passionate advocate for neurodiversity in academic and spiritual settings, emphasizing not only the need for accommodations, but also all of the ways his autism can provide a richer experience for those around him.
Bowman hosted his book launch at the Taylor Zondervan Library where he read portions of his book, talked about his own autism experience, and answered questions from members of the public. There he explained how his publishing deal came about after a tweet from the publisher of Brazos Press asking what topics should be written from a Christian perspective. Bowman’s name came up after gaining notoriety for essays he previously published in faith and autism journals. The tweet went viral, and the next thing he found out was that he signed a book deal.
In addition to writing and teaching creative writing, Bowman is the editor of the Emergency diary, a national literary magazine. He moved his headquarters to Taylor and developed a class where students can work on staff for a semester as assistant editors. Here, they gain experience by reading submissions and learning the behind the scenes of journal publishing.
The practical experience of publishing is invaluable for undergraduates; it can serve as a resume of work experience and help students determine their professional interest. Relief is one of many publications for which Taylor students can write and edit, publish, receive design experience, and learn marketing and project management skills.
Parnassus, an art and literature review for students of Taylor, is another literary review offered as a fall semester course. In addition, students can work on Echo, (Taylor’s student newspaper), Illium Phone book, and Collide (Integration of faith and culture cabinet magazine).
After completing Bowman’s Introductory Creative Writing course, senior English – Creative writing Major Abby Pepin was sold on the english department, and after enjoying her time on Relief and Parnassus, she became interested in more similar work. In January 2021, Abby Pepin asked Bowman if he knew of any summer internships at literary journals she could apply for. He offered her the opportunity to help her with her book launch and additional work on Relief, and Pepin chose to jump on it.
“My philosophy at the start of the summer was, very rarely do I want to ask you to do something that isn’t super meaningful most of the time,” Bowman told Pepin. “I want you to participate in activities that you could tell a story about in an interview and they will understand that has real substance.”
Most of Pepin’s work was to write the discussion guide for On the spectrum. It was quite a learning experience and one of his favorite projects. She didn’t know much about autism before, but enjoyed learning psychology and has a minor, so the process of writing questions for people with autism and neurotyping was her favorite process.
“As with everything, this is something where learning more about it can help you like people better,” she said.
In addition, she reviewed Relief’s final submissions, organized the catalog at Relief headquarters, and advised on the marketing of the journal. She also helped Bowman prepare for various podcast and media appearances by pre-practicing mock interview.
Achieve career goals
After his experience with Bowman, Pepin envisioned a career in publishing. While she will always love to write, her interest in publishing has grown significantly to focus more on aspects of publishing. For Bowman, Pepin’s involvement was the culmination of everything he wanted for his career.
“I have dreamed for a long time about where I wanted to be and this is exactly where I am now,” Bowman said. “I love working with my students. I love working on literary magazines and I love being a writer. Even though every opportunity hasn’t always worked out along the way, I just kept going until it happened. is now working. ‘”
If you are interested in a career in writing and editing, Taylor offers a variety of specialties, including English literature or creative writing, Professional writing, and Multimedia journalism.