Profile - Kirsten Dierking

Kirsten Dierking

Instructor Profile

Meet Kirsten Dierking
Instructor of Humanities

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) in Creative Writing, Hamline University; Bachelor of Arts (BA) in History and International Affairs, University of Colorado Boulder

Question and Answer

  • Question

    Would you list some recent accomplishments?



    • Guest star on A Prairie Home Companion
    • Recipient of a 2010 McKnight Fellowship in Poetry
    • Recipient of the National Education Association Excellence in the Academy Art of Teaching
    • Recipient of the Building Bridges Award in Education, presented by the Islamic Resource Group, Minneapolis, MN
    • Writer-in-Residence, Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts
    • poems featured on A Writer's Almanac
    • Finalist, student nominated teacher of the year "Golden Chalk" Award, 2008
    • Recipient SASE/Jerome Grant for poetry
    • Inclusion in 150 Lives That Make a Difference, Hamline University book profiling “extraordinary -individuals who have been part of Hamline’s 150-year history”.
    • Editorial Panelist “Thought and Action”, the NEA Higher Education Journal
    • Recipient Loft Literary Center Career Initiative Grant for poetry
    • Recipient Minnesota State Arts Board Poetry Fellowship
    • Graduate Liberal Studies Alumnus of the Year, Hamline University,1998
    • Creative Thesis of the Year, Hamline University 1994


    • Three Books of poetry: One Red Eye, Northern Oracle, Tether.
      Poems in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Garrison Keillor's Good Poems American Places, and the anthology Finnish-North American Literature in English
    • "Survivors on Campus: A Dialogue About Sexual Assault, by Kirsten Dierking and Laura Gray-Rosendale, Thought & Action, The NEA Higher Education Journal (Fall 2014)
    • “From Whitehall Palace to Burger King: Teaching the Humanities”
      Thought and Action, The NEA Higher Education Journal (Fall 2010)

  • Question

    What is your approach to teaching?


    I love finding connections between ideas and time periods and art forms. In humanities classes, we look at different time periods and consider how what was happening in the world is reflected in the art and thinking of the time. Then we look at how that art and creative thinking has created the world we live in today. We study music, art, architecture, philosophy, theater, literature and even science - and think about how they relate to each other to history and to our own contemporary lives - and we find those fascinating connections!

  • Question

    How would you describe what happens during one of your most successful classes?


    I love classes where we're all sharing the different impressions we get from art or creative work (for example, music or art or literature), and we realize how differently others interpret the world and how fascinating that is - and how much we can appreciate and learn from their different views.

  • Question

    What makes your curriculum interesting or valuable to students?


    Because we cover so many different fields, students always find something they connect with whether it's a painting, or a poem, or a piece of music, or a philosophical ideal, or a historical event or figure - there's something for everyone in these Humanities classes.

  • Question

    How do you think students describe your teaching methods and classes?


    Comfortable - I try to create a comfortable learning experience for everyone - both introverts and extroverts!

  • Question

    How do you help your students get the most out of your class?


    We do activities like viewing in-class art galleries, having small-group debates and listening to music - so students get the chance to interact with the material and form their own opinions.

Fun Facts

  • Fun Fact #1

    I run (slowly) and just finished my first half-marathon.

  • Fun Fact #2

    I also throw the discus, javelin and hammer!

  • Fun Fact #3

    I have three mixed breed rescue dogs - small, medium and large.

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