Faculty Spotlight- Dr. Cindy King


Written By: Catarina Prisbrey

Dr. Cindy King is a well-versed writer and an inspirational figure in the literary community. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and English at Dixie State University and is passionate in sharing her expertise. As a student, her most memorable learning activities were hands on such as editing and publishing, which helped connect real world experience to coursework. Today, while teaching, Dr. King integrates her past learning experiences into her teaching style and is a wonderful example of the active learning environment students are immersed in on campus.

Dr. King earned a master’s degree from The University of Southern Mississippi and a Ph.D. from Florida State University (FSU).  In her time as a student, she was an editorial intern for The Mississippi Review, a Poetry Editor for The Southeast Review and an Associate Editor for The Journal of Beckett Studies. While learning through editing and publishing Dr. King came to love publication and that there’s nothing more rewarding than getting your work published or publishing the work of others. Other beneficial opportunities were teaching poetry workshops to at-risk high school students through the Runaway with Words program and fundraising for FSU’s Writers Harvest Reading and Silent Auction.

As the Faculty Advisor of The Southern Quill and a professor, Dr. King engages students through active learning in ways similar to her educational experience. The Southern Quill (SQ), Dixie State’s literary arts journal, is purely created by student staff and all work selected for publication is chosen by students. SQ publishes various types of writing, including poetry, as well as photography and other forms of visual art. Dr. King’s goal is to facilitate journal production while students learn by doing and allowing students creative freedom. Students gain a deeper understanding of publication and editing that is helps in furthering their literary careers.

In 2016, the first annual Southern Quill Benefit Reading and Silent Auction was founded and held by Dr. King who was inspired by the hands-on work and curriculum at FSU. Each year her students assist in planning, creating connections in the community by asking for donations and hosting the event. In 2017, Dr. King was awarded a grant which allowed her to take her creative nonfiction classes to St. George Academy to teach writing workshops. She feels that when students can teach others they truly internalize the lessons.

In Dr. King’s courses, she includes active learning activities that have worked best for her over the years. In her 1010 class students collaboratively create a movie poster based on a book they are reading and in other classes, students are free to choose the subject of their problem solution paper. When possible, she allows students to select reading assignments for her creative writing courses. In her upper level courses, she requires students to submit to SQ, especially if they aren’t involved with the journal in other capacities. Dr. King encourages student led discussion, and online discussion questions developed by students because she finds that the class is more willing to participate this way. Dr. King also has some classes read at the St. George Library during National Poetry Month. 

Through working on The Southern Quill or taking one of Dr. King’s courses, students have shown spectacular results. They have blossomed by gaining confidence in themselves and their work. They network in the community and are learning to be good “literary citizens” by uplifting other writers and artists. Students on The Southern Quill get to see tangible growth and create a product which in the end they always love. One of Dr. King’s students, Ashley Emlay, won the Tanner award, was intern at Desert News and now has a fulltime job there. Dr. King is a lifelong learner who wants to pass her knowledge onto others and she’s proven to do an excellent job.