English and Theatre Department
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English and Theatre Department

What We Do:

If you ask our faculty about their research interests, you will hear many different answers. You will hear that we study Chaucer, Shakespeare, Julia Alvarez, Lighting Design, the Rhetoric of 9/11, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Poetry, Creative Non-Fiction, James Joyce and playwriting, to name just a few of our specialties – and that we love our work.

When you come to class, you'll find that passion informing our teaching. We teach our students to read deeply and well, and to engage with literature on many fronts, whether performing a scene from one of Shakespeare’s comedies, crafting a poem, analyzing a narrative, constructing a set or developing a writing portfolio.

Our distinguished faculty help our students succeed in the classroom, in co-curricular activities and in their lives as professionals and as citizens.

How We Stand Out:

  • Our teaching is grounded in Jesuit values such as cura personalis (care for and with the whole person) and the importance of the imagination.
  • Our classes develop increasing sophistication in reading, writing and verbal communication, skills that serve our students all their lives.
  • Our faculty model the innovation and professionalism that we teach our students.
  • Our students succeed in the “real world,” and they learn to measure what success means.
  • Our dedicated faculty members work with students outside the classroom — to develop a literary magazine, to present papers at student conferences, to mentor creative activities and to prepare for graduate and professional school.
  • Our faculty and students take part in distinctive events that highlight the Arts and Humanities.  Click here to see our most recent events. 


Meet Our Faculty:

The English and Theatre Department faculty and staff lead by example. Our faculty members model the kind of literary engagement, creative expression and community involvement we work to instill in our students. Their unique talents, love of teaching, creative interests and academic scholarship play intricate parts in the success of our programs and our students. Find out more about our faculty news.

Just a few examples:

  • Dr. Leonard Gougeon is author of several books on Ralph Waldo Emerson, and of numerous essays on Emerson and major figures of the antebellum period and he is the recipient of many scholarly honors.  Dr. Gougeon's essay, "Culture and Conflict:  Thoreau, Great Britain, and the Civil War," has recently been published in a collection celebrating Henry David Thoreau's 200th birthday.  The volume, Thoreau at Two-Hundred: Essays and Reassessments, eds. Kevin Van Anglen and Kristen Case (Cambridge: Cambride University Press, 2016), can be repviewed at https://www.amazon.com/Thoreau-at-200-Essays-Reassessments/dp/1107094291/ref=sr_1_1
  • In October, Dr. Gougeon will be travelling to Concord, Massachusetts, Thoreau's hometown, for the official book launch.  The          affair will include presentations from contributors on Thoreau's work and his continuing influence in the modern world.
  • Dr. Hank Willenbrink’s  play, The Boat in the Tiger Suit, was staged at The Brick Theater in Brooklyn, N.Y. and will be published by Original Works Publishing. His forthcoming short documentary, “The Wave,” looks at the history of surfing and its connections to the environment, performance and oceanography.
  • As Director of our First Year Writing Program, Dr. Teresa Grettano ties new media and social marketing into traditional classroom English lessons. Dr. Grettano specializes in the rhetoric of 9/11.
  • Dr. Rebecca Beal enjoys teaching and studying medieval literature. Dr. Beal is writing a book on Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, with side trips into John Gower and extended visits with Dante.

Dr. Rebecca Beal


Professor of English

A.B., Westmont College
M.A., The University of Chicago
Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin

Phone: (570) 941-6134
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Dr. Jones DeRitter


Professor of English

A.B., Oberlin College
M.A., Ph.D., University of Virginia

Phone: (570) 941-6148
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Dr. Daniel Fraustino


Professor of English

B.A., State University of New York at Buffalo
M.A., San Diego State University
Ph.D., Binghamton University

Phone: (570) 941-7616
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Dr. Michael Friedman


Professor of English

B.A., Tulane University
M.A., Ph.D., Boston University

Phone: (570) 941-4229
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Dr. Toni Glover

Associate Professor of English

B.A., M.A., University of Texas at Arlington
Ph.D., University of Texas at Dallas

Phone: (570) 941-7905
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Dr. Leonard Gougeon


Professor of English

B.A., St. Mary’s University, Halifax
M.A., Ph.D., University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Phone: (570) 941-7422
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Dr. Teresa Grettano


Associate Professor of English & Director, First Year Writing Program

B.A., University of South Alabama
Ph.D., Illinois State University

Phone: (570) 941-7659
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Dr. Joseph Kraus

Department Chair

Professor of English

B.A., University of Michigan
M.A., Columbia University
Ph.D., Northwestern University

Phone: (570) 941-6331
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Prof. Richard Larsen


Professor of Theatre

B.S., Northern Arizona University
M.F.A., San Diego State University

Phone: (570) 941-6327
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Prof. Bonnie Markowski


Faculty Specialist, Rhetoric & Composition, First Year Writing

A.A., Penn State, Wilkes-Barre
B.A., University of Maryland
M.A., The University of Scranton

Phone: (570) 941-7530
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Dr. Susan Mendez

Associate Professor of English

B.A., Pace University
M.A., Fordham University
Ph.D., University of California

Phone: (570) 941-4317
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Prof. Bianca Moore


Faculty Specialist, Rhetoric & Composition, First Year Writing

B.A., M.A., Wilkes University

Phone: (570) 941-7530
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Prof. Michael O’Steen

Associate Professor of Theatre

B.F.A., M.F.A., Carnegie Mellon University

Phone: (570) 941-4356
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Prof. Carl Schaffer


Professor of English

B.A., Fairleigh Dickinson University
M.A., The University of Michigan
M.F.A., University of Iowa

Phone: (570) 941-4291
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Dr. Billie R. Tadros


Assistant Professor

B.A., Susquehanna University
M.F.A., Sarah Lawrence College
Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Phone: (570) 941-7619
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Dr. Stephen Whittaker

Professor of English

B.A., M.A., Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin

Phone: (570) 941-7795
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Dr. Hank Willenbrink


Associate Professor of Theatre
Theatre Program Director

B.A., University of Tulsa
M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

Phone: (570) 941-4353
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Inside the Classroom:

Lessons in English and Theatre reach far beyond the classrooms and stage. Our students learn to channel their passions and step outside their comfort zones to discover something new about themselves and the world around them.

  • Teaching emphasizes creativity, intellectual curiosity and incisive analysis.
  • Formal written assignments develop strong written and verbal communication skills for thoughtful expression.
  • Readings elicit questions opinions, discussion and written responses
  • On-stage performances and experiential learning opportunities encourage students to take the lead in the classroom and beyond
  • Faculty contribute to the growth and development of nearly every Scranton student through our First Year Writing program.

Faculty-mentored Student Research:

Many of our students develop their research while working closely with faculty. For example

  • Bradley Wierbowski, Class of 2013, developed a paper written in Dr. Whittaker’s class for the International Conference of Sigma Tau Delta, where it took first place in the category of British Literature. Brad later won the Sigma Tau Delta Junior Scholarship and a Barry Goldwater Scholarship; he is currently studying science at Harvard.
  • Judith Paltrin delivered her first national conference presentation as a result of research with Dr. Gougeon. She is now an assistant professor of English.
  • Corinne Nulton, mentored by Dr. Willenbrink, wrote a play recently staged at The Brick Theatre in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently pursuing an advanced degree in creative writing.

Career Outcomes:

You’ll find Scranton graduates with an English or Theatre degree in:

  • Medicine
  • Secondary Education
  • Library Science
  • Journalism
  • Public Service / Politics
  • Acting
  • Production Management
  • Writing / Editing
  • University Teaching
  • Law
  • Business
  • Public Relations / Digital Marketing
  • Publishing
  • Directing
  • Set and Costume Design

Graduates leave The University of Scranton with the ability to thoughtfully articulate ideas and the aspiration to share their wisdom to make a difference.  Alumni News