Sheridan Blau

Sheridan Blau

Professor Emeritus, Ph. D., Brandeis University
Professor Emeritus, Ph. D., Brandeis University

Sheridan Blau is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Education, where he worked from 1995 to 2009.

After two years of teaching English in an urban high school, he went on to graduate school to earn a Ph.D. in English. Blau then served for four years as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Michigan before being recruited by the UCSB Department of English to teach 17th century literature and run the secondary teaching credential program in English. In 1979 he founded and became the Director the South Coast Writing Project (SCWriP), a professional development program for outstanding teachers of writing from all disciplines and all levels of education.

His involvement with SCWriP transformed my professional life,  completing the journey he had been making for some years from a conventional English professor to a teacher-educator, from  a scholar whose research interrogated literary texts to one who asks questions about the teaching and learning of literature and the teaching and learning of composition. Blau became even more focused on college composition and pedagogy from 1984-90 when he served as the Director of the campus Program in Composition. In 1988, while still directing the Composition Program and the Writing Project, he received a sizable grant from the National  Endowment for the Humanities to begin a Literature Institute for Teachers through which the Writing Project would conduct summer institutes and academic year programs designed to transform the teaching of literature in ways that were similar to what the project had accomplished for the teaching of writing.

By the time Blau stepped down from the position of Director of Composition in 1990 he was already embarked upon a number of projects in teacher-education and English education that have defined the next stage of his professional life and led him to redefine his departmental affiliation so that in 1995 he became officially  a member of the Department of Education as well as the Department of English. These projects included authoring secondary school textbooks in composition and literature, serving as the senior consultant for the development of California's statewide language  arts assessment, serving on the panel that developed the assessment instruments and scoring procedures for certifying teachers applying for National Board Certification in the English Language Arts, founding and serving as Director of the National Literature Project, serving on the Executive Committee of the Conference on English Education, and serving as Vice-President, President-Elect, and President of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Blau is currently a Distinguished Senior Lecturer and English Education Program Coordinator at Teachers College, Columbia University.