Humanities instructor Chip Phillips:
mentor and muse
RCC Humanities instructor Chip Phillips enjoys the range of age and life experience that Rogue’s students bring to his literature and writing classes.
“No two students read or interpret things the same way,” he noted. Phillips’ goal is to encourage inspiration over recitation. “Discussion is primary,” he said, and his classes’ conversations often grow animated.
Phillips, who earned a bachelor’s in English at the University of California, Los Angeles, went on to earn a master’s in American literature at San Diego State University and a Ph.D. in American literature from Claremont Graduate University.
Prior to joining the RCC faculty full time in 2000, Phillips taught part time at RCC and at Southern Oregon University, served as an adjunct professor at San Diego State University and taught at a number of California two-year colleges.
“Students like Dave Snell make my job easy,” Phillips said, laughing. “Dave brought an incredible talent and real skill, but never rested on his laurels or grew defensive. He’s always receptive and hungry for feedback and doesn’t get defensive.”
For his part, Snell regards Phillips as a supportive and encouraging writing mentor. “Chip knows how to analyze literature and how fiction should work. He knows language well on a technical level. He has a vast and rich knowledge of literature and editing.”
“Chip always pushes me for more depth and meaning and to have a more literary edge. He’s helped immensely,” said Snell. “He’s taught me to have a greater appreciation of literature.”
Author David Snell’s skills honed at RCC
“For aspiring writers, Rogue Community College is a great starting point,” says author David Snell. “The Humanities Department teaches to high standards.”
Snell, whose second novel, “Demon Days,” came out in December, has doggedly pursued his goal of a writing career since graduating from North Valley High School in 2000. He began creating stories and fantasy worlds back in third grade. Snell recalls how he dove right into RCC.
“I chose Rogue because it was close to home, affordable, and offered the transfer degree I needed. Rogue truly is a community college.” After earning an Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer degree, Snell attended Pacific University in Portland, graduating with a creative writing degree.
“I definitely felt prepared for the university, especially by (Humanities instructor) Chip Phillip’s classes. We had lots of discussions about writing, literature, and poetry,” Snell noted. “It was hard at first to have people critique my work. I learned at RCC to objectively accept input and apply it to my work,” he continued. “You need a thick skin but also to be flexible and grow with constructive criticism.”
Phillips edited Snell’s first printed novella, “Hourglass,” and Snell’s first short story appeared in RCC’s literary magazine, Rogue’s Gallery. A number of his other stories appear in anthologies. His first novel was “Roses of Blood on Barbwire Vines.”
“Chip always pushes me for more depth and meaning and to have a more literary edge. He’s helped immensely,” Snell said. “While at RCC I found just about every instructor willing to take the extra time to interact with me and help — even with outside projects — and to give feedback,” he added.
Snell had a learn-and-earn job as a media technician at RCC, which provided experience and other opportunities. “Student employment helped me stay in school,” he said. He also tutored in the college writing center. “You don’t really know a subject until you teach it,” he explained. “That helped me develop my skills greatly and made me feel part of the community. I learned a lot about helping students overcome obstacles and barriers.”
In 2004, Snell won an Outstanding Student Scholar Award, presented by the Oregon Community College Association. The annual award, which includes a $1,000 scholarship to attend a four-year college or university in Oregon, goes to two students from each of the state’s 17 community colleges. RCC staff members nominated Snell for his scholastic achievements, college activities, and service.
After Pacific, Snell returned to the Rogue Valley, working briefly at the Grants Pass Daily Courier and then joining RCC’s Media Department as an instructional media specialist. He and wife Crystal, also an RCC grad who’s a skills trainer for developmentally delayed adults, live outside Grants Pass with 16-month-old son, Porter.
Writing under the pen name D.L. Snell, he co-authored his new novel with Hollywood screenwriter and producer Richard Finney. The book follows a journalist trying to save her fiancé from an otherworldly cabal trying to trigger Armageddon through demonic possession. It’s available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and local independent bookstores.
Snell is working on a sequel to “Demon Days.” For more information about his books, visit www.exit66.net.
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