Professor Stoddard-Holmes receives university’s top teaching honor


Dr. Martha Stoddard-Holmes, rprofessor of Literature and Writing Studies at CSUSM, has received the 2012-2013 Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor Award.

By Melisa Martinez

News Editor
On Oct. 24, professor of Literature and Writing Studies, Dr. Martha Stoddard-Holmes, received the 2012-2013 Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor Award, presented by President Karen S. Haynes.
Dr. Stoddard-Holmes’ passionate efforts to inspire students through Literature & Writing are recognized greatly by her colleagues and students. Inspired by her own teachers at her high school in New Hampshire, Dr. Stoddard-Holmes gained a passion for literature, poetry and medicine. After studying Corporate Communication at Cornell University, Dr. Stoddard-Holmes began her career at writing short stories, poetry and creative writing.
Through her 13 years of teaching at CSUSM, Dr. Stoddard-Holmes carries a passion for rediscovering concentrations she loves in the classroom and believes that with each new class, new ideas emerge from students creating in-depth class discussion which inspiring her to share the beauty of literature.
When asked what her hope is in impacting students through literature, Dr. Stoddard-Holmes said, “Personally, reading and writing can get people through the most challenging parts of life. It can help people understand what living means.”
Though Dr. Stoddard-Holmes enjoys Victorian Literature (she received her Ph. D in English from the University of Colorado), her passion also lies in her research of disability studies. Published in 2004 by the University of Michigan Press and reissued in paperback in 2009, Dr. Stoddard-Holmes’ groundbreaking book, titled “Fictions of Affliction,” focused on disability studies and Victorian literary studies representing cultural meaning in history of Victorian Britain. Dr. Stoddard-Holmes also researched medical humanities, focusing on preparing health care providers to become better listeners, especially to patients undergoing treatment for illnesses such as cancer, so patients are respected as people and not merely representing their illness. Dr. Stoddard-Holmes also co-lead a course with Dr. Ron Strauss at UCSD Medical School called, “Reading/Writing/Doctoring.”
Among her many leadership roles, Dr. Stoddard-Holmes held the Chair position for the Literature and Writing Studies Department for three years as well as lead writer in the most recent CSUSM WASC report. Dr. Stoddard-Holmes recounts her experience as lead writer as “wonderful, because I got to meet various people on campus and learned more about what they do and how hard staff and faculty work.”
As a former student, Dr. Stoddard-Holmes inspires her students to fall in love with life and life’s simplicities, such as literature.
“I am really incredibly honored and surprised to receive this award, particularly because previous recipients of this award are among the people I most respect,” Dr. Stoddard-Holmes said.
In President Haynes’ press release, she states, “Dr. Martha Stoddard Holmes clearly exemplifies the highest values of Cal State San Marcos and embodies what it means to be a faculty member committed to sustained excellence in teaching, research, and community partnership that enhances student learning.”

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California