Dr. Nora McCook, Faculty

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Dr. Nora McCook, Faculty


Finding her way to Bloomfield College has been serendipity for Assistant Professor Nora McCook, who has been serving as Coordinator of the Writing Intensive Program since fall 2020, and later added “and ePortfolios” to her title in 2020.

“I came to Bloomfield right after completing my Ph.D. at Ohio State,” said McCook. I had done a lot of research on literacy, and was even more interested in writing so the open position here was very attractive. The Bloomfield campus was the first I visited as I applied for various types of positions. This community was such a welcoming place, it left a great impression on me.”

McCook recalls, “When the hiring committee spoke about students, they discussed ways they could specially tailor instruction to their students’ individual needs. One student may be good at poetry, they said, and we will help them see how to apply poetry to their other subjects they find more challenging. I saw a strongly connected community that cares for one another. It was quite impactful.”

During the interview process, McCook was required to present a demonstration class and it was here that the students also positively influenced her thoughts about Bloomfield. “After my class presentation, one student came up and shook my hand. This extra effort was a very generous and kind gesture to impart on someone interviewing for a teaching position. I was really struck by that student interaction on my first day on campus.”

Since then, McCook’s interests have allowed her to bring all of her educational and professional life experiences to the table at Bloomfield. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in English Language and Literature/Letters at Belmont University and the University of Delaware (UD), respectively. She also earned a Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy at The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences. While a grad student at UD, she gained her first teaching experience.

“My academic preparation was broad, and interdisciplinary, and I have been able to use all of it at Bloomfield College. My dissertation committee included a historian, a writing and rhetoric scholar, a literary scholar, and a literacy studies scholar who conducted oral histories of the Black church. These influences have supported me in the activities I have become involved in at the College. I also led Bloomfield’s team in the new AAC&U [American Association of Colleges and Universities] Institute on ePortfolios in 2021, allowing our students to digitally post their substantive work in a repository they can share with future employers,” she said.

Other projects that McCook has led, with students involved every step of the way, include gathering archival data for the celebration of Bloomfield College’s 150th anniversary. “We looked at yearbooks, photos and read about alumni and a host of College events. One interesting find was that the College almost closed in the mid-20th century,” said McCook. “Another finding was that the College foretold the significance of the area’s changing demographics, describing a college ‘meant for the future’ – fully aligning with the student population we currently serve.”

Bloomfield College students continue to play a significant role in McCook’s research and writing projects. These have included a look at the history of the Frances M. McLaughlin Division of Nursing, as well as two projects backed by grants.

One grant-funded initiative is “The Legacies of American Slavery: Reckoning with the Past,” a multiyear project with the Council of American Colleges that is exploring the continuing impact of slavery on American life and culture. The other grant project, supported by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan Act, is “Stories of Newark,” a community-based effort to capture oral histories in various forms that focus on racial justice, shedding light on the city of Newark and Newarkers.

“Bloomfield is a dream job for me. From my teaching role, to my role as a researcher and writer, I get to engage with our amazing students every day. A number of students have worked with me on conference presentations to share the research we are doing together,” said McCook. “Right now, I am working with two recent grads on a co-authored article about the emergent process of the Stories of Newark oral history project. Unveiling the College’s interwoven history with Newark leads to self-understanding about the College, and how Bloomfield can lead the conversation about what that means for other Minority Serving Institutions.”

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