Polly Peterson is an assistant professor of English, teaching mainly first-year composition courses (English Skills and College Writing) and grammar. Over the course of the last 10-plus years of teaching at George Fox, she has developed a passion to help students become close readers, critical thinkers, clear communicators and confident writers.
She takes a holistic approach to writing, caring as much about what the writer wants to say as how she says it, how he tells it – helping first-year students enter into the conversations at the university. Her integration of faith and practice starts with seeing each person as part of God’s creation, each student as valuable and having something important to say. She tries to help students foster connections with other students, with new ideas, with Jesus' message of love.
Polly taught English courses on an adjunct basis for 11 years and, from 2007 to 2009, was a three-quarters time professor at the university. She was also an adjunct at George Fox from 2002 to 2006 and taught and developed courses for the university’s Educational Foundations and Leadership program in the mid-2000s. Her prior teaching experience included stints as an English teacher in Newberg public schools in the 1990s and early 2000s and as a social studies teacher at St. Paul High School in 1990.
Most recently, Polly collaborated with two other playwrights, both George Fox University graduates, to write the original play In The Family of Things that debuted on the stage in the fall of 2013. Also, she published a literary analysis examining the connection between grammar choices and their impact on readers titled "Psychological Distance in Raymond Carver's CATHEDRAL" in The Explicator (Vol. 70, Issue 3).
Polly holds two degrees from George Fox: a master of education degree in curriculum and development (2006) and a bachelor’s degree in social studies (1989). In addition to the degrees, she has done graduate work in the areas of grammar and composition.
Recently, Polly has renewed her interest in theater, serving on the board at the local Valley Repertory Theatre and working on plays as part of the development team, as a dramaturge and as a playwright – using the summer months for creative writing. She hosts a book group in her home that has been meeting monthly for the last 15 years. Interested in education at all levels, she is currently serving as a member of the Newberg School Board.
She lives in Newberg with her husband, Brent. They have two children, both in college. She attends Newberg Friends Church and is involved in the church’s five o’clock gathering planning team.