See what Marygrove students have had to say about Professor Brandel and her courses:


I used to hate writing because I could never think of what to write about the topic I needed to. But during this class I came to like writing. […] When I had research papers before, I never took it step by step and would get overwhelmed with it all. But having to do each step such as sources, annotated bibliography, rhetorical analysis helped me piece it together.

What I learned in my English 107 class is to take a step back from everything going on and take it easy. Learning to take my time with my writing and not let my insecurities get the best of me really allowed me to write better. I have learned to be extremely detailed and think critically and always ask why. Take life day by day, because everyday is new and you always have a chance to redeem yourself.

In terms of my work, I love my process because it’s different and all over the place and this class helped me to understand that this is okay.

Through the course of this semester, this class has been more valuable that I thought it would be. I really didn’t expect for an instructor to expect more out of me and the quality of my work. […] Prior to this class, I would just read to understand the chosen material. Now, as I read I pay more attention to structure and how well the author illustrates their point. And doing so has made me a better writer. I am now more aware of my habits and tendencies when it comes to writing.

My experience in English 108 with my instructor, Darcy Brandel, was beyond words. I’ve never had a class where I was able to be so verbal with the instructor and my classmates. I know I have grown in the area of verbalizing my emotions and ideas before I write them down.

I am sure that this class has made me a better writer in many different ways. The skill that I learned that I feel has been the most helpful was taking writing pointers from what I have read: what is the purpose; who is the author talking to; how does the language in the piece communicate the author’s ideas and so on.

I like how Darcy never makes us feel a question is stupid, no matter how many times we may ask it.

I have grown on the topics of my writing style and paying attention to my reading audience. […] I never paid attention to my reading audience nor how they may be affected. I never thought to care, but understanding this helps you to focus more on topic and approach. By focusing more on your audience and approach I can see how it will make you a better writer.

I am glad that I was required to take this course against my better judgment. The two things that I found the most essential from this course was the fact that reading and writing go hand in hand and that procrastination is a trait that most writers possess. […] As a professor, I found Darcy to be patient, knowledgeable, sincere and kind, and I enjoyed [her] class.

Now, when I am not in class I always try to think mindful[ly] about every little situation. This course actually help[ed] me in every single course that I have taken this semester.

I found this course to be a great help in trying to understand the writing process. Before this class, I always tried to write the first copy as a final draft. I never really realized how many steps it actually takes to write a final draft. […] My writing has developed over the semester, and now I am confident in myself.



I believe that I have learned to be a more thorough and careful reader as a result of this class. […] I have found myself paying greater attention to narration: who is narrating? Does narration change from one character to another during a story or remain the same? In hearing the point of view offered by the narrator, what other perspectives are being silenced?

Although the cultures and traditions were different in a lot of the stories, I could relate and find myself within the stories. This probably is my first time actually feeling and caring about the other. I thought we (blacks) were the only ones who went through things like slavery and being hung. World literature gave me a better concept of his/her-story. I’ve come to learn that I’ve been prejudiced but now I’m more considerate and compassionate of others.

I feel I received exposure to things I would have never understood or taken time to find out about. After I learned about them and after some struggle, I actually enjoyed them (i.e. Othello and poetry). I actually wrote some poems and read them at a coffee house. I think I will go to plays now. I got exposure to new areas that were foreign to me, and I enjoyed them.

As far as my growth, I feel as though I owe it to Darcy herself in being so open and having us sit in a circle. The fullness of the circle helped us become one and respect each other. The best thing about the set up of the class is it allowed me to open up more and not be afraid of being shut down or feel[ing] dumb.

I learned how to take details from stories and make a case to prove my point. I really enjoyed this class because we were allowed to speak about what we thought, felt, and saw in a story, not just what the teacher or author thought we should think. I learned how to think critically.
P.S. I am now officially an English major!

I look at many things now every day and ask why and who says so; it’s almost annoying, but now I can’t help it. […] I’ve learned to look at things differently from different aspects and it’s taught me not to judge people as harshly as I do sometimes. I am going to save my notebook for this class and I’m not selling my books back to the bookstore. The info from this class will be cherished.

I learned a lot about perspective. Now whenever I read anything, I wonder whose perspective am I missing and how would that different perspective change the story. This class has increased my interest in reading. […] The readings have made me a much deeper thinker.

While reading a number of different short-stories, poems and plays, I have learned to look at things in a broader way. Coming into this class I was sort of narrow minded about a lot of subjects. After having our class discussions, I realized that there are a number of different things to consider. There are a lot of different reasons why people do the things that they do.

Through class discussion I came to know that I personally had a private Awakening – I never studied readings in such a matter as this: I had a chance to not only grasp concepts from others in the class but to do an analysis on my own ways of thinking about subjects e.g. gender, racism, feminism and tradition. I have learned from this course to step outside of the box and to think outside of the box. This is one course that I can say broadened my knowledge base.

Before taking this course, I only took what I read at face value. The journal entries helped me to re-direct my reading to certain parts of the text and this gave me a better handle on the meaning behind certain passages.

I learned […] not to assume that things are only concerned with individual perspectives but rather they have a broader relationship to a larger community, people, society.



Although I have always considered myself open-minded and liberal, this course really heightened my awareness of the depth of cultural issues, biases and how they permeate our everyday existences. The most valuable aspect of this course, to me, was Darcy’s teaching style, approachable nature, and the open class discussions that really introduced new perspectives and angles or “lenses.” […] I have developed an affinity for many of my classmates and am sad to see this class come to an end. […] I can say that Darcy is the best professor that I have ever had. [She is] the exact type of person and professor that I hope to be.

I found this classroom style to be very engaging and a welcome change from the undergrad status quo. It may shape my future teaching style. […] I took this class because I consider myself a feminist, so I guess I just assumed I’d enjoy all the writing or automatically understand it all because I am a woman. That was not the case, of course, as I found the work of [Gertrude] Stein to be particularly challenging, and I felt no special connection to it. But I think that’s important, too, that I learned that.

I think Darcy is very helpful when it comes to paper topics and explaining ideas. [Her] comments on structure and how to effectively put together a coherent and cohesive argument has not only helped me in this class but with my thesis work as well. Also I think the “so what questions” at the end of the class period were also very helpful and pulled the class discussion in on important points.

This class was immensely enjoyable and a lot of hard work. The way the class was held, in a seminar style, pushed me to be fully aware. I wanted to be able to fully participate in each discussion and this stimulated me to careful preparation. […] The subject matter would often “click” into place only in class.

One of the most significant things I got out of this class is the perspectives of people of various cultures and ethnicities who live in America and are negotiating their respective ethnic values and perspectives. They are also trying to make sense out of what it means to be American. I don’t think I have ever given much thought to how my Arabic neighbor might feel about having to balance and make sense out of all the images, cultural practices, stereotypes that people in this country take for granted and consider the norm. My growth has mainly been in the area of a heightened sensitivity to people of other cultures, even though we also explored the experiences of my own African-American one.

English 535 taught me the most about the human condition. What I really learned was to be cautious when generalizing about “authentic” presentations of stories of particular races and ethnicities. I came to understand that the experience is only authentic to the person who is writing; and, sometimes, because of post-modern writing techniques, even that isn’t valid. Each person’s experience enlightened me about the internal struggles faced by the “other.” Being a marginalized person in this culture allows for a great deal of confusion and negativity to impact that person’s self-esteem. This knowledge has allowed me a more complex view of humanity. The effects of alienation, fragmentation, and dislocation offer valuable insight to those wishing to ease the lives of people so affected. I also grew in my appreciation of those who struggle against appropriation–who are we to say what is best for them. Certainly, the Western world has caused its share of fragmentation among people who are not part of the ruling class. I believe that I am now more aware of my role in that dynamic.