Hi. I’m Julie Chisholm.
I’m a professor of writing, critical thinking and ethics at the California State University, Maritime Academy, in Vallejo, California. Though this site is primarily geared toward students, you can also learn more about my professional and private life by following the links on this page.
I was born a bit south of Vallejo, in San Jose, before it became Silicon Valley, but after it was known as the agriculturally blessed “Valley of the Heart’s Delight.” Half of my family comes from the prune orchards of Morgan Hill, via the citron groves of Trabia, Sicily. The other half is Scotch-Irish & German, but that part of my family ended up in Hawai’i almost 100 years ago. I feel most at home anywhere that touches the Pacific Ocean, including the east coasts of Asia. I’ve traveled extensively in Asia (at some point, I’ll post photos of my trips), and have made a kind of second home in Hai Phong, a port city in North Vietnam, where I’ve taught critical thinking and ethics at Vietnam Maritime University for almost ten years.
I’ve been at CSU Maritime Academy since 2004, when I was fresh out of graduate school in creative writing at the University of Houston (go Coogs!). There, I was lucky to study with fantastic poets and make lifelong friends. I met my husband, poet Jeff Bernard in Houston, too. We have twins, Lucy and Finn; today, we live on the central coast of California in the redwood forest. In my free time I like to pursue “low-rent fun”: walking, reading, gardening, drinking coffee with friends, and of course, writing.
If you are enrolled in one of my online courses, I look forward to learning about–and from–you! The most gratifying part of teaching is experiencing the rich diversity of my students: my goal is to give you tools to empower yourselves, and make a difference in the world!
The Rhetoric of This Site
I have the option of using my institution’s open-source, free-to-me learning management system: Canvas. I used it for a few semesters, and it’s mostly ok, but I’ve always been frustrated by the fact that LMSes are closed systems: closed to the world, yes, but also closed to other teachers. I wrote about this once. So many times I’ve wanted to see what my brilliant colleagues are doing in their classrooms, but can’t. Collaboration has been all but impossible. I think of all of the great ideas that have gone unshared, and it really bothers me. So here, I’m experimenting with a completely open system. I’m always aware that what I write can be used against me, but in exchange, I also get what can be used FOR me and WITH me. Let’s learn together.
I began this website in spring of 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, but it was something I’d always meant to do.