Kelsey Timmerman has reported from more than 60 countries on issues including globalization, modern-day slavery, poverty, philanthropy, and the global agriculture and garment industries. He’s the author of the “Where am I?” series, a forthcoming book on regenerative agriculture, and the co-founder of The Facing Project, a national storytelling initiative.
What English classes do you teach?
I’m teaching three sections of English 103 Rhetoric & Writing.
What attracted you to teaching at Ball State?
I’ve lived in Muncie since 2007. During that time I’ve attended countless events hosted by the English Department and have had the opportunity to work with and meet many of the faculty. When I decided to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing, I had one goal in mind: teach in the BSU English Department. Mission accomplished!
How would you describe your teaching style?
Each student is on a journey to figure out who they are, what they care about, what they want to know more about, and how they can live a life of meaning and purpose. I try to meet each student wherever they are on that journey, help inspire their curiosity, and work with them to develop the tools to follow their own questions. I see my role as a guide and helpful editor.
What’s good advice that you might have for a student to succeed?
Whenever possible, make your assignments as meaningful as possible. Most assignments allow for students to make them their own. Take the opportunity and learn and/or write about something you care about. Each year, list out topics you are curious about (what’s the TikTok algorithm serving you?), skills you’ve acquired, hobbies you’ve developed, and life experiences that you need to process (sometimes our most challenging ones lead to the most meaningful work). When you get an assignment, pull out your list and get to work.
Are there any special projects you’ve been working on?
I just finished writing a book on Regenerative Agriculture–farming with nature and not against it–that will be published by Patagonia Books in the near future. It’s a nonfiction narrative that follows my travels to meet regenerative farmers across the United States and around the world. These farmers employ practices and philosophies acknowledging that humans are a part of an intertwined and complex system that we cannot tame or manipulate. They see regenerative farming as a solution, which builds soil, promotes ecological diversity, provides people with meaningful lives and livelihoods, and sequesters carbon—maybe even enough to combat climate change. Agriculture is both political and environmental. It’s a local and global act. To capture these dualities, the book is a mix of journalism, travel narrative, and memoir. By weaving the local with the global, I intend to show the reader how their daily lives, eating habits, and relationship with nature connect to issues of environmental and social justice.
An interesting hobby you have?
As for hobbies…I got into shepherding. Seriously. I’m Delaware County’s second-worst shepherd. I also love to watch my kids explore their musical talents and play sports.