Leila Philip

Professor, English Department

College of the Holy Cross

Environmental Studies Program
Creative Writing Program

Life cascades into the classroom, as it should. Discomfort is an essential part of the learning process. Each semester I work hard to devise new ways to make students slow down, to suspend judgment, to sustain focus — in other words, to prevail in the face of discomfort, not to avoid it.

College of the Holy Cross

Professor – Creative Writing and Literature, Department of English


Interdisciplinary Courses in Writing, Visual Arts & Environmental Studies Created at Holy Cross

Reading Nature
Opposites Attract: Writing Science
Ekphrasis: Writing from Art
Narrative Visions  (Visual Arts)
Land, Spirit, Pilgrimage  (Religious Studies)

Other Courses Developed for the English Department

Asian-American Literature
Reality Hunger?: Studies in Literary Nonfiction

Creative Workshops at all Levels in: 

Nonfiction Narrative
Multi-genre: Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction

Graduate Workshops & Writing Conferences

Stonecost Low residency MFA program (2008-2009)
Fairfield University Low residency MFA program (2010-2012)
Ashland University Low residency MFA program (2011-2017)

Courses Developed for Graduate Programs:

Writing for The Public Sphere
Writing Memoir
Researching Family Stories, Telling Family Histories
Ekphrastic Writing
The Speculative Essay
Travel Writing

Philosophy of Teaching

If I were to describe my philosophy of teaching in terms of writing, I would say it is a narrative that I am constantly revising. Each time I teach I am learning. While my ideas, methods, and approaches to the teaching of writing develop each time that I enter a new workshop or seminar or begin the journey of mentoring a student, my approach stems from and illuminates a central philosophy. I believe that each of us is unique and that, being unique, each of us has infinite value. My aim as a teacher is to make this simple fact evident. I draw my philosophy of teaching from this belief and from the conviction that what we really learn and retain, we learn not from what other people tell us, but from what we are able to tell ourselves.