Ernest Hemingway said, “As a writer you should not judge. You should understand.” This has always been my guidepost–as a writer and as a writing instructor. My goal for the classroom is to provide a safe and nurturing environment that fosters creativity, collaboration, and community. The focus is always on process and growth over perfection. I want my students to experience the same joy and satisfaction that I feel when I deeply connect with my work, fully embrace the process, and am open to the learning that comes from working with a community of other writers. Empathy and generosity within the classroom are key, just as it’s crucial to try to understand and humanize the characters that fuel our stories.
Francine J. Sanders is a Chicago-based screenwriter, journalist and educator. She is an adjunct professor in Columbia College’s Cinema & Television Arts department, and also teaches film studies and humanities courses for lifelong learners in Oakton Community College’s Emeritus Program. Francine’s essays and articles have been published in The Chicago Reader, TriQuarterly magazine, and Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy. She is the recipient of a Driehaus Foundation writing grant and is a six-time recipient of a writer’s residency at the Ragdale Foundation. “Behind the Wall,” the podcast she co-created for the non-profit Injustice Watch was named a 2017 finalist for the Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism. Francine has a MA in film studies from Northwestern University. She is currently developing a series of shorts inspired by her many years as a CTA rider, and a TV project based on her work as an investigator of police brutality complaints for the Chicago Police Department.