14591749_10157578697715652_3455073484169808627_nDr. Marlen Elliot Harrison has been teaching composition & communication; language (TESOL) & literature; gender & sexuality; education and leadership; and social science research writing methods at international universities in Asia, Europe and North America since 1997. As such he is a transdisciplinarian who is as much at home in the worlds of higher education administration and qualitative research methods as he is in composition pedagogy and language teaching. Having taught students in over 50 different academic programs at no less than 14 different universities across 6 countries and three continents, and with 70+ international academic presentations – including TESOL, EuroCALL, JALT, AAAL, ASA, AAA and CCCC – and 30+ international academic publications – including manuscripts in the following peer-reviewed journals: Qualitative Research in Psychology (USA), Language Learning in Higher Education (UK), Writing on the Edge (USA), Reflections on English Language Teaching (Singapore), CALL-EJ (Australia), and The Language Teacher (Japan) – he is passionate about researching the crossroads of technology, language, learning and identity.

Dr. Harrison is the recipient of numerous research and educational grants/fellowships; a Best of JALT (Japan, 2006) award; and international grants/honoraria from universities in Canada, Japan, Finland, Denmark and Belgium (Erasmus). In 2015 he was contracted to organize a group of international scholars to assist in the curation of a collaborative online exhibit for Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, National Postal Museum and the US Postal service. In 2017 he developed the Writing Center and EAP program for the new American University of Malta, and served as the Assessment Coordinator for the general education program. During the 2018-2019 school year, Dr. Harrison will be the recipient of an English Language Fellowship from the U.S. Department of State to undertake teacher training at the national university in Tirana, Albania.

As a journalist, Dr. Harrison is Managing Editor of the Fragrantica family of websites (a magazine and database dedicated to fragrance and olfaction currently read by over 12 million viewers a month and published in 17 different languages) where he works with a staff of more than 20 international, multilingual writers. Dr. Harrison has also contributed to The Washington Blade, MensJournal.com, MensFitness.com, Playboy.com, Forbes.com, NYTimes.com, WSJ.com (Wall Street Journal) and international publications such as Finland’s Anna and Viva magazines and Canada’s Glow magazine. His writing has earned him international recognition and invitations to speak at events such as the 2008 Symposium of the American Society of Perfumers in NYC and the 2016 Esxence exhibition in Milan.

Having earned a PhD in writing and language teaching from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Harrison also earned a Masters degree in education and human development (counseling) from The George Washington University and has worked in public and mental health at institutions such as the Psychiatric Institute of Washington (DC), Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the North Baltimore Center.




Multimodal Shakespeare


In this project we explore a variety of multimodal teaching approaches (e.g. art, movement) in multilingual US high school English classrooms in order to explore how such approaches may scaffold student investment and engagement in the study of classic literature such as Shakespeare. This project is based on the M.A. English thesis work of Laura Funderburg (2016, SNHU) and co-authored by Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison.


Autoethnography & the English Thesis


One of the ways that literature instructors can actively address states of insecurity with graduate thesis writers is by helping them develop projects that build upon strengths and interests and critically explore connections between personal and cultural experience. As such, this project seeks to expand concepts of literary research by examining the enduring paradigm of author-evacuated research in traditional literary criticism and analysis, and challenging this paradigm by presenting the stories of six instructor-researchers who performed autoethnography

Pluriliteracies & Pedagogies


In this research we utilize autethnographic reflections as a way to examine how and why teachers’ philosophies of literacy developed, crystallized and reified in response to a graduate course in contemporary literacies, and in what ways the course experience influenced future pedagogy. We examine commonalities of philosophy and practice as well as major differences, and address the theoretical and practical tensions that arose between theory and practice in subsequent teaching experiences.

Student Feedback

A vital part of my teaching pedagogy involves metacognition and reflective writing. The following are excerpts from mid-course and final reflective letters, as well as emails and Facebook posts, written by students around the world who have taken my courses. Click the course title to view its syllabus; click the students’ names to visit their course blogs and to view each quote’s original source. Feedback is available from the following courses:

Continue reading “Student Feedback”


Marlen to Join Indiana University East’s Online Graduate Writing Faculty; Designs contemporary Literacies Capstone Course

In January, 2017, Marlen will join the online faculty of Indiana University East’s graduate writing certificate program. Marlen will teach Writing 682, Capstone: Contemporary Literacy Practices. The course… Read more “Marlen to Join Indiana University East’s Online Graduate Writing Faculty; Designs contemporary Literacies Capstone Course”


Supporting agency and investment in multilingual university writers

Harrison, M., Uusipaikka, M., Karinen, A.,  Räsänen, T., Raitala, D., Ellonen, R., Huumonen, H., & Tuomela, O. (2013). Bridging passion and profession: Supporting agency and investment in multilingual university writers. Language Learning in Higher Education 3(1), 1–25.

Throughout the last two decades, scholarship discussing learner development and autonomy has expanded from viewing the learner as one who possesses intrinsic or extrinsic motivation to a performer who to varying degrees invests as an agent in the learning process, particularly when able to pursue her or his passions. With this expansion in mind, the authors sought to look back at the trajectory of their experiences in a second language communication and composition course in order to more deeply understand the roles of agency and investment in their own and fellow classmates’ learning. As such, this research examines the role of project-based learning activities that attempt to bridge the learners’ personal passions and professional interests. Seven student-researchers reported via written narrative how such a bridging approach in the multilingual writing environment supported learner investment and agency. Student responses speak to the need for a stronger sense of connection among their disciplinary studies, personal interests, and even instructors, and highlight the ways in which investment and agency are associated with ideas about learner affect, learner identity, learner autonomy and language acquisition.

Qualitative Research in Psychology: Autoethnography, Sport & Identity

Ronkainen, N.J., Harrison, M.E., & Ryba, T.V. (2014). Running, being, and Beijing: An existential exploration of a runner identity. Qualitative Research In Psychology, 11(2), 189-210.

In this research, we explore the negotiation of a conflicted runner identity in a Finnish runner’s short-term migration to Beijing, China. We examine the historical and cultural construction of the runner identity and discuss the current discourses that constitute the modern runner subjectivities. From there, we continue with a Heideggerian existential-phenomenological analysis of the “boundary situation” when the project of competitive running is challenged due to environmental and cultural barriers in the migration. Our empirical inquiry is based on the first author’s autoethnographic account, written during and shortly after her 10-week stay in Beijing in March–June 2011. Two main themes, the loss of control and isolation, are examined, and an existential interpretation is paired with insight from Buddhist psychology. Finally, we conclude with implications for future research in sport and migration studies as well as practical considerations for the use of autoethnography in psychological research and practice.

Buddhist Mindfulness and the Teaching of Composition

Harrison, M. (2012). The Power of No: Buddhist mindfulness and the teaching of compositionWriting on the Edge, 22(2), 36-46.

EXCERPT: I continue, “Many of you had some basic mistakes in grammar, like switching their with there, or would of with would have. And I know that we call this first draft the shitty draft and that many of you might have felt as if you merely wanted to get your ideas down on paper and leave the cleaning for later. But I was concerned about a particular event that happened in class last week.” I explain to the class the comments I made on Shanee and Marvetta’s papers. I discuss my struggle as their teacher with how to best provide feedback. I admit that I’m not sure that I gave feedback in the most constructive way. I further admit that I worry about being a white, male teacher and more painfully, I admit that I worry about encouraging the disappearance of important voices. I look at Shanee and she looks at me. She knows where this is going. I tum to Marvetta, and Marvetta’s lips begin to relax. Her arms begin to slowly move down her chest towards her lap. “Geneva Smitherman,” I continue, “an African American professor and writer…”