Janet Ruth Heller, PhD

Heller, Janet 4118771_4275427 TP

Title: Author, Writing and Literature Educator
Location:  Portage, Michigan, United States

Janet Ruth Heller, PhD, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in writing, reading and literature.

Following more than four decades in the academic field, Dr. Heller reflects in her retirement on the most gratifying part of her career as an educator: the successes of her students. Her devotion to education means that she spent countless hours outside of the classroom tutoring students that were having difficulties and meeting with students that wanted to improve their work. With a passion for literature and writing, Dr. Heller also notes that she loved to watch her students as they interpreted creative written works in real time. An award-winning professional for her teaching and her own writing, Dr. Heller concluded her career as an assistant professor of women’s studies and English at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. She served in this role for 11 years, having previously found success as an assistant professor of English for Albion College, assistant professor of English for the Grand Valley Statue University, assistant professor at Nazareth College, instructor at Northern Illinois University, lecturer of creative writing at the University of Chicago, and coordinator of the writing program at the University of Chicago.

In addition to her work inside the classroom, Dr. Heller contributed to her industry through career-related efforts. Notably, she was a featured speaker for conferences and workshops hosted by The Modern Language Association, the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, the International Society for Humor Studies, the International Literacy Association Convention in Atlanta, the Wisconsin State Reading Association, the Michigan Radio’s State of Opportunity, the Michigan Library Association, the Michigan Association for Media in Education, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, and the Midwest Modern Language Association. Dr. Heller continues in this type of work in her retirement as a specialist reader for Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, referee of articles for scholarly journals, featured speaker for the Michigan Reading Association’s annual conference, and speaker and organizer of the workshop “Writing the Midwest: A Symposium of Scholars and creative Writers” and the Michigan College English Association. In 2018, Dr. Heller organized “The Festival of Faith and Writing.”

To share her joy of writing with the world, Dr. Heller has published numerous books over the years. She is the author of the award-winning children’s book “How the Moon Regained Her Shape,” as well as the middle-grade fiction chapter book for children “The Passover Surprise.” She has published three books of poetry entitled “Exodus,” “Folk Concert: Changing Time” and “Traffic Stop,” and she is the author of a creative nonfiction piece “Returning to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin,” which was published in Midwestern Miscellany 35. Her writing has also extended to a scholarly book “Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt and the Reader of Drama.” Considered an expert in her field, Dr. Heller has contributed articles to anthologies of literary criticism and professional journals.

Dr. Heller’s successes are supported by her education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from the University of Wisconsin and a PhD from the University of Chicago. In recognition of her professional excellence, she was listed in the directory of American Poets and Fiction Writers every year since 1979. Her children’s book “How the Moon Regained Her Shape” earned national recognition, including a Benjamin Franklin Award, a Children’s Choice Award, a Gold Medal from the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and a Book Sense Pick Award. She was also one of five finalists for the Patricia Gallagher Picture Book Award. Dr. Heller has also won many poetry contests in her career. As she looks ahead to the future, Dr. Heller intends to continue writing and publishing children’s books in her retirement.

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