English professor serves as role model with success in writing, publishing

An accomplished faculty member with a talent for writing and publishing, professor of English Rachel Hall has been a part of the Geneseo community for over 20 years. During her time here, Hall has contributed to the English department in innumerable ways, and has conclusively helped develop the department’s prestigious reputation. 

Originally from the Midwest, Hall received her undergraduate degree from Knox College, her master’s degree at Iowa State University and her Master of Fine Arts at Indiana University. She began working at Geneseo in the fall of 1993, shortly after receiving her third degree.

Hall has witnessed some significant milestones during her time at Geneseo. 

“The English department started a creative track within the major about 10 years ago and since that time, the creative writing program has gotten a lot bigger and we have had a lot of success,” Hall said. “Our students have gone on to do really amazing things, including graduate school and publishing.”

Hall is teaching three classes during this semester, including a nonfiction workshop, a fiction workshop and an editing and production class.  

“One of the things that I am proudest about my time here is the starting of a literary journal called Gandy Dancer, which is made in a class that I teach every semester,” she said. “The students make it, select the work and ask for revisions if they’re necessary. They then learn how to do copy-editing, layout and proofreading and then create the finished journal.” 

Gandy Dancer is a SUNY-wide publication, allowing students from any of the public New York schools to submit pieces of their work that they hope to have published.  

Hall’s own collection of short stories, Heirlooms, was published in the fall of 2016. It was recently listed as a finalist in the historical fiction category for the American Book Festival award. Hall visited various schools in order to complete her book and had been working on the project for quite some time, with the first story published in 2001.

Hall expressed her love of Geneseo and commended the students for their intelligence and involvement. 

“I love working here. This is a great place to teach,” Hall said. “I’ve done a lot of traveling for my book—going to different schools, colleges and universities—and I always come back and realize how smart Geneseo students are and feel grateful to get to teach them and work with them.”

Aside from teaching, Hall serves as the faculty advisor for the Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors, which recently attended an annual conference at Cabrini University in Pennsylvania. Hall is also the faculty advisor for the Creative Writing Club and works to involve students in Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement and Talent Day annually.

At Geneseo, Hall has pursued her passion for traveling by leading two study abroad trips: one to Ireland and another that went to Prague, Berlin and Amsterdam. 

When she’s not teaching, Hall enjoys reading, traveling, cooking and spending time with her husband, daughter and two golden retrievers. 

Hall has positively impacted Geneseo by expanding and enriching the creative writing program, and by assisting students in finding a niche where they are able to express themselves and publish their work.