Nicholas Coles holds BA and MA degrees from Oxford University and MA and PhD degrees from SUNY, Buffalo, and has been a member of Pitt’s English Department since 1980. For many years he directed the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, and he was until 2011 a Field Director of the National Writing Project, based at the University of California at Berkeley, working with teachers to improve students’ writing and academic performance in K-12 schools. He was Pitt’s director of Composition from 2004 to 2008.
Coles is a past-president of the Working-Class Studies Association, and is a founding member of the Pittsburgh Collaborative for Working-Class Studies, a new multi-campus interdisciplinary organization, working with labor unions and community groups on issues of social and economic justice.
Research and Publications
Coles teaches and writes about literacy and pedagogy, working-class literature, contemporary poetry, environmentalism and climate change. His articles have appeared in College English and many other journals and edited collections. He is the co-editor, with Peter Oresick, of two collections of poetry about work: Working Classics: Poems on Industrial Life (1990) and For a Living: The Poetry of Work (1995), both from the University of Illinois Press. American Working-Class Literature: An Anthology, was published by Oxford University Press in 2007, co-edited with Janet Zandy of Rochester Institute of Technology. He is currently working with co-editor Paul Lauter on a history of American working-class literature, under consideration at Cambridge University Press. He is a regular contributor to the Working-Class Perspectives blog.
Recent Graduate Courses
- Writing / Class
- Narratives of Teaching and Learning
- Seminar in Pedagogy
Recent Undergraduate Courses
- Working-Class Literature
- Detective Fiction
- Travel Writing
- Reading Poetry
- Freshman Seminar: Exploring Social Identity
- Freshman Seminar: Whodunnit?
- Freshman Seminar: What Work Is
- Freshman Seminar: War and/or Peace