My Winthrop Experience

Name: Dustin M. Hoffman
Position: Assistant Professor of English
College: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: English

Winthrop University Assistant Professor of English Dustin M. Hoffman frequently tells his writing students not to be afraid of rejection. In fact, he estimates he receives about 20 rejection letters himself before his stories are accepted for publication into literary journals and magazines, and even brings these letters in for his students to read.

"It's OK to take your time and figure out what you want to do and to work," Hoffman said. "All of this, especially for writers, it helps having lived a life so you have something to write about."

It's all part of the creative process, which sometimes takes artists on a different path than what they had expected.

Like Hoffman, who began his college career as an audio production major before transferring and switching to English at Western Michigan University.

"English was probably the thing I was always meant to do," he said. "I read every Hemingway novel while working at a movie theatre. In between ripping people's movie tickets, I was reading ˜A Farewell to Arms.'

"I really tried not to meet my fate," he joked.

From there, the Alma, Michigan, native earned a Ph.D. from Western Michigan and a master's degree from Bowling Green State University. While at the latter, he published his first poem, "Unwrapping the Cul-de-Sac," and his first short story, "Pushing the Knives."

Several years later, Hoffman's narrative voice is on the rise: his short-story collection, "One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist," won the University of Nebraska Press' Prairie Schooner Book Prize, received a positive review from Publishers Weekly and earned the Library of Michigan's Notable Book distinction.

Not bad for a guy who says he receives rejection letters.

He and his wife, Carrie, and their daughters, Evelyn and Alison, joined the Winthrop community in 2014.