Bringing Learning to Life and Engaging the Community

Kristen Marangoni

From Service-Learning initiatives to mapping projects, Dr. Kristen Marangoni designs meaningful assignments that positively impact Tulsa and are receiving national attention.

Believing students learn best when they see how their writing matters in their communities, Dr. Kristen Marangoni, Associate Professor of English as well as former TCC Service-Learning Coordinator, works to design assignments that benefit the Tulsa community. With her guidance, TCC students have had the opportunity to write grants, provide recommendations for food pantries, participate in mapping projects, and tutor elementary students. 

“I love that TCC prioritizes student success -- it's a shared theme that brings everyone at the College together no matter what department someone works in,” says Dr. Marangoni, who joined the College in 2014 and received a TCC Service Excellence Award in April 2023. “It's rewarding to design projects that support learning outcomes while simultaneously responding to needs in the community. We have the data to prove that students who write for their communities turn in better papers and find more meaning in their assignments. It’s a win-win situation.”

One such project is Mapping Greenwood, which was conceptualized by Dr. Marangoni along with several colleagues in 2019. Related to the events of the Tulsa Race Massacre and current sites of the commemoration, the project involved 69 TCC students from seven different courses spanning Communication, Liberal Arts, and Workforce Development. Originally planned as an in-person walking tour, the project became a virtual tour used by over 4,000 people across 61 different countries. “In addition to helping the community and beyond, these carefully designed experiences are a proven method of helping students stay in college longer,” adds Dr. Marangoni.

During her time as Service-Learning Coordinator, designated Service-Learning courses at TCC have increased more than 300%. The impact of this effort has had positive effects in the Tulsa community. In fact, the TCC Critical Academic Reading Service-Learning Class was selected as the 2020-2021 Valued Volunteer Award recipient by Reading Partners.

Dr. Marangoni has served as a member on the John Hope Franklin symposium planning committee for the last three years and recently, along with Dr. Sylvia Muse, took a sabbatical with them to focus on curriculum and resource development. Through this time, they developed lesson plans, discussion guides, and reflection activities ranging from 3rd grade through the college level. “Dr. Muse and I tried to be very intentional in creating resources that would both benefit the Center as well as function as a time-saving resource for educators and researchers. I know personally I’ve already been able to implement a lesson plan we developed on The Tulsa Star in one of my own courses.”

While at TCC, she has been integral in revising the Service-Learning faculty handbook, forming and chairing a Service-Learning advisory board that includes community partners, faculty, staff, and students, chairing the English program assessment committee, and helping colleagues implement English department professional development that corresponds to identified areas for improvement.

Her work is also receiving national attention. She was voted in as a delegate for the national Modern Language Association in 2022, representing the field of Composition, and she was selected from a national pool of candidates as a 2022-23 Engaged Scholars Initiative through Campus Compact. In addition, has spoken at more than 30 conferences and has published seven articles on various modernist authors. She is currently working on a monograph with Cambridge University Press.

Heart Sourdough Bread

Fun facts: While an archival graduate assistant at The University of Tulsa, she interacted with scholars from around the world. One day, she spoke with Irish playwright Oscar Wilde’s grandson on the phone and was able to do some research for him. She also helped a British scholar discover an unpublished letter by American poet Robert Frost tucked in the front cover of one of his books.

Dr. Marangoni describes herself as an aspiring urban homesteader. In her spare times she and her family bake sourdough bread, raise poultry, and grow hydroponic vegetables.

Recent read: “I always love re-reading Stevie Smith’s poetry. I love her dry sense of humor and the drawings she publishes next to her poems. The drawings and poems don't always seem to go together, so it sometimes feels like playful detective work trying to figure out why they were published together.” 

Want to learn more about Dr. Marangoni? She was also featured in the Fall 2021 issue of Community Magazine and the August 2021 issue of Tulsa People.