Research Interests: Writing skill transfer; peaceful pedagogy; multimedia support and writing instruction; writing in the disciplines; writing feedback
Social Change Interests: Local foods movements; child hunger; factory farming and animal rights; educational access and success for first-generation college students
Joined Walden: 2015
About Crystal: Helping students improve as writers is so important to me. Because research tells us that good writing skills lead to great success in life and career, I love helping students find ways they can grow as writers. I have been teaching writing at the college level for about 20 years, and I have worked in a variety of academic writing positions. I have a PhD in Rhetoric from Texas Woman’s University. Outside of my teaching, I am also a local volunteer, blogger, and I work with my husband and sons to run a small chicken farm in Maine.
Sands, C. [Editor] (2018). Tom Petty: Essays on the life and work. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Books.
Sands, C. (2018).Tom Petty’s “magic” of success and the craft of a writer. In C. Sands (Ed.), Tom Petty: Essays on the life and work. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Books.
Sands, C. (2020). Peaceful Pedagogy: Teaching Writing from a Place of Peace. Writing and Emotion, Craig Wynne, ed. Peter Lang Publishers, forthcoming Fall 2020
Co-founded a Farmer-ish, a farming and literacy journal.
My Advice to Walden Students
The advice I wish someone would have given me when I was in graduate school would be to learn to enjoy your process, your journey.
It is so important to have goals, but don't be so focused on the end that you forget to enjoy the learning process. Take in everything you can
from your professors. Approach each class and every bit of feedback with an open mind. If you can find joy in the process of obtaining your education,
you will enjoy your learning more, which will truly help you learn even more in the end.
My Role as a Teacher
Why I enjoy teaching at Walden:
There is no greater joy to me than helping someone find their confidence or their voice as a writer. I love teaching writing because, when students improve as writers, they improve in all of their classes and in their professions. When I help my students improve as writers, I feel like I am helping make the world better, and that is so important to me.
What students can expect from me as a teacher:
As an instructor, students can expect that I will... work hard and efficiently to help them grow as writers. I will also be patient, kind, and supportive as they work on their writing. I want my students to feel like my classes are a comfortable place for them to stretch themselves as writers. I will push them to improve, but I will always do so with kindness.