Department Chair: Humanities and Communication
Instructor: Creative Writing, Poetry, Journal Writing/Storytelling, Introduction to Literature, American Literature, and Native American Literature
Office: Brown Center #128
“I am so proud of our students at Cowley. They are some of the most talented and passionate people I know, and I am privileged to work with them.
As students develop their writing strengths, they add to who they are and what they make of themselves in life.”
Marlys Cervantes has been expanding programs at Cowley College since she began teaching here in 2000. It started with the basic English area and then moved on to additional literature and creative writing courses. A recent accomplishment was developing the Creative Writing degree. She strives to bring to the students what fits their needs in a way that encourages them to succeed in both education and life.
Besides teaching various literature and creative writing courses, Cervantes also serves as co-director for the Multicultural Scholars Program. Much of her time is spent supporting her students outside of the classroom; she considers herself to be their biggest fan.
Cervantes believes that Cowley students are some of the most creative people she’s known. However, she knows many haven’t really worked on their writing strengths and all that those strengths can add to who they are and what they make of themselves in life. Cervantes’ favorite quote comes from Jimmy Santiago Baca, and it expresses what writing did for him once he delved into it:
"Until then, I had felt as if I had been born into a raging ocean where I swam relentlessly….Never solid ground beneath me, never a resting place. I had lived with only the desperate hope to stay afloat….But when at last I wrote my first words on the page, I felt an island rising beneath my feet like the back of a whale. As more and more words emerged, I could finally rest: I had a place to stand for the first time in my life."
Some of the honors that recognize her dedication to her students are that she was named Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence and Student Learning in 2005-06, Tiger Booster of the Year 2004, and has been presented Master Teacher and Master Presenter awards. In addition, she is a Teacher Consultant for OSUWP/National Writing Project, as well as serving as a judge for various adult and high school writing competitions.
Cervantes is a graduate of Oklahoma State University, where she received both a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Literature, with her emphasis in contemporary Native American literature. She is active in her church and numerous community activities, such as Ponca Playhouse and volunteering at other non-profit organizations.