• Alexander Shook

Professor Spotlight: Natasha Tinsley

Updated: May 5

Natasha Tinsley. Photo: SWOSU website
Natasha Tinsley. Photo: SWOSU website

By Alexander Shook

For The Southwestern

Natasha Tinsley is an assistant professor at SWOSU. Being a relatively new assistant professor, Tinsley received her master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Oklahoma State University in 2018. She began teaching at SWOSU during the 2019-20 semester.

Tinsley only teaches a few courses, all of them in the realms of English and literature. These include: English Comp I and II; Fundamentals of English; Short Form Fiction; Peer Tutoring; and Diversity in American Literature.

Writing and racism are two subjects Tinsley has a vested interest in. In college, her thesis piece was a short story titled “Limbs of a Starfish,” which was primarily focused on conveying themes regarding racial issues.

“No conversations about race or racism are surface level," Tinsley said. “When any racial matter is analyzed, the result usually uncovers a deeper meaning and/or revelation about race, society, and/or individuals.”

Tinsley is also the founder of SWOSU’s O.U.R. Conversation, a university-level workshop intended for discussing racial discrimination and its impact on society. The program is managed by Dr. Pamela Rollins and hosted by the Language and Literature Department.

“It's expected that individuals will come to the workshop with different experiences and interpretations about race and racism,” Tinsley said. “The goal is exposure, allowing individuals to hear and interact with the varying ideas and concepts that exist.”

The program was inspired by her expressed need to provide a space for people to discuss race and racism safely and respectfully. The workshop’s acronym, “Own Ur Responsibility,” is named after the idea that we are all capable of spreading racist ideas or perpetuating harmful stereotypes, be it intentional or not.

“Before one can grapple with racial issues in the world, it's beneficial to understand one's own possible biases,” Tinsley said. “My hope is that (people) will learn more about themselves and the world around them, thus developing the knowledge and skill needed to counteract detrimental discriminatory issues.”

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