Mackowski does more than just teach.

Pens contact paper throughout the room as the professor explains the next assignment, a personality profile.

Fine.

About the professor who will read and grade the story you write…

Oh.

Narcissist. This professor must really love himself to read 16 stories about him.

Actually, Chris Mackowski, the professor of Feature Writing at St. Bonaventure University, finds little pleasure reading the stories about himself. “I’m tired of reading stories about, ‘Chris Mackowski is a Civil War historian,’” he says.

However, he has assigned this tedious story for the past few years.

Mackowski forces this topic upon his students to help them excel at a key part of writing a story that readers do not see—the interview. Interviews, drafts and research make up the underground layers of ice that build towards the visible tip of the iceberg. The reader sees only the visible tip of the iceberg, the published story—a metaphor Mackowski so often uses.

By forcing his students to interview him, Mackowski can critique their interviews, helping them with the underwater part of the iceberg.

Students at St. Bonaventure know Mackowski as a journalism professor, the visible part of his personal iceberg.

Interviewing will force students to scuba dive to explore parts of Mackowski’s life not visible in the classroom. “By night, he writes. He writes and writes and writes and writes,” says Mackowski on blog Scholars & Rogues.

Did any of his students know that Mackowski wrote plays?

“I wrote my first play in 1996 just to see if I could,” says Mackowski, a former actor. Olean Community Theater in Olean, NY, hosted his firstborn, “Monty by the Sea.” The Theater Association of New York recognized Mackowski with a merit award for this play.

He has written seven additional plays.

Mackowski’s voracious appetite for words did not let him settle with simply being an award-winning playwright, though.

A former journalism professor at St. Bonaventure convinced Mackowski to create his own personal blog, says Mackowski. He first posted in 2005 and has continued updating the site regularly.

In 2008, Mackowski joined forces with other writers for the blog Scholars & Rogues.

“I envy his output,” says Denny Wilkins, a journalism professor at St. Bonaventure and Scholars & Rogues contributor. Denny enjoys Mackowski’s book reviews on the blog.

With a Ph.D. in communication, Wilkins knows good writing, as do Mackowski’s other readers.

“I really enjoyed your writing. I hope that you enjoy writing as much as I enjoy reading well-written English,” a reader comments on one of Mackowski’s posts.

According to various personal blog posts from 2010, over 140 million blogs exist. Out of all of them, Mackowski’s way with words catches this reader’s eye.

Besides continuing his writing career, Mackowski has taken time outside of class to meet with younger writers in an exclusive club called “The Arm.”

Mackowski invited student Emily Sorokes to join her freshman year. “The point of it was for journalism students to not lose touch with personal writing,” says the senior journalism/ mass communication major. Every week, Mackowski meets with the students to discuss stories, poems and other written pieces.

Perhaps this story catches his eye to invite another writer…

As a professor, Mackowski mentors students, but he too still studies. With a B.A. in communication, an M.A. in English and an M.F.A. in creative writing, Mackowski currently takes classes at Binghamton University for his Ph.D. in creative writing.

He’s not seeking a pay raise; he’s not seeking some extra clout. He just likes to write and write—and write, as he emphasizes.

His students hesitantly submit their stories to Mackowski… about Mackowski. The professor, student, playwright, author, blogger—writer—will endure the following days reading about himself.

Narcissist? Dedicated professor.

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