Suzanne Ehst

Associate Professor of Education & Director of Secondary Education

Suzanne Ehst


  • BA, Eastern Mennonite University, 1997
  • MA, Goddard College, 2005
  • PhD ABD, Western Michigan University

Dissertation: I am currently completing my doctoral dissertation at Western Michigan University. The working title of this project is “Rebranding Mediocrity: A Critical Analysis of Common Core Writing Textbooks.” This project emerges from an intersection of several interests: high school writing instruction, students’ transitions from high school to college writing, and a critical analysis of educational markets and products.

My dissertation research analyzes high school writing textbooks from major publishers, textbooks designed to align with The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for writing. I am analyzing the texts through the lens of the CCSS tagline, “college and career readiness,” focusing most specifically on the former goal to discern how “college-ready writing” is interpreted by these texts. What I’m finding is that the most commonly adopted textbooks fall short of rigorous pre-college writing as defined by scholarship in the fields of English education and Rhetoric and Writing Studies. 

Maple Scholars: In the summer of 2015, I will partner with an undergraduate English/Secondary Education major to research the way that area English teachers integrate social justice concepts into their classrooms. The new national standards for English teacher preparation list social justice as one of six key areas for teacher preparation. Working at an institution that values social justice, I am interested to see how teachers do (or don’t) integrate topics related to equity, justice issues, and inclusion into the tightly regimented English curriculum.


Educ 321: Curriculum and Instruction I: Middle School Emphasis

Educ 324: Curriculum and Instruction II: High School Emphasis

Educ 325: Secondary English Methods

Educ 405: Student Teaching: Secondary English

Suzanne Ehst and Jill Herman-Wilmarth. “Troubling the Single Story: Teaching International Narrative through a Critical Literacy Lens.” The Alan Review. Summer, 2014.

Allen Webb, Suzanne Ehst, et al. “#Occupy Literature: Lasting Lessons of the Occupy Movement.” Language Arts Journal of Michigan. 28.2 (2013).

Suzanne Ehst. Book Review: Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer. The Journal of Education and Christian Belief. 16.2. (2012).

Karen Vocke, Suzanne Ehst, et al. “Grammar: Navigating Teaching without Crashing and Burning.” Language Arts Journal of Michigan 27.2 (2012).

I am married to Mark Goertzen, a full-time potter in Goshen, IN. He and I live in Southern Michigan along the St. Joseph river with our dog, Trout. We both enjoy cooking, fishing, walking the dog, raising pigs in our five-acre woods, and going out for excellent food, interesting films, and live theater and music. Prior to working at Goshen College, I taught English and theater at Bethany Christian High School for 11 years.