Dennis Etzel Jr. encourages students to grow through enthusiastic guidance


Stuti Ghimire

Dennis Etzel Jr., senior lecturer of English, implements innovative educational strategies that help students feel comfortable. He has motivated students to engage with writing and implement their ability to think strategically.

Dennis Etzel Jr. is a passionate senior lecturer in English with 16 years of teaching experience. He is dedicated to assisting students’ growth and development and loves working with them.

Etzel graduated from Washburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He then enrolled at Kansas State University to earn his master’s degree in the arts in English with an emphasis in Literature and Creative Writing, which allowed him to gain more knowledge in his field. He further attended The University of Kansas to pursue a master’s degree in fine arts in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. His academic background reflects his commitment towards education and development of students through his learning.

Etzel followed a clear path to acquire knowledge and abilities he needed. He has a strong passion for the subjects he studied. He believes that obtaining his graduate degree is what gave him an opportunity to be employed at Washburn.

“It was scarcely believable that I was given this position. I pursued a degree at Kansas State after obtaining my English degree at this university, which permitted me to become an instructor here,” Etzel said. “I applied when the position opened and was fortunate enough to get an offer. Since I’ve lived in Topeka my entire life, it’s wonderful that I’ve never had to leave.”

Rasna Ranabhat, a freshman majoring in business, is currently taking Etzel’s class and has noticed the dedication and care he provides to support students’ success.

“This acknowledgment can provide students with a feeling of identity and value, which can motivate them to participate in the learning process,” Ranabhat said. “Also, the professor shows a dedication to the growth and success of students by being flexible and providing helpful feedback. When they receive encouragement and assistance from their professor, students are more likely to feel trust in their skills and take a risk when learning.”

Etzel recognizes that it takes patience and effort to become better and he illustrated his passion for his students’ growth in unique writing styles and patterns.

“I appreciate most of the formation of my students’ unique writing styles and the discovery of their accents. Because writing is a process, improving their writing takes time and effort. As their professor, I am here to help them along the way with guidance, encouragement, and inspiration,” Etzel said.

In addition to teaching at the college, he has a wide range of remarkable interests. Poetry and nonfiction writing at coffee shops are one of his favorite activities. While he is not on a trip, he enjoys going to the movies and spending time with his loved ones. He is aware of how desirable some leisure time could be, however, he usually finds ways to use it.

He enjoys reading poetry and creative nonfiction and thinks that writing may comfort and encourage people. Also, he enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes and has a love for cooking.

Etzel loves a book named “The Best of Brevity,” which is a collection of earlier works of nonfiction. He has a special place in his heart for this book since he enjoys creative nonfiction. The compositions’ brief duration and simplicity allow effective narration in a short period.

Together despite teaching nonfiction writing, he is now working on some memoir pieces. To comprehend his love of movies, he enjoys examining the relationship between movies, psychology and individual experiences. He believes that his students can improve their knowledge of who they are as people and their place in the universe by exploring the psychological factors that affect their interests and passions.

Apart from this, he enjoys eating Indian food, and one of his favorite restaurants is Pal Indian Cuisine. His favorite aspect of this restaurant is the welcoming atmosphere created by the employees, which is something that he tries to embody as an instructor.

“I try to be a welcoming and encouraging instructor for my pupils. I’m expected to let the students know that I’m available to them both during class and after school. I’m always pleased to help, whether it’s providing homework directions or composing letters of recommendation,” Etzel said.

Emma Boatman, a freshman majoring in Arts, is currently taking a class with Etzel. Boatman said that she is thankful for the support, flexibility and the learning environment he provides to students.

“I appreciate his flexibility and encouragement to impact in changing. His support and encouragement have provided me with the trust to learn new skills and take risks,” Boatman said. “It’s amazing to see how passionate he is towards his students’ growth and accomplishments, along with his ability to build a good learning scene.”

Etzel’s passion for his students’ progress and growth is valued by many, and he continues to be a valued member of the Washburn University community.


Edited by LeSha’ Davis, Glorianna Noland and Simran Shrestha