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Hellen Lee, Ph.D.



ENGL 198T Senior Seminar




Lower Division

ENGL 50B Introduction to American Literature II


Upper Division

ENGL 150C American Realism

ENGL 150K The West in American Literature

ENGL 165F Caribbean Literature

ENGL 180H American Identities

ENGL 180Z Topics in Multi-Ethnic Literatures

ENGL 185I Contemporary American Fiction by Women

ENGL 197G Films of Great Directors

ENGL 197M Recent American Films

ENGL 198T Senior Seminar



ENGL 200A Methods and Materials for Literary Research

ENGL 250H Major American Realists

ENGL 250L American Women Writers

ENGL 250V Cultural Studies

ENGL 410F Internships in Teaching Literature



ENGL 1A College Composition

ENGL 120A Advanced Composition



ENGL 195C Internships in English, undergraduate

ENGL 410C Internships in English, graduate

ENGL 410F Internships in Teaching Literature




I approach my role as a professor and mentor with earnestness, passion, and delight. I admire and respect the versatility and capabilities of Sac State students; as a result, I am somewhat rigorous and demanding in expecting you to do your best work. I have been described by my students as "tough, but fair and committed to her students' success." My definition of success and my teaching goals are the same: to help you to build upon your existing skills and knowledge and to encourage you to refine and strengthen your intellectual abilities.

One of the primary ways that I work toward this goal is to adopt the Socratic method (minus the wine!): I'll ask you lots and lots of questions, building upon the responses that you give. This process will demand that you think more deeply, critically, and thoroughly about a subject. While this may be frustrating at first, students tell me repeatedly that they learn and retain information, methods, and concepts better when they have worked for them rather than having it served to them.

By modeling the process of critical thinking and investigation, I hope that you will learn to ask questions that will not lead to dead-ends in your thinking, but will help you expand your critical abilities. In other words, after seriously analyzing, examining, and studying a concept, theme, method, text, or process, you should rarely end up right where you started. Even if you end up with a similar conclusion to the one you began with, the analytical process should bring you more clarity on your position, shed more insight regarding contrasting viewpoints, and provide more evidence and support for your ideas.

In addition to teaching content material and critical thinking skills, I also try to model elements of organization and preparation that I believe are important to creating an environment of high expectations and fostering respect in student-teacher relationships.  I work to ensure that lectures, assignments, and class discussions are well-prepared, relevant, and challenging for you.

In addition to teaching traditional students, I am excited about cultivating intellectual growth opportunities for students who are less prepared for academic demands of the liberal arts model and may feel actively disenfranchised from higher education.  Through teaching diverse students, I not only constantly reflect on ways to reach a diverse range of students, but these experiences reinforce my core beliefs about the importance of equal opportunity for and equal access to higher education.  Thus, I work to make clear the connections among ideologies, culture, and political-economic stratification in the past and at the present. As I am myself a re-entering, minority student who was the first in my family to graduate from college, my commitment is more than philosophical; it is also personal. 

  • To provide diverse and challenging courses that will require you to move beyond your comfort zones in order to help you develop as a thinker and writer.
  • To act as a role model of someone who is interested in ideas and in learning.
  • To help you to learn to ask questions that will not lead to dead-ends, but will help expand your critical abilities.
  • To be on time and well prepared for each class.
  • To be available during posted office hours and by appointment.
  • To aid your comprehension of the course materials.
  • To offer encouragement and guidance as you develop your critical reading and analytical thinking skills.
  • To be honest and forthright in my interactions with you and in discussing your work with you.
  • To grade your work in a fair and timely manner.
  • To praise work that is well done.
  • To help you reach your academic goals!


  • To act as your personal counselor. I am not trained to advise you on personal issues, but I can direct you to appropriate people on campus who are trained and can act in those capacities.
  • To be your surrogate parent/guardian/personal secretary. Just as you are responsible for your own personal hygiene and health, you are responsible for scheduling/managing/ remembering your personal, academic, and work requirements and obligations. If you miss class, it is your responsibility to contact your peers and find out what you missed. It is simply impossible for me to rehearse a lecture or discussion that passed. Plan ahead accordingly.
  • To do your work for you. While I can direct, advise, encourage, and provoke you to think, read, and write, I cannot tell you what to think or what to write. It is up to you to make those intellectual journeys and decisions; I am here to offer you guidance, encouragement, and direction. In short, while I am here to teach, it is up to you to learn.
  • To be your cheerleader each day or in class. As much as I am invested in the success of each and every one of my students, I must divide my attentions equitably in class. If you need individualized attention, please visit office hours regularly where I can focus exclusively on your individual needs.
  • To be your friend. This is because I am very aware that the inherent hierarchical nature of the student-teacher relationship precludes the equality on which friendship is based. That said, I strive for cordial, professional, and respectful relationships with each of my students. And, as many of you know, that doesn't exclude laughter and fun along the way!

As a graduate of California's public school and university system, I am well aware of the talents that students in the public education system possess as well as the numerous challenges you face. My commitment is to provide the highest caliber education for each of my students and to provide the necessary skills for each of you to reach your greatest potential.

For examples of how undergraduate students who are challenged to engage in critical thinking skills, careful revision processes, and polished analytical skills can demonstrate their intellectual prowess, please click here.

Aside from the immediate goals of helping you refine your critical thinking, reading, and writing skills, my larger goal is to foster generations of scholars, teachers, and citizens who are intellectually curious, politically aware, and socially responsible. I hope you are as excited as I am as we take this intellectual journey together.