LHS alumnus, turned professor, to publish second book.

February 9, 2021

Bethany Kilcrease

LHS alumnus, turned professor, to publish second book.

Oriole News is a presentation of Ludington Area School District in partnership with Mason County Press.

By Kate Krieger, Staff Writer.

GRAND RAPIDS – Ludington native Bethany (Tanis) Kilcrease has recently authored a book that is set to be released this spring. A tenured professor at Aquinas College, her new book “Fact and Fallacy: How to Think, Read and Write in the Twenty-First Century” veers away from her previous historical writings and delves into helping readers decipher between all of the newsworthy or not-so-newsworthy research published in today’s media when writing research-based materials.

“I have been published before,” she said. “My historical monograph (that means a long, often times boring, history book) ‘The Great Church Crisis and the End of English Erastianism, 1898-1906’ was published by Routledge in 2016. I have also published several articles in peer-reviewed academic journals and worked as an independent contractor on a textbook revision (‘Making Europe: The Story of the West’) and a primary source collection (‘Milestone Documents’).  I’m also a regular book reviewer for the journal Anglican and Episcopal History.”

Kilcrease is a 1998 graduate of Ludington High School where she credits history teacher Jim Quinlan for inspiring her to become a college professor. 

“When I was in high school, I really loved history (I had always been a big history geek), but I was still planning on going to college for electrical or mechanical engineering. I remember that one day after class Mr. Quinlan told me I should be a history teacher. More than that, I should go ‘all the way’ and get a PhD, because the world needed more women professors. That really inspired me. I decided to do what I especially loved and went to college with becoming a history professor in mind as my career goal.  Thanks, Mr. Quinlan.”

After graduating high school, Kilcrease headed to Cavin College, now Calvin University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in history with an emphasis on European history. She then earned a PhD in history, specializing in British history, from Boston College in 2009 

Her latest book is designed to help students navigate through the digital age. 

“The first part addresses the problem of discern truth from falsehood, while the second part addresses fallacies,” she said. “The third part ties it together in a short chapter focusing on pitfalls to avoid while writing. It also includes exercise for students or readers to work through how they can evaluate sources – including, and especially, online sources – critically.”

Taking about two and a half years to complete, Kilcrease said she is happy with the outcome of the book and credits a lot of its inspiration to her students and her co-workers at Aquinas.

“Several different things came together to produce this book,” she said. “Obviously first and foremost has been my experience teaching undergraduates, especially first-year students, and the materials I’ve put together to help them develop their own reading and writing skills. Secondly, Aquinas College is fortunate to have a wonderful Writing Center under the direction of Julie Bevins. Working with Julie and her consultants helped me re-think my own writing and pedagogy. Then in 2014, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a college course in Writing Center Theory and Practice taught by the brilliant Dr. Gretchen Rumohr who is the director of our first-year writing program. Actually, taking the class with undergraduates enabled me to get a unique perspective on the obstacles they faced in reading and writing. Additionally, the course, along with a semester-long Writing Center internship, enabled me to actually work as a Writing Center consultant.”

During this time working with the Writing Center and her students, Kilcrease created a blog to help students understand the writing process and how to navigate the fallacies that often grace the internet in many different forms.

“As part of this process I created a blog for my students with posts about reading and writing,” she said. “But it also contained a number of posts about historical fallacies since that was material I covered in my historiography class. In 2017, an acquisitions editor at the University of Toronto Press found my blog an expressed interested in publishing a book based on some of the content and ideas on the blog. We met at an academic conference and agreed to move forward. I’m especially passionate about the book’s topic because I think it will be helpful to undergraduate students on a practical level, and the explosion of ‘fake news’ and hyper-partisan reporting on social media in particular has made it more important than ever that we all have the tools necessary to sort out truth from falsehood and the ability to pick out obviously fallacious reasoning.”

The University of Toronto Press Higher Education Division plans to release Kilcrease’s new book in April or May of this year, which she is looking forward to and she also stressed how her education at Ludington Public Schools helped her get to where she is today.

“Going to LHS was a wonderful experience and did so much to prepare me for college,” she said. “I loved all my teachers and have always felt the education I received there either was on par with or better than that received by my college friends who attended more ‘prestigious’ private institutions. Go Orioles!”

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