Karen Hausdoerffer

Karen Hausdoerffer

Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability, Graduate Writing Workshop Director


MFA, University of Idaho, Fiction, 2003
Teaching Certificate, University of New Mexico, Elementary Education, 1998
B.A., Stanford University, Creative Writing and English, 1997


How did you discover Western?

My husband and three of his siblings attended Western and now live in the Gunnison Valley. I first came here with him, and I was pleased to create my own niche at Western.

What are some of the highlights of your career?

My career highlights center around moments of connection and shared learning with students across departments at Western and beyond. I’ve taught kindergarteners through graduate students and most levels in between. At Western, I’ve taught in six different departments, as well as teaching adult English Language Learners through the Gunnison Library.

I recently enjoyed the adventure of traveling with students to our sister city, Majkhali, India. In my personal career, I’ve taken pride in publishing poetry, nonfiction and short stories, and gaining representation for my novel through Folio Literary Agency.

What most excites you about your field?

In Environmental Studies, new alliances through environmental justice movements invigorate me as they tie together human rights issues and environmental issues. In fiction for young readers, I’m thrilled to see the publication of more novels that take young readers seriously as thinkers in a complicated, multicultural world. In Education for English Language Learners, I’m excited that Colorado has increased focus on helping teachers support ELL students.

What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?

The Gunnison Valley offers access to vast tracks of wild lands surrounding towns filled with creative, dedicated people, and a diverse immigrant community. However, watching my kids and my nieces and nephews shred Big Chute in a pack might win the contest for my favorite thing.