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Ellen Sprague

Associate Professor in the Center for Teaching and Learning

Teaching Area(s)

Writing Center


  • MFA, Writing, Vermont College of Fine Arts
  • MA, Middlebury College
  • BA, Principia College


"Teaching is creative and energizing in ways that no other job has been."

As a writing instructor in the Center for Teaching and Learning, Ellen Sprague teaches a variety of courses—in writing, revising, editing, and reading—to a variety of kinds of writers, from freshmen to seniors. Each year Sprague teaches a 300-level course that trains interested and qualified students to become peer writing/research tutors. Periodically, she also teaches Intro to Creative Nonfiction for the English Department. In 2017, she taught a world literature course during the Slovenia Abroad, which focused on stories from a homeland with shifting borders. She will lead another abroad to Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2019. In 2017, she was elected as the faculty sponsor and vice president of Phi Alpha Eta, Principia's academic honor society. When she is not teaching, Sprague offers one-on-one tutorials with students, helps faculty incorporate writing instruction into their classes and assignments, and prepares the next WISE (Write-In SEries) workshop. She also teaches Principia Lifelong Learning courses in writing.

Scholarly Interests

Sprague's scholarly interests include writing personal essays (literary and creative nonfiction); translation (French–English); French; the languages, literature, history, and culture of Slovenia and the former Yugoslavia—including learning Slovene; and using all of the above to create dynamic and effective writing lessons and assignments.

Contributions to Field

  • Worked with colleagues to develop the College’s writing/research tutor program, which offers tutors certification from the College Reading and Learning Association’s International Tutor Training Program
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute—The Centrality of Translation to the Humanities: New Interdisciplinary Scholarship—Urbana, IL, (2013). Invited to participate as one of 25 scholars to work through case studies in such areas as literary and Bible translation with distinguished faculty, including Elizabeth Lowe, Rainer Schulte, and Gregory Rabassa. The charge at the conclusion of the three-week institute was to promote translation studies and to publish translations.


Linda Julian Essay Award for “Braking for Buntings,” Emrys Journal, 2014 

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Literary Translators Association
  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • Association of Writers & Writing Programs

Publications and Presentations

  • "French Fry Fail," part of "What happened on June 21st" project at Essay Daily, July 2018.
  • "Requiem for a Pen," Honorable Mention, Principia College Writing Contest, 2016. Personal essay. (
  • "Why Everyone Should Translate," co-presenter. Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program, 2016.
  • “One Man’s Prison Is Prison.” The Laurel Review, 2015.
  • “Using iPads in the Liberal Arts, from Geology to Writing to Music,” co-presenter. Lilly Conference Series on College and University Teaching and Learning, 2015.
  • Bilingual readings of own French–English translations. American Literary Translators Association conference, 2013, 2014, 2015.
  • “Braking for Buntings,” Emrys Journal, 2014
  • Essays translated from the French, Philippe Delerm’s Le trottoir au soleil. Asymptote, 2014. 
  • Review of The Made-Up Self: Impersonation in the Personal Essay by Carl H. Klaus., 2011. 

Ellen Sprague CV