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Suzanne Booker-Canfield, Ph.D.


My Objectives

To address the academic and organizational skills necessary to unlock potential

To inspire students to reflect on their own unique strengths as they plan for college and beyond

Thought Matters

I try to frame the process of critical thinking not as a skill to be learned but rather as an adventure to be undertaken. Engagement with ideas stems, it seems to me, from the joy of playing with them.  


The intellectual freedom to question great authors’ thoughts and to engage in a dialogue with them across time stands at the heart of a liberal arts education, the foundation for all future learning.​

After students come to appreciate the beauty of logical argumentation, they soon experience the accomplishment of producing such arguments themselves. Such analytical ability will serve as the mainstay of their professional lives, regardless of whether they pursue careers in business, medicine, law, education, science, social service, or the humanities.

The essence of an independent mind lies not in what it thinks,
but in how it thinks.
Thought Matters
Writing Matters
Writing Matters

The process of learning to think clearly is inextricably bound to the process of learning to express those thoughts in writing. Clarity of writing is the hallmark of an educated mind. Learning to write can be among the most demanding yet most rewarding intellectual enterprises. Effective written expression requires more than the mastery of a few tricks. Writing is a complex activity drawing on a range of intellectual activities.

As an experienced writer and published author, I have studied the writing process and developed an efficient and consistent approach to writing tasks. I teach my students my own proven system of pre-writing. This methodology forces students to test the clarity and depth of their thinking before moving on to writing the draft.

My process provides an organized, logical structure that makes writing less stressful. Once students have established the coherence of their outlines, much of the common anxiety surrounding the writing process dissipates. I also emphasize the importance of repeated editing and proofreading to ensure a polished final product.

Whether a student's next frontier is college, graduate school, or a career, writing will certainly play a key role. Regardless of the chosen discipline, successful students and employees have to know how to communicate clearly and effectively in order to succeed. Even STEM students quickly find out that higher education and the competitive workplace require competency in writing.  

When students focus on crafting highly evidentiary and logical papers, they gain confidence by knowing that, regardless of whether they accept or reject an author’s thinking, they can grapple with complexity and synthesize their own thoughts into a forceful and lucid piece of writing.

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
Story Matters

In addition to guiding students as they develop their intellectual interests, I actively listen to them and try to understand their lives and their interests and the kinds of people they want to become. I encourage them to think deeply and frequently about what they want the stories of their lives to be. From there, they begin to determine what characteristics are in keeping with their values and how to pursue their lives so that they honor those characteristics. 


In addition to students' becoming responsible for their own thoughts, then, I believe it is vital for them to become responsible to others. That self-reflection will ideally lead to students’ consideration of their roles in the community.  A deep engagement with literature should extend their focus outward, preparing students for the college application process and beyond. In addition to the intellectual engagement at school, the process of self-reflection leads students to become the authors of their own stories, celebrating the freedom and possibilities of their own blank page.

Story Matters
A piece of writing is a dangerous thing. . . It can change your life.
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