-story by Kaitlyn Sewell '15
English Professor Caroline Kettlewell
Randolph-Macon College English Professor Caroline
Kettlewell believes that curiosity crafts the student. An avid writer who has published
two critically praised books and contributed articles to The Washington Post
and Virginia Living, Kettlewell directly exemplifies to her students that
hard work pays off.
“I believe it is good for students to see how their work is applicable to the world,”
Kettlewell shares. “And I believe every one of my students has excellent potential.”
Lover of Liberal Arts
Kettlewell was introduced to R-MC when she came to visit the First-Year Experience
(FYE) class Writing Lives / Stress of Life, taught
by Psychology Professor Kelly Lambert and
English Professor Amy Goodwin.
“I had a great first impression of the students,” Kettlewell says. “The campus felt
very much like home to me.” Kettlewell considers Goodwin a strong influence to her
teaching style and “she has, on many occasions, offered me a life-saving dose of
chocolate,” Kettlewell shares.
A strong supporter of the liberal arts foundation of R-MC, Kettlewell recalls her
own education at a small, liberal arts college and sees much of herself in her students.
“I was the quintessential liberal arts student, and my education prepared me for
the rest of my life,” she remembers fondly. “Liberal arts students are given the
opportunity to let their curiosity soar because of the multiple disciplines required.
R-MC allows students and professors to create connections with one another. I feel
right at home at R-MC because the students here have a connection to their education
and to the faculty that I had to mine as an undergraduate student.”
Kettlewell teaches a number of journalism and writing-related courses, including
Editing, Intro to Short Story, and English 185, a course Kettlewell considers “the
groundwork for a way of thinking and asking questions that is essential to gaining
the most from a liberal arts education.”
Great Revision = Great Writing
When teaching students how to edit, Kettlewell stresses that great writing requires
great revision. Perhaps one of the most challenging yet most rewarding aspects of
writing, Kettlewell explains, is in knowing how to edit.
“One Thanksgiving weekend, I spent an afternoon printing pages from a piece I was
working on, and cutting them up, laying them across the floor for organizing,” she
shares. “I have had editors suggest deleting pages – even chapters – out of books.
The real writing is in revising.”
In addition to teaching, Kettlewell works with the R-MC Marketing and Communications
department, serving as writer for the college’s website. “Writing for the website
has giving me the opportunity to meet and talk with people from all parts of the
college’s community, from faculty and administrators to current students and alumni.
I’ve had some wonderful conversations with interesting people, and I am continually
impressed with the accomplishments of our alumni in many different fields.”
For Fenton Crowther
’13, Kettlewell is more than a teacher.
“I took copyediting with Professor Kettlewell,” Crowther recalls. “I went to her
during my senior year, asking for advice on how to get my foot in the door as a
professional writer. She was incredibly helpful and helped me figure out where I
needed to go. I am currently working in content marketing at Circle S Studio in
Richmond – a job offered to me by Susan Quinn ’80 – and I may not
have even realized this career path without Professor Kettlewell’s help.”
When she is not soaring through books or spending time in the classroom, Kettlewell
is a competitive long-distance open-water swimmer, as well as a long-time cyclist.
“My most recent accomplishment was a 10K swim in the Hudson River in New York City,
which qualifies as a ‘marathon distance’ swim,” Kettlewell shares. “I also have
a delightful son, on whom I dote excessively.”
To all Yellow Jackets, Kettlewell stresses, “Be curious! Explore the world; take
advantage of the liberal arts opportunity.”
Kettlewell earned her B.A. at Williams College and her M.A. at George Mason University.
She joined the faculty in 2009.