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English Faculty

Taryn Okuma – Associate Professor of Practice, Director of Placement

Taryn Okuma

Dr. Taryn Okuma joined the CUA faculty in 2009, and was previously Assistant Professor of English at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She specializes in contemporary British fiction and her research interests include twentieth and twenty-first century British literature and culture, composition and pedagogy, literature of war and terror, postmodern fiction, and postcolonial and Anglophone literature.

Dr. Okuma has presented and published scholarship on Henry Green, Evelyn Waugh, Kazuo Ishiguro, W. G. Sebald, T. S. Eliot, Pearl Buck, and college composition. Her work focuses on the connections between literature, history, and national/cultural identities.

Additionally, Dr. Okuma is deeply invested in helping to shape the writing culture at CUA. In 2015 she proposed and helped to create Inventio: The Undergraduate Research Journal of The Catholic University of America, for which she also serves as faculty editor. In 2012 her interests in Writing Center research and pedagogy spurred her to create CUA’s first peer-tutoring program in the University Writing Center: the Writing Center Undergraduate Tutor Program. As the Director of the WCUT Program, Dr. Okuma trains undergraduates to work as tutors in the Writing Center and mentors them as they develop research projects. Through the WCUT Program, CUA students have presented their work at international and regional conferences.

Strongly committed to teaching, Dr. Okuma seeks to enrich undergraduate study and provide mentorship for graduate students as they prepare to enter the profession. Dr. Okuma’s teaching has been recognized by various awards, including CUA Residential Life’s Faculty of the Month Award (October 2010) and the UW-Madison’s College of Letters and Science Teaching Fellow Award, University Early Excellence in Teaching Award, and induction into the UW Teaching Academy.

Okuma teaching




Selected Publications

“Non-Combatancy, Narrative, and Henry Green’s Pack My Bag.” Great War Modernism: Artistic Response in the Context of War, 1914-1918, ed. Nanette Norris (Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2016) 61-72.

Understanding Student Perceptions of the Writing Center: A Conversation between a Student, A Writing Center Instructor, and a Director/Professor.” Another Word. The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 29 April 2013. Web. 

“Jews in China and American Discourses of Identity in Pearl S. Buck’s Peony.” Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 27.1 (Spring 2008): 115-139.

Selected Presentations

"Helping Others Tell Their Stories: Application Materials in/and the Writing Center." With graduate student Lindsay Puvel and Dr. Matthew Capdevielle (U. of Notre Dame). National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing, Hofstra University, NY. November 2017.

"Empatetic Tendencies: Cultivating Empathy in Writing Center Tutorials and Training." With undergraduate student Katharine Werthwine. National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing, Salt Lake City, UT. November 2015.

“Religious Mission in/and the Writing Center.” With graduate student Erik Gravel and undergraduate students Tyler Lomnitzer and Audra Nakas. The Joint Conference of the International Writing Center Association and National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing, Orlando, FL. October 2014.  

"Quantitative judgments do not apply": Catholic Ideals and Modern War in the Sword of Honour Trilogy." American Comparative Literature Association. Tulane University. April 2010.

“The Legacy of Atomic Violence in Kazuo Ishiguro’s A Pale View of Hills.” Pacific Ancient and Modern Literature Association, Claremont. November 2008.


Dr. Okuma serves as the Director of Placement for graduate students in the English department, Faculty Advisor to various graduate and undergraduate organizations, including the Modern and Contemporary Research Colloquium and the Contemporary Catholic Writers Group, and advises graduate students completing Ph.D. and M.A. work focusing on 20th century British and American literature.
Dr. Okuma is currently the Associate Director of the Writing Program and is the Director of the Writing Center Undergraduate Tutor Program, which she established in 2012, while serving as the Director of the University Writing Center. For more information about the WCUT program, please email Dr. Okuma or visit the Tutor Program page on the Writing Center’s website. She is also a Faculty Editor for Inventio, the multidisciplinary undergraduate research journal at CUA, which she founded in 2015.
Dr. Okuma also serves as the Faculty Advisor for the CUA English Society, which she founded with a group of undergraduate majors in 2010. For more information about the English Society and its annual calendar of book discussions, excursions, and social events, please visit the English Society page on the department website or join the “CUA English Society” group on Facebook. 


Office: 237 Marist Annex 
The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20064

Phone: 202-319-5159




  • HSHU 204: Christian Culture in the Secular Age
  • ENG 232: The History of English Literature II
  • HSLS/UGS 328: Inventio, Undergraduate Research Journal Production
  • ENG 328: Writing Center Theory and Practice
  • ENG 333: Intensive Readings in Narrative
  • ENG 374: 20th Century British Literature – Violence and the Individual
  • ENG 431/2: Senior Seminar – Kazuo Ishiguro and Salman Rushdie
  • ENG 330: Memior


Ph.D.: English, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Minor in Composition & Rhetoric.

M. A.: English, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

B.A.: Scripps College, Claremont.

Areas of Expertise

  • Modern and contemporary British literature and culture
  • Composition and pedagogy
  • Literature of war and terror
  • Postcolonial and Anglophone literature