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Making Math Fun and Relevant

If you ask Professor Mark Brown, who arrived on campus in 2013, what he does at Delta,  he’ll say, “I teach composition, sometimes creative writing, and mostly film courses in our digital filmmaking program.”

Beth Kelch working with students in classThat’s a profound understatement. Brown is an associate professor of English, Delta’s Honors Program coordinator and the writer and producer of “Movie House,” a podcast about the film industry that airs weekly on Delta College Public Radio.

Clearly, he’s an overachiever - just like many of the students who enroll in his honors courses.

Honors education is not just a regular class on steroids

Mark is quick to squash the common misperception that honors courses are more and harder work.

“One of the great myths of honors education is that it's just harder, right?” he says. “Not so. Honors courses are really about providing alternative educational experiences, allowing the professors to pursue their very specific area of expertise with a smaller group of students - allowing students to really ask a question and delve into it.”

Mark tells stories of class projects that both the students and he found fulfilling.

“I teach in an honors section of English 111--just the most basic freshman composition class that every college freshman on every college campus takes,” he says. “But we focus on what are called ‘zines. They’re little hand published booklets that you make with a Sharpie, a stapler and a photocopier. Just the cheapest, most democratic kind of thing.”

The ‘zines are as unique and interesting as the students who create them.

“Everyone had to create their own little personalized publication,” Mark explained. “There was one about a feminist painter, one on the history of Dungeons and Dragons and another about designing rollercoasters. The fun and variety of it perfectly combined with the academic and intellectual rigor of the research and citation requirements. Everything they were supposed to do in a normal college class, they did in spades.

“But in addition, it was so personalized and so idiosyncratic, it was just a delight. It was an opportunity for them to really flex their muscles and show what they can do. Kind of that horizon-broadening experience, where they could really research exactly whatever it was they wanted to research and find joy in academics, joy in research, joy in writing and joy in learning.”

Clearly, he found joy in teaching it as well.

Lights, camera, podcast

Listen to one episode of Mark’s podcast and you can’t avoid his love for films and his respect for the artists who create them. On occasion, you’ll also hear if someone really lets the viewer down, like his podcast on the most recent James Bond feature “No Time to Die.”

“With ‘Casino Royale,’ James Bond was elevated into something other than a cliché,” Brown opined. “Unfortunately, ‘No Time to Die’ kind of wrecks all that.”

Want to hear Mark’s take on “The Worst Person in the World,” “Everything Everywhere All At Once” or “The Batman”? Listen to Delta College Public Radio at 90.1FM Thursday mornings or catch them anytime at

"One of the great myths of honors education is that it's just harder, right? Not so."

Mark Brown
Associate Professor of English


Are you interested in honors education at Delta College? Find out more at

Learn more at Delta’s digital film program at