Professor Valerie A. Gray has been teaching English at HACC since 1998. She is a nonfiction children’s author and the author of two biographies for the African American National Biography published by Harvard University and edited by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. Gray’s first textbook, “Avoiding Plagiarism: Writing with Academic and Professional Integrity,” was published by Kendall Hunt in 2012. Her second textbook, “Business Writing for Today and Tomorrow: From Memos to New Media,” was published by Apple in 2017. It is an interactive textbook that that presents readers with business writing techniques and practices. It provides a clear, accurate, and multifaceted approach to writing for business. The textbook engages readers by prompting them to respond to videos, write notes and responses in the book, and complete self-grading quizzes and activities. The text and activities help readers recognize the importance of writing business documents that are audience-centered, correct, and authentic. In addition, the text provides a theoretical and historical perspective of business writing. Key topics include business communication processes, ethical writing, peace ventures, report writing, topical writing, employment writing, visual design, conflict resolution, and writing across cultures. In September 2018, Gray presented “Learning Anytime, Anywhere: Achieving Global Reach through Mobile Learning” at the Partners of the Americas' Higher Education Partnership conference in Cartagena, Colombia. She shared innovative ways to use mobile learning to internationalize curriculum. Gray used her English 106 iTunes U business writing course and eBook as a model. In March 2018, Gray participated in a study tour Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos in Cuba sponsored by Temple University, Harrisburg. She experienced numerous cultural and educational highlights during her seven-day stay. Two highlights included interviewing (with translation assistance from HACC retiree Yolanda Perez) the director of the Literary Museum and director of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center. Gray is currently drafting articles detailing her scholarly and cultural experiences in Cuba. In addition, she has shared her experiences in presentations to HACC communities. In June 2016, Gray spent eight days in the Yucatan Mayan area of Mexico with the Bridges of Yucatan study tour program. This was organized by the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Latin American Studies. Her project, “Tracing Creolized Liberty through Cultural Discourse: From New Spain Blacks to Yucatec Mayas,” introduces students to documents of liberty and justice written by marginalized groups. One important outcome of this project is to empower students to write social justice documents to improve their communities. Gray has designed coursework for this cause in her ENGL 101 course. Gray’s College service includes being the Harrisburg Campus coordinator for the Center for Innovative Teaching Excellence and co-lead of the College’s anti-racism reading group. In addition, she is the coordinator of the Black Minds Matter work group. She served as English department chair from 2008-13. Gray’s social and community service commitments include Highmark Caring Place volunteer; vice president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of Partners of the Americas; member of the Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education; and a judge for the NAACP’s Harrisburg region Afro Academic Cultural Technological Scientific Olympics awards. Her passions do not end with teaching and writing; she is a world traveler, becoming immersed in the culture of countries on five continents, and has visited much of the U.S. She enjoys gardening, is a found objects garden artist and believes that there is no such thing as planting too many flowers.
- Degrees: B.A. and M.S.
- Year Started: 1998
- Title: Professor of English
- Professional Experience: Professor, technical writer and marketing coordinator
- Area of expertise: English
- Notable research and publications: “Business Writing for Today and Tomorrow: From Memos to New Media” (2017). Apple. “Avoiding Plagiarism: Writing with Academic and Professional Integrity” (2012). Kendall Hunt. Biographies for William Melvin Kelly and Jared Arter. “African American National Biography (AANB)” (2008). Harvard University. “Jason Kidd: Star Guard” (2000). Enslow Publishers, Inc. “The Court-Martial Trial of West Point Cadet Johnson Whittaker” (2001). Enslow Publishers, Inc.