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Murat Yazan: English Instructor

By Meredith Smith

A Turkish immigrant

To adequately appreciate Murat Yazan, it is important to understand his heritage. Yazan is a Turkish immigrant and is the first of his family to graduate college. He has an Associate of Arts (A.A.) from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in literature from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He received his Master of Arts (M.A.) in English from WCU and his master's degree in Library Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His last name “Yazan” actually translates to “author,” which may have signaled an auspicious beginning to his career as a writer and English educator.

First-year instructor

Although Yazan has an extensive education and could easily teach any level of English, it is the first-year composition classes that interest him the most. When asked why he doesn’t teach any upper level classes, he gave two reasons. First, he enjoys shaping new minds and piqueing students' interest in becoming English majors; and second, first-year composition gives him the opportunity to share ideas with his students in a way that inspires them to learn.


Yazan has a simple yet effective way of introducing the required course work and expanding his students' minds. He prints out copies of the creation stories from the Bible, Torah, Quran, and the shashtras. He then removes the title of the book the story comes from and asks the students to pick out the King James Bible version. He said that he has yet to have anyone get it right. This is because the stories are so similar that it is difficult to determine which is which. This excellent introduction to other cultures and religions also emphasizes what they have in common.


Yazan moved to western North Carolina in his youth and has been here ever since. He is an accomplished poet, published in both the “Coloring Book: An Eclectic Anthology of Fiction and Poetry by Multicultural Writers,” and also in “The MAG Muse — Apprentice Guide.” He wants to continue his educational goals by obtaining a Ph.D. WCU is extraordinarily fortunate to have Yazan, not only as an alumnus but as an instructor as well.

These profiles were created by the Karen Greenstone's English 303 class (spring 2009)
and edited for the web by Mary Adams's English 303 class (summer 2009).

Students in Mary Adams's English 303 class (fall 2009) wrote additional profiles.