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MSWC Faculty

Program Director‌

Joanne B. Koch Joanne B. Koch, Ph.D.
National Louis University‌

  • Director, Master of Science in Written Communication Program
  • Professor of English
Phone & Fax: 312.261.3103
Web site:

Joanne Koch is the author or co-author of ten nonfiction books, including Good Parents for Hard Times and The Marriage Savers, previously author of the column "Coping" syndicated to 200 papers around the country, the editor of the ten-play anthology Shared Stages, screenwriter of numerous screenplays and an Emmy winning television series, and the creator or co-author of seventeen award-winning plays and musicals produced around the country, including "Stardust," "Soul Sisters," "Nesting Dolls," and "Belle Barth is Back!"

Areas of Expertise:

  • Nonfiction Writing
  • Playwriting
  • Screenwriting
  • Memoir
  • Literature by Women
  • Minority Voices in American Literature
  • Oral History


Program Instructors

Julia Borcherts 
Julia teaches “Creative Writing: Fiction” course. Her Pushcart Prize-nominated short fiction and essays have appeared in Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck, Criminal Class Review, Sin: A Deadly Anthology, Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting for Next Year, and many other publications. She earned her master of fine arts in creative writing and master of arts in the teaching of writing degrees at Columbia College Chicago. Julia is a theater columnist for RedEye, a co-founder of the Reading Under the Influence live literature series, and a company member with 2nd Story.

Fern Schumer Chapman
Fern is a journalist and author. She is best known for her award-winning memoir, Motherland: Beyond the Holocaust - A Mother-Daughter Journey to Reclaim the Past, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers and a National Jewish Book Award finalist. Her young adult historical novel, Is It Night or Day? was a Junior Library Guild selection and nominated by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) for Best Fiction for Young Adults 2010. The Illinois Humanities Council named Fern a 2016-7 Road Scholar for her two recent books, Like Finding My Twin: How An Eighth-Grade Class Reunited Two Holocaust Refugees and Stumbling on History: An Art Project Compels A Small German Town To Face Its Past. She received her master’s degree at the Medill School of Journalism and is an authority on guiding college publications. Fern teaches journalism at National Louis University.

Suzanne Clores 
Suzanne is an author, producer, consultant on voice and narrative, college instructor, and literary event planner. She has over a decade of experience in print and online editorial services and has worked at or written for major magazines, including Glamour, Elle, Huffington Post, Salon, and Martha Stewart Living. Suzanne’s work has aired nationally on Chicago Public Radio and Radiotopia. She also specializes in corporate communications and media relations. Suzanne teaches professional writing and applied communications at National Louis University.

Gail Goepfert 
Gail is an ardent poet, photographer, and teacher. Currently, she's an associate editor of RHINO Poetry and teaches “Introduction to Writing Poetry” at National Louis University. Her story spans the Midwest in locations between the Mississippi River and northern Ohio, but her passion for travel is endless. She authored a chapbook, A Mind on Pain, released by Finishing Line Press early in 2015. A book, Tapping Roots, from Aldrich Press was published in 2018, and a second book will make its way into the world in 2019, published by Cervena Barva Press. Publications include Blue Lyra, Crab Orchard and Jet Fuel Reviews, Minerva Rising, Found Poetry Review, Kudzu House, Switchgrass Review, Red Hill Paint Review, Pirene's Fountain, Concis, Room Magazine, Switchgrass, Red Hill Paint, Stoneboat, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Rattle. Gail has had three nominations for a Pushcart Prize. She lives, writes, and snaps photos in the Chicagoland area.

Robin Hunter 
Robin has 30 years of marketing experience, including 11 years as the graphic design manager and senior creative director for National Louis University. She has a BSFA degree from Valparaiso University and a master’s degree in written communication from National Louis University. She teaches online courses in professional writing, marketing, promotional writing and advertising, online publishing, and public relations in the M.S. in written communication program.

Laurie Lawlor 
Laurie is the published writer of 38 books for children and young adults, including Super Women: Six Scientists Who Changed the World, Addie Across the Prairie and Rachael Carson and Her Book That Changed the World. Her books have received accolades including the Carl Sandburg Award for Children's Literature, the Golden Kite Honor Book for Nonfiction award, the John Burroughs Riverby Award and the American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults Award. She teaches “Creative Writing: Children’s Books” and “Writing the Young Adult Novel” at National Louis University.  

Elizabeth Schaefer 
Elizabeth is a published writer and director of communications. Currently, Elizabeth serves as assistant chair of the B.A. in applied communications and assistant professor of the M.S. in written communication programs at National Louis University. Elizabeth owns and operates an indie publishing company, Books On A Whim. Her published works include a college curriculum titled "A College Guide to Mastering Business English…With Creativity!," a children’s book, two collections of humorous essays, three political parodies, and an oral history book on domestic abuse titled Women Are With You. In addition to teaching and program management, Elizabeth designs curriculum and is managing editor of the program’s annual literary anthology, Mosaic.

Patricia Tennison
Patricia has been a veteran features and news writer and editor, movie editor, and restaurant reviewer for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago magazine, and is the author of James Beard Award-honored cookbooks. Patricia received her bachelor’s degree in English literature and French from Boston University, and her master’s degree in English literature from Boston College. She has taught "Journalism and Editing" in the M.S. in written communication program since 2000. Patricia is the creator of the Paris Café Writing program and coordinates the Paris Café Writing scholarship offering at National Louis University.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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