Testimonials

What Rus’ Colleagues Are Saying

Rus VanWestervelt has inspired so many students and adults to achieve confidence, pleasure and skill in their creative writing endeavors. His passions for writing and teaching, as well as his insight into guiding writers to produce their best work, assure his success as a mentor to those who desire a stronger connection with the creative life. Rus is a dynamic force in the Baltimore literary community and I am delighted he has decided to share his talents with a wider audience. I have worked with Rus for many years, as a colleague and fellow writer, and I can’t say enough about his generous support, evocative writing (both prose and poetry) and deep love of teaching. I can only advise you to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to be inspired to fulfill your creative aspirations.
Leslie Goetsch
Author, Back Creek
Co-Director, Maryland Writing Project
Director, Student Writers’ Workshop

Everyone has mentors in life, and Rus VanWestervelt is one who has done more as a mentor by living to his values than is often seen in an individual. Having taught with him for nine years, my teaching practice has greatly improved in my approach to teaching writing. Writing became real to me through Rus’s encouragement of me to write for myself, and from there I’ve been able to make it real for my students getting them to write for themselves. As a writer, he pursues the truth be it in fiction or nonfiction. As a teacher, he leads with his heart that fosters a community of students around him that is genuine and engaging. As a friend, he opens his door at any time, always ready to sit down for a moment and consider an idea or issue I may have. His passion for writing is only matched by his passion for family and life. Blessed or lucky, however you look at it, I’m better off knowing him, and I encourage you to get to know him as well.
Corey O’Brien
Educator, Poet

Rus VanWestervelt helped me to rediscover my creativity and passion as a writer.  He talks the talk and walks the walk as not only a teacher of writing but as a published author as well.  His guidance helped me to not only improve my writing, but to see myself as someone who could pursue writing as more than a hobby.
Gwen Creel-Erickson
Author, Educator

What Rus’ Students Are Saying

He really understands what it takes to write a good paper, and by giving us the feedback and time to complete assignments, I was able to excel.

Rus was amazing! He really cares about students and how they are doing in every class. He isn’t selfish and truly wants all the students to feel welcome (which is hard for an online class)! I really appreciated his feedback and support in an upper level writing class that could have been miserable. However, Rus was awesome!

He is an incredible teacher, helped me get back in touch with my passion for writing, was supportive, and overall an incredible person. I had him in high school for a writing class so I knew this was going to be a great class. this class was my saving grace this semester and the class I looked forward to doing work for. I would take this class again and again.

I have never taken an online course before at all, and having this class as a first online course was really great. The teacher was flexible, encouraging, and really nice. I felt fine to ask questions via email and they were answered clearly. I now know taking an online course isn’t such a bad thing.

This class was my favorite this semester. Rus VanWestervelt is by far the best professor I have had at Towson and am so pleased with this course.

I loved being able to write creatively and academically at the same time. The professor is awesome. He is encouraging, accommodating, and challenging.

It was a great course that allowed me to grow and develop as a writer.

I absolutely loved everything about this course! Professor Rus is the most encouraging and unconventional instructor I’ve ever had. His assignments are unique and he encourages creativity. He is willing to work with you in any way possible. Great class!

I loved how the professor was always there for help. He really cared about what we were doing and wanted to help as much as he could possibly do. It allowed for a great deal of freedom and creativity in our writing.

Even though this was an online class, i felt very involved and my professor was more than available if I needed assistance with anything!

This was my first online class and the professor was great. Anytime we needed him he would be in contact, and he explained the syllabus and requirements very clearly. Even though it was an online course, I feel that I knew what was going on.

Loved the professor. Such a great writing class and the perfect class to be done online!

I liked how independent we could be in this course and how flexible it was.

[This class] helped me develop as a person, improved my writing skills and techniques, and encouraged me to write about things that I believed in. Deadlines were flexible, and the professor was extremely helpful and understanding.

Professor VanWestervelt was absolutely wonderful. He was so encouraging and always saw the good in my writing. He made a difference in me as a writer. There needs to be more professors like him.

He is an incredible professor, cares about his students, works with them and really encourages his students to get more out of an assignment than just getting it done and turning it in. It is an incredible class and I cannot say enough good things about it, especially if it is for someone’s first online class they are taking. It was great to take and have a very understanding teacher.

The professor is SO personable and the workload is appropriate. You are able to express yourself freely and write about things that you are passionate about. The professor understands that we are busy as students.

The assignments aren’t hard and the professor is the nicest person you’ll ever come in contact with.

It was a lot of fun to be able to write on topics that we were passionate about in a nurturing environment.

The professor gives constructive criticism that is needed and aspiring. He encourages the class to do their best and to never hesitate if we need anything. He was very flexible and made all the assignments clear, and I knew what to expect from him. He made this online course bearable and I would definitely recommend this course to whoever despite whether they need it or not.

This was probably the best class that I have taken at Towson so far. I actually enjoyed the writing assignments that I had to do, and the professor is such a nice, down to earth, and helpful guy!

Great class for those interested in writing or even if you’re not. Professor VanWestervelt makes it fun and is very encouraging. Great communication with his students, and extremely quick email response time.

Being an online course, I never met my instructor personally, but I really enjoyed having him as a professor. He always answered his emails quickly, and the assignments were very interesting to me.

The professor was very friendly, helpful, and encouraging. All the papers are based on what you believe in and it makes writing your papers fun and educational.

This class isn’t like your typical writing class. You get to write with your own style; you don’t have to conform to other professors’ writing style. Such a wonderful class!

 What Rus’ Readers Are Saying

I woke up this morning in a terrible mood. You know the type of mood where you are feeling sorry for yourself and feel like the world is coming to an end. So I decide to stay in and read Cold Rock, which I just received in the mail yesterday. Needless to say, I finished the book in about 3 hours. Cold Rock is a book about love, tragedy, faith, and believing…not only in yourself and others, but God. This book inspired me and made me think about what is really important in life. There are many aspects of the book that I can relate to personally so it really hit home. You feel like you know each character and the authors choice of words and descriptions help you to visualize the situation that is occurring. After reading Cold Rock, I cried…I cried for all the good things that have happened in my life and I thanked God for getting me through all the bad things and making me the person I am today. Like Dylan, I am a believer and a survivor. I would recommend this book to anyone. It proves that with a little bit of faith and perseverance…there is nothing you can’t conquer if you put your mind to it. Thank you Rus VanWestervelt. I hope to see many more books written by you in the future.
~Vicki Mathis

A somewhat surreal story, Cold Rock submerges you in such detailed images that you feel like you’re right there with the characters. I could picture everything and everyone as clearly as if I was watching a movie – love it when an author does that! The words flow well and it’s hard to put down, a quick read with 3D characters, nice symbolism and some wonderful and interesting ideas that I won’t ruin for those who haven’t read it yet 🙂
~“Crispy Chris”

Some writers have a story to tell and others are storytellers… I suspect Rus is both! Cold Rock is not what I expected but it is even better! A novel that most people will relate to and this reader/writer can only imagine how much is fact and how much is fiction. It is a story of faith and knowing oneself and coming to terms with the darkest corners of life. Sometimes the unthinkable acts that others bestow upon us can only turn to something good when we face them. There are lessons to be learned. A great read by a developed writer. Range of emotion … Parts of the book made me gasp and for a moment I thought my story is your story is all of our stories. Congratulations Rus VanWestervelt on an excellent novel, well done!
~Bernadette Moyer, Author

I am blown away by VanWestervelt’s story. He writes in thick description and takes the reader on a journey through the heart and mind of Dylan, a man who has faced more than one tragedy in his life. A real page-turner. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire story.
~”PhDNurse”

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