John Serge Bennion

Associate Professor, English

4125 JFSB


Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: , , ,

Teaching Experience

I am an experiential educator, and have 30 years experience leading outdoor writing programs that use the writing of personal essays to promote student growth. These programs include Wilderness Writing, Literature and Landscape, Integrated Natural History–Utah, and Insects, Writing, and Art. I have received an Alcuin Fellowship (2017-2020), a Nan Grass Fellowship (2014-2016), and two department teaching awards (2006 and 2017).


As a native of the Utah desert, I write personal and historical essays and fiction about people struggling in that forbidding landscape. I also research the use of reflective writing in experiential education contexts, generally outdoor writing programs.

Selected Publications

•Breeding Leah and other Stories (Signature Books, 1991)
•Falling Toward Heaven (Signature Books, 2000)
•“Austen’s Granddaughter: Louise Plummer Re(de)fines Romance.” English Journal, vol. 91, no. 6, 2002, pp. 44-50.
•“On Becoming a Lord of the Earth.” Southwest Review, vol. 90, no. 3, 2013, pp. 255-76.
•“My Father’s Ground.” Hotel Amerika vol. 13, 2015, p. 86.
•“Filling the Great Basin: Community and Environmental Practice.” Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, vol. 23, no., 2016, pp. 444-467. doi: 10.1093/isle/isv073
•“Going a Journey with Students,” AWP Writer’s Chronicle, August 2018.
•An Unarmed Woman. Signature Books, 2019.
•Ezekiel’s Third Wife. Roundfire Books, 2019.
•With Brian Cannon, Brian Hill, Riley Nelson, Meagan Ricks. “Asking the Right Questions: Using Reflective Essays for Experiential Assessment.” Journal of Experiential Education, vol. 43, no. 1, 2020, pp. 37-54.
•“Ideology of Land Ownership: Homesteading Practice and Frontier Narratives of Glynn Bennion.” Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, vol. 27, no. 1, Winter 2020, Pages 159–178.


Some of my most rewarding experiences at BYU have been my citizenship responsibilities. I have worked with Mormon Literary Studies organizations, environmental groups, advising students, and giving students experiences, creating programs and advising Inscape journal.

Citizenship assignments

•Mayhew contest chair of short story (specialty): 2020-2021
•Environmental Ethics Initiative: 2020-present
•Experiential Education Study Group: 2019-present
•Humanities in the Wild conversations (Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Weber Overlook, Moab: 2020
•Organizing committee Rocky Mountain Region Association for Experiential Education Conference, Pueblo, Colorado, 11-13 April 2019
•Board member Utah Valley Earth Forum: 2018-2020
•Member of the planning and organizing committee for BYU’s Experiential Learning Summit, sponsored by the Experiential Learning Office, 21-22 Nov., 2019.
•Inscape Advisor: 2010-present
•Undergraduate Advisor: 2015-Present
•Executive secretary Creative Writing section: 2010-present.
•Mayhew Contest, General Chair: 2002-2019
•Coordinator of Dept. Reading Series: 1997-2005
•Co-Director (with Carol Lynch Williams, Chris Crowe, and Cheri Earl) of the Writing for Young Readers Conference (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003).
•Past-Pres.Association for Mormon Letters: 2000-2001 (organized annual conference)
•Pres. Assoc. for Mormo Letters: 1999-2000
•Secretary/Treasurer Association for Mormon Letters: 1994-1998
•Member, Board of the Association for Mormon Letters: 1991-1994

Professional Website

Office Hours
TTh 1:00p-2:00p, W 4:00p-5:00p