Foothill College English Professor Scott Lankford

Scott Lankford, Ph.D.
Professor of English; Foothill Center for a Sustainable Future

Language Arts Division
     (650) 949-7540 voicemail

Foothill campus
Office: 6015
Office Hours:
Winter Quarter 2015 Office Hours (in Room 6015):
Tuesdays, Thursdays 1:30 to 2:30 and Fridays 10:00-10:50

Spring Quarter 2015 On Leave -- no office hours.
Summer Quarter 2015 On Leave -- no office hours.
Fall Quarter 2015 -- back on campus again!

Teaching Winter 2015 and Fall 2015 only.
Spring-Summer 2015 I'm on leave for a research sabbatical.

Winter Quarter 2015 Teaching Schedule

English 1A.07 CRN#30665
Tues/Thurs 8:00-9:50 and Fri 9:00-9:50
Room 6302

English 1AB.01H Honors Call #30189
Tues/Thurs 10:00-11:50 and Fri 11:00-11:50
Room 6303

English 1A.019 Call #30477
Tues/Thurs/Fri 12:00-1:25
Room 6302

Course information:

My interests include telemark turns; trad climbs; cozy cafes; bookstores; one thousand kinds of tea; ecology; philosophy; literature; going to the gym; Tibetan yoga; surfing, snorkeling, and body boarding; guitar; treks; Zen and Bhodi Chitta Buddhism; adventure travel to anywhere and everywhere on earth (recently including Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, Brunei, the Phillipines, Taiwan, Singapore, Nepal, Colorado, Washington DC, Costa Rica, Turkey, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Switzerland, England, and Australia).

Born in Denver, I graduated from Manual High School -- an inner-city public school with a majority African American enrollment -- and still by far the best school I ever attended.

Growing up in Colorado, my hobbies were guitar, telemark skiing, and wilderness mountaineering. My first teaching experience came as a wilderness skiing and rock-climbing instructor in Alaska, Africa, and the Rockies. In 1985 I was a member of the American Mount Everest West Ridge Expedition (you can read all about it in my teammate Ed Webster's classic book Snow in the Kingdom: My Storm Years on Everest or another teammate's book, Robert Anderson's To Everest via Antarctica). Prior to entering grad school at Stanford, I even had a brief career as a singer/songwriter, working as a warm-up act for nationally-famous performers such as Don McLean and Harry Chapin on the New England college circuit. In fact, writing songs was what first got me interested in studying poetry!

I joined the Foothill faculty in 1989 and served as Dean of Language Arts from 1994-1996. In 1991 I became the co-founder of Foothill's award-winning Cultural Diversity Center, the Foothill Gay and Lesbian Employees and Friends Association, and the Foothill student Gay/Straight Alliance. In addition to courses in College Writing, I have taught Creative Writing, Poetry, American Literature, Lesbian/Gay Literature and a variety of special-topic Honors Seminars ranging from "Lake Tahoe's Literary History" to "Contributions of Islamic Cultures to American History," to "Blogging as an Emerging Genre."


B.A. Philosophy, Williams College, 1980
M.A., Modern Thought and Literature, 1989
Ph.D., Modern Thought and Literature, 1991


My book Tahoe Beneath the Surface: The Hidden History of the World's Largest Mountain Lake was released in October of 2010 and was awarded a Bronze Medal as 2010 Nature Book of the Year by Foreword Magazine (the leading national journal of independent publishers and independent booksellers nationwide).

My previous book, Northwest Passages: From the Pen of John Muir (revised edition 1998) won the Benjamin Franklin Prize from the Independent Publishers Association.

My next book, Paris Naked will focus on the epic, if often unclothed, misadventures of Americans in Paris from Ben Franklin to Madonna.

During my 2013-2015 Spring sabbatical quarters I'll be researching a book on the battle to save the largest lake on each of the 7 Continents -- including the sub-glacial lakes buried beneath the ice of Antarctica.

Faculty Committees and Student Clubs
Faculty Senate
Foothill Equity Committee
Foothill Sustainable Learning Community
Native American Heritage Month Planning Committee
Black Heritage Month Planning Committee
Asian American Heritage Month Planning Committee
LGBT Heritage Month Planning Committee
Foothill College General Education Subcommittee
Gay/Straight Alliance Club Faculty Co-Advisor
English Dept Tenure Committee
English Dept Hiring Committee

Curriculum Initiatives

During the 2011/2012 academic year, I helped launch two new across-the-curriculum initiatives: The Foothill Center for a Sustainable Future (of which I'm a co-founder and co-director), and a collaborative effort to apply Stanford Design School founder Professor David Kelley's ideas for Teaching Creativity to the teaching of College Writing.

For 2012-2013 I joined the Stanford Human Rights Education Initiative as a Visiting Scholar to help launch a new Human Rights Across the Curriculum program focused on using social media.

In January 2014 I presented a paper on the topic of "Teaching Sustainability" at the annual Modern Language Association Conference in Chicago.

In November 2014 I presented a paper entitled "Medicated Bodies of Water: Hybrids, Hyperobjects, and the Anthropocene" at the International Seminar of Corpus Water and Body Fluids at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timosoara, Romania.

For Winter Quarter 2015 I will be blogging on the topic of "Climate Change Across-the-Curriculum" (as part of a Foothill College Staff Development Initiative) at

Curriculum Vitae-Academic Resumé

Personal Quote:
"Alfred North Whitehead listed adventure as one of five necessities to the truly civilized community, next after truth and beauty, ahead of art and peace. It is a startling idea and he meant it to be so. Men and women are both taught to recognize adventure only as a passing fancy in the growing child, to be put aside with adolescence at the latest. The mature individual settles down; that is to say he does without adventure. Then he should do without beauty, and faith, and laughter, for these too are incidental to real life, to eating and begetting and keeping out of rain.

....Adventure is as needful to the real life of the spirit as food is to the body. The inadvisability of an action will not curtail it if it fills that need. Gambling is more or less bad for society, but people will play the tables so long as hope of sudden wealth connotes hope of change, variety. That is why it appeals broadly to the poor more than the rich: their lives are drearier. Workers go on strike not only for wages and decent hours but out of sheer dramatic hunger. A love affair imparts adventure, not merely because it is unsanctioned and a little risky, but because it proceeds on part-knowledge, like all creative endeavor. A general goes into battle; an artist paints; men climb Everest and fling themselves into the sky; become healers and judge a crime on part-knowledge. They have to, for that is the condition of living" --Michael Drury

Last update: 2015-03-04
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