In the Classroom

A few thoughts about my classes at FSU

This page is designed to assist students taking classes with me at Florida State University. Since I teach juniors, seniors, and professional masters level students, my approach to the classroom may seem very different, even odd, for students more accustomed to the anonymous lecture style of teaching. 

The most important difference is that I do not treat students like students. I treat them as if they are one or two semesters away from being in the professional work force. Thus, all the assignments and classroom content is built around developing skills and attitudes that will be expected of students when they start a job post-graduation. All of my classes are "inverted"--students generate class content. All students are expected to participate throughout the semester.

Missing class should be considered a calculated risk. You would expect skipping work to put your job in jeopardy. Similarly, if you skip class your will miss out on critical content. When students miss class, and they contact me afterwards and ask me "what did I miss?", my response (which is true) is "everything." You will understand what I mean by this when you come to class.

I try to design more courses so every student can engage in a potentially transformative experience. They are heavy on critical thinking, application, and knowledge development. The principles are built on active learning. I actively try to individualize the curriculum and assignments, so communication throughout the semester is critical. 

So, sign up, be ready to commit, and prepare for the ride!

Sam Staley

DeVoe L. Moore Center

Florida State University


My guartantee

If you take my class seriously, and diligently and sincerely follow through the assignments and projects, I will commit to helping you be as successful as possible. You are not just taking a class. You are entering into a partnership, and that partnership does not have to end when the final grade is turned in.

Find out more

Speaker Event Bookings

I love to give presentations to groups and classrooms. In addition to hundreds of classroom lectures, more than 200 invited lectures, talks, and presentations, I have run workshops on various aspects of the writing process. Take a look at a few of my presentations below, and reach out to me ( if you think I would be suitable for your class, book club, writers conference, or other venue. Also, peruse my website and feel free to propose something entirely new

What Writers Can Learn About Storytelling from Film (pdf)


Writing Historical Fiction that Sizzles (pdf)


Show Don't Tell (pdf)


How Capitalism Allowed Sgt Pepper and His Band to Play (pdf)


"Divergent" Economics in the Classroom (ppt)


Using Foreign Language to Differentiate Characters and Deepen Story (pdf)