Know Your Professor: Marlene Fine

February 02, 2014

Marlene Fine

Professor Fine recently released The Interracial Adoption Option, a book she co-wrote with her spouse, Fern Johnson. She answered a few questions!

What is your favorite class to teach?

Media, Messages, and Society. Having lived through many major technology changes, I love talking about the history of technology and sharing with students that I grew up with a party line and looking at the shock on their faces. This class is a transforming experience, it changes the way students look at big media and allows them to analyze the messages that shape their lives. This is the kind of course that I think really changes a student's life, whether it be while they're taking the class, or ten years later.

What's your favorite book?

I love too many books to choose one, but my favorite childhood book was "The Boxcar Children".

What's your favorite website or social network?

I love ordering things on Sephora and getting all the samples

What's your favorite restaurant in Boston?

I live outside the city, but any Legal Seafood is a favorite; we've celebrated all our important family events there - our sons' adoptions, our wedding, the boys' 21st birthdays.

If you could travel to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?

I would go to Italy: I adore Italy- it's bellissimo!

When I'm not teaching I'm..

Reading mysteries, watching television or films, riding my bike, watching NY Yankees games, playing Spider Solitaire, and generally goofing off.

Do you have a hidden talent?

I don't have one unless you count singing off-key. I can also do lots of dances from the 50s and 60s - twist, mashed potato, pony.

Favorite quote?

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why...I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?" attributed to Robert Kennedy but he stole it from someone else.

What song is your personal anthem?

None now though "I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar)" when I was young.

What drew you to Simmons?

I was brought to Simmons to rebuild the MCM Program. It had been without a permanent director for a couple of years and enrollment had declined substantially. I was excited by the challenge of turning it around. I wanted a position that got me back in the classroom and in more day-to-day interaction with students after spending a number of years as a more senior administrator. (Graduate Dean at Emerson.)

Describe the Communications Department in 3 words?

Creativity, talent, fun.

What inspired you to write The Interracial Adoption Option?

This book is the book we wish had been available when we began our adoption journey; there was virtually nothing written about interracial adoption 25 years ago, and there's still not a lot.

What was your favorite part of writing the book?

Having the freedom to write for a general audience rather than for academics; I've written lots of articles and another book, but this was the first writing I enjoyed doing.

What was the greatest challenge you faced when writing the book?

Representing African American culture, perspectives, and experiences without speaking for African Americans (and other people of color); the other challenge was telling our story while respecting the personal boundaries of our children - we checked in with them a lot while we were writing to make sure they were okay with what we revealed. Predictably, given the generational differences about privacy, they couldn't understand what we were worried about.

I love my students because..

They keep me young.