Jan Armon, PhD

Assistant Teaching Professor of English

Jan Armon

Office: 5038 MacAlister Hall
Phone: 215.895.1961


  • BA, University of Pennsylvania, 1971
  • JD, Boston College, 1974
  • MA, English Language & Literature, University of Michigan, 1981
  • PhD, English Language & Literature, University of Michigan, 1988
  • Member emeritus of State Bar of Michigan


After graduating from Penn, where I majored in English and solidified my liberal values even while living a fraternity lifestyle, I entered law school. There I devoted much of my second and third years to a clinical program that provided legal services to the poor.

Yet I missed English, and so once I became a lawyer and moved to the midwest, I worked part time on a master's degree at the University of Michigan, writing a thesis on Milton's Paradise Lost.

Then came the decision. I had been specializing in appeals, which require a great deal of writing. Often while writing I kept thinking how I would teach what I had figured out. I decided to switch careers, become an English professor, and specialize in composition. I entered a doctoral program at Michigan, where I wrote a dissertation on the academic functions of personal writing.

I love teaching, and try to create assignments that engage the creativity in each of us. I want my students to write reflectively from experiences, their own and others'. In classes on writing about literature, I encourage my students to use writing to misread, so that they might tease out new interpretations.

Many books have moved me. About a dozen rise to the top, including a new historical novel that came out in 2013: Unexploded, by Alison MacLeod.


  • "Dear Amy," a memoir. The 33rd. Ed. Scott Stein. Philadelphia: Drexel Publishing Group, 2009. (Reprint of "Dear Amy," Boston College Law School eBrief spring 2005,
  • "A Method for Writing Factual Complaints." Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University Law Review 109-174 (1998). Through two case problems, this treatise presents an original method, based on a rhetoric of discovery, for researching and writing the most basic document of civil litigation, the complaint. (Republished as How to Write a Factual Complaint. New York Practice Skills Course Handbook Series No. F-46. New York:Practising Law Institute, 1999.)