Most students have no idea they can earn college credit by studying comics, but for Katherine Kelp-Stebbins, this innovative, hybrid form of storytelling comprises some of the most important literature of the 21st century yet.

“I’m an activist for comics in the classroom,” she said. The form didn’t gain academic traction until around 2007, but “now there are courses at every major UC (University of California) school that focus on comics. It’s gaining traction.”

With a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UC Santa Barbara, Kelp-Stebbins received Palomar’s Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2017. She has extensively researched comics around the world, including in the Middle East. Among her course offerings is ENG 290—her unique and engaging “Comic Books As Literature.”

“I feel honored to work with the students at Palomar,” she said. “They teach and inspire me through their diverse range of backgrounds, interests, and skills.”