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Students should come to Mark if they are interested in debate. Grinnell sends members of the Debate Union to intercollegiate competitions throughout the country and even overseas. As the director of Forensic Activities, Mark is the staff person who works with the students in Grinnell's Debate Union. Mark Baechtel has been Director of Grinnell's Forensic Activities since 2006. Writing has been the focus of his professional career. He writes and publishes poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, and has worked in various capacities in journalism since his graduation from The American University in Washington, DC, where he got his B.A. in 1984. Since graduating from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1998, he has taught writing at Grinnell (in the English Department between 1998 and 2004 and, most recently in the Writing Lab, from 2008-2010), and has been at Grinnell for twelve years, with the exception of a two-year stint he spent in Alaska working as Arts Editor for the Anchorage Daily News. In addition to publishing his journalism in newspapers and magazines nationwide, his poetry and fiction has appeared in journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, American Literary, The Grinnell Review, Lip Service, Poet Lore, Sou'wester and three anthologies—Open Door: A Poet Lore Anthology, Baltimore: Poems About A City and Aspects of Robinson: Homage to Weldon Kees, which is forthcoming from The Backwaters Press. His book on short story writing, Shaping the Story, came out in 2003 from Longman Publishers. He recently finished a novella which was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition, and is at work now on a novel entitled Renovation.