If You Could Teach Another ClassI would teach a psychology class—not really about self-esteem, but about self-efficacy. It’d be a class to help students make the most of their circumstances, to take their lives into their own hands and put themselves in positive situations.
Favorite Quote or Motto“Through language, we try to save our very lives.”—Annie Dillard
If You Weren’t a ProfessorI’d be a photojournalist for National Geographic, a doctor who volunteers for Doctors Without Borders, a landscape architect, an editor of a smart women’s magazine or a politician.
Places to Visit or Things to DoI want to live life fully. That’s not one thing to do or one place to visit; that’s a lifetime of doing things, of going places.
Favorite BookOut of Silence: A Journey into Language by Russell Martin
Hobbies and InterestsI like planning out home and garden improvements, such as garden plots that blend form and function, although I am not a very good gardener. I love to go on bike rides with my kids, I like to play volleyball still and I like to dance in my kitchen to musicals like Chorus Line and West Side Story until I am so tired I can’t stand up. More than anything else, I love to spend quiet evenings with my family.
University Faculty Spotlight:
Dr. Gwen Gray Schwartz
Title: Associate professor of English and Director of Written and Oral Communication
Love of Language
Although I dabbled in the sciences by working as an EMT after graduating from college with an English degree, the study of language has always been my home. I love to be moved by words, persuaded by words, awed by words. At some point, I began to enjoy using my love of language to affect others, and then I learned how to teach others to love language, too.
Academically, I have participated in the complete overhaul of the general education program at Mount Union, contributing most significantly to the integration of writing and speaking. I’m also active in constructing the new writing major. Additionally, I am researching how students and faculty think about grammar and what “standard” English means to folks, and I am working on an article about university writing programs and accreditation/accountability issues for a book on higher education trends. Creatively, I have been working with a writing major to analyze 10 years’ worth of collected essays to learn what the trends are in science writing, and I’m always at work on poems and short pieces of creative nonfiction that are based on observations of ordinary events and problems.
Working with Students
Researching with students, having students see a potential research question come into my head before I even announce it, having conversations with students who make me think, who keep me on my toes, who make me appreciate plurality on days when I just want easy answers—they’re all favorite parts of my job. I love that no two days feel the same, that no class feels the same from year to year, that the students change me just as much as I hope to change them.
Favorite Place on Campus
I love the library. I can sit down in the stacks, lose myself in a row of titles and read for hours on subjects that I didn’t even go there to read about. I am in inter-library loan addict, so I am always going back and forth to the library to get and return books.
How writing works by researching how people write, the problematic connections between progress and preservation
Ph.D., Rhetoric, Composition and the Teaching of English, University of Arizona
M.A., English (Composition Studies and Creative Writing Emphasis), Morehead State University
A.B., English and Comparative Literary Studies, Occidental College