Dr. Michelle Collins-Sibley

Teaching Area(s): English

Title: Professor of English and Director of Africana Studies
Courses Taught:
English, Africana Studies

I’ve always loved books, reading and languages; initially I was interested primarily in the scholarly aspects of an academic career—library and manuscript research and writing—but in graduate school I discovered that I love teaching, especially when I’ve got a group of students who share my love of books and reading.

Professional Accomplishments
One of my proudest moments was when I learned that a colleague had nominated me for the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission’s Governor’s Humanitarian Award moments before I learned that I won the award.

Teaching Style
I like to sit with my students in a circle or around a seminar table rather than stand in front of a lecture hall or a podium. I’m not a bad lecturer and will lecture when it’s appropriate, but I really love lively discussion with my students. I like to help my students see the connections between classic literary texts and the contemporary and popular fiction they’re reading.

Interesting Research
Most of the time my research feeds my teaching and vice versa. I’ve been working with Dr. Johnson and Dr. Price to revive my personal and professional interest in peace studies on a curriculum for our proposed Peacebuilding and Social Justice Program. As part of that effort, I’ve designed a course called Building Peace, Building Community that I’m very eager to teach and hope to be able to offer not only for the program but also as part of the Integrative Core.

Best Part of the Job
I love talking to students, especially outside of class. I just had all my Fist Year Seminar students over to my house for movies and Chinese food—that was really fun. I think I’ve done some variation of that with my first-year students in the fall semester from back in the old days of LS 100.

Favorite Building
It’s Chapman Hall. I love old buildings. I remain really happy to have an office in Chapman.

Mount Union Unique
Orville Hartshorn’s original vision of liberal arts education for people who work is the foundation of what makes Mount Union unique; that’s what attracted me to Mount Union initially and I hope to contribute to maintaining and even strengthening that tradition.

Preparing Students
At our very best we graduate students who are intellectually curious. They are open to new ideas and experiences but challenge and test those ideas. They are analytical and imaginative readers, thinkers and problem solvers. They are well grounded in their individual disciplines and professional training but can also work across disciplinary boundaries.

A.B., Comparative Literature, Stanford University
M.A., Translation and Interpretation, Monterey Institute of International Studies
Ph.D., Comparative Literature, State University of New York at Binghamton

Orville Hartshorn’s original vision of liberal arts education for people who work is the foundation of what makes Mount Union unique; that’s what attracted me to Mount Union.

Fun Facts

Favorite Quote or Motto
“She had fallen for the very beginning into the warm embrace of the brotherhood of man, because when a people wanted everyone to be ordinary, it was just another way of saying man loved man.” –Bessie Head, A Question of Power
Surprising Fact About Yourself
I’m terrified of speaking in front of groups of people. The first week of classes is always a source of tremendous stage fright.
If You Weren’t a Professor
I’d be a sculptor or a hermit. Actually, it would be great to be a reclusive sculptor.
Favorite Movie
To Kill a Mockingbird, which also is one of my favorite books.
Favorite Book
Mostly I have favorite authors –Henry James, Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Simone de Beauvoir, Patrick Chamoiseau and Samuel Beckett. I love poetry by Emily Dickinson, Kevin Young, Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams. I also love science fiction and mystery novels. Sorry, the more I think about books the more I remember books and authors I love.
Hobbies and Interests
I like to garden, vegetables mostly, and I am seldom without a knitting project close to hand. I also spin my own yarn. I love to cook, and I get together with friends almost every year to hold a Julia Child Memorial Dinner for which we prepare several dishes from her Mastering the Art of French Cooking and always something chocolate. I love movies, though I don’t have the time to go to many. Reading remains my first and most favorite of activities.
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