I became serious about pursuing a graduate degree in English during my junior year of college, which I spent in Ireland. Being immersed in a that culture during the violence of the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland gave me a new sense of how the pleasures and traumas of life are shaped by storytelling. I believe that a good education doesn't just teach a student how to get what s/he wants, it also helps that student figure out what is worth wanting — what will actually lead to a fulfilling life. My favorite part of teaching at Mount is the opportunity to get to know our students as people, often over all four years and beyond, because each individual student needs to be equipped for this journey of discovery in their own way.
Passion for Higher Education
I have been studying the history of higher education, especially the liberal arts, for several years. It is fascinating to see how the transformative potential of a college education has been envisioned over the centuries, and how it is transforming in modern times. Several of my courses provide this context for the education that my students are undertaking, and ask them to reflect on what they see as the most important goals during their four years of college. In fact, I teach a Capstone for seniors entitled "The Idea of College: Value and Values in Higher Education."
Why Mount Union?
First and foremost, we are a tight-knit community in which the unique abilities of an individual student are honored and cultivated. Unlike larger schools, the vast majority of courses are taught by seasoned, full-time faculty who put teaching first. We get to know our students and mentor them through college experience and beyond. I've been a student at small colleges and large universities, and Mount is a nice combination of what is best about both. The Literature and Communications Studies department is stocked with superb teachers who teach in a seminar style based on discussion rather than lecturing. We develop each student's abilities not only in the classroom but also through conferencing outside of class, so that their sense of self and confidence grows along with their skillset. There is also a huge variety in our curriculum, with options for studying writing of every kind and literature of any period from Beowulf to the present.