Professor of English
I began teaching a long time ago at my graduate university and have logged 32 years at Lynchburg College. Telling those who asked that I began teaching here when I had barely turned 17 used to work, but today’s students are less naive than they were some years ago. It’s no overstatement to say that I have greatly enjoyed my years spent in front of classes, and I look forward to several more.
Since 1991 I’ve been taking LC students (and others) every summer on study abroad programs to various parts of the world; most recently I’ve even spent the J-term in Vietnam and one spring in Argentina, but my normal haunts have been Italy, England, Ireland, Greece , and Turkey. I’ve been privileged to travel as well to many other European countries, and to Australia and New Zealand (which I visited once again in the summer of 2010). My hope is to spend at least one month every year in places I have not yet visited, because I not only love to make discoveries about other cultures myself but to witness my students doing the same and literally maturing before my eyes. My singular joy comes from watching what happens to young people when they encounter a culture foreign to them and learn to make their way.
Degrees and Certifications
- PhD in English, Bowling Green State University in Ohio, 1973
- MA in English, Bowling Green State University in Ohio, 1968
- BA in English, State University of New York at Brockport, 1966
Honors and Awards
- 1999/2000: Shirley Rosser Award for Excellence in Teaching
Much of my training and interest has been in contemporary literature from World War II to the present but especially since 1960. I’ve gravitated toward female novelists and dramatists, first-time fictions, “hyphenated-American” authors (i.e. Asian-American), and increasingly toward multicultural authors in translation. On the latter front, I hunt out the latest works from countries whose literatures have only recently become available in English.
Study abroad opportunities nearly always require me to research in the literature and culture of the lands we plan to visit. After years of neglecting the literature and history of World Wars I and II, I spent many months eagerly reading and gathering information in anticipation of a program in northern Europe last summer; the same could be said earlier of Australian literature and, most recently, of South Africa. I very much enjoy searching out the quality writings of a nation’s best authors and succinct renderings of its history.
Information on Courses Taught
While I prize classical literature and modern classics alike, I try to keep current by including recently published works in several genres. This includes non-fiction pieces out of journals, newspapers, magazines and the Internet (particularly useful in composition classes). Over the past five or ten years, I’ve leaned heavily toward introducing multicultural voices in all of my courses, some of which are wholly devoted to the subject, and the female perspective is something I’ve tried to emphasize because it hasn’t been heard often enough and very much deserves to be.
I was born in Rochester, New York, where all the members of my family, including 44 first cousins, still reside. I love home and have, of course, countless fond memories of it despite what now literally chills me to the bone: long, gray winters and heavy snows. I went to an undergraduate college just a few miles west, then to graduate school in flat, windy, and also quite cold Ohio; I loved both places and the people I befriended there, but I also acquired a desire for warmth. Thankfully, LC took me on and I’ve reveled in the comparatively tropical temperatures here. We get a change of seasons, thankfully, but spring comes at least a month earlier than in N.Y., and summer lasts well into October. No complaint here.
I helped raised three children here, two of whom have been at a distance for about 10 years; my son is in Chicago, my first-born daughter in D.C., while the “baby” is with us in town. My wife and I lived in Greensboro for a number of years before returning to the area about five years ago. Despite injuries, I remain an avid (but poor) runner, and I try to play golf and tennis as often as I can. I see triathlons in my future, but I need to find a pool first so that I can teach myself to swim long distances!
Naturally, I read quite a bit. There’s so much out there that I wish I had time for. It’s certainly possible that a greater number of top-quality authors in all genres are publishing now than ever before, which makes it impossible to keep up and, hence, very frustrating. When I do uncover a gem, I share it with the next class that comes along, which is one of the chief joys of my existence.
Professional Association and Affiliations
- NCTE – National Council of Teachers of English