In July, I had the pleasure of meeting with my advisor (and also head of the English department) Associate Professor of English Sarah Gates for one of my summer projects. The goal of the meeting was simply to sit down with her, catch up, and hear about stories within the department from a faculty point of view and see what cool things happen during the school year. So, without further ado...
The English department at SLU is extremely hands-on and believes in taking an active approach to engage literature and writing. Whether it’s singing pop songs to classes while using interactive maps, bringing “Shakespearians in Residence” to campus or using blindfold exercises to amplify perception for creative nonfiction writing, the English department never fails to deliver on the entertainment front in so many ways.
If you’re in the neighborhood for a little inspiration with your own work, attend one of the Writer's Series meetings and listen to published authors talk about their works! They have a lot to bring to the table and might just end up being the driving factor behind your next literature masterpiece.
Looking to add a little edge to your English learning experience? Professor of English Bob Cowser is the man with the plan; his partnership with the local prison system to teach creative writing will keep you on your toes. He teaches his course once a week in a prison with half SLU students and half prisoners in order to really integrate the learning experience into the lesson plan. Talk about awesome, right?
Professor of English Sid Sondergard taught himself Mandarin and takes students to China as part of the First-Year Program he teaches, and it’s funded by SLU. Can you say "definition of cool English teacher" right there?
Associate Professor of English Dr. Caroline Breashears allows (a lot of) extra credit for presentations if her students dress up in 18th-Century clothing (which you can get at our awesome costume shop in Griffiths Art Center). So get ready for a blast from the past, English presentation style.
Let’s not forget Sarah Gates, who teaches TWO classes focused on the worlds and history of J.R.R. Tolkien, is part of a Beowulf club with her students, AND is part of a band made up of professors. If that isn't taking the cake on awesome, I don’t know what else possibly could.
So, my advice? Take advantage of every department you're interested in and take the extra time to get to know your professors and co-majors. You won't know just how amazing people are if you don't ask. You have plenty of time to do so and according to Shakespeare himself, "Time's glory is to calm contending kings, to unmask falsehood and bring truth to light."
So, go unmask those super cool truths!