narrative and community

Why are you in academia?

I am in academia because I cannot imagine being anywhere else. Teaching is my passion, and I am most comfortable teaching in the higher ed classroom.

I’m still an early-career professor, and I know that academia may not offer me a long-term professional home, so I have thought about how my skills might transfer to other professions, but I’m not ready to give up on the ivory tower.

If you do research, what’s it about, and why should people care about it?

I study the way that narratives work to build and to maintain communities. By understanding the role of story in general, and specific kinds of stories in particular, in the lives of our communities, I believe we can build better communities.

If you teach, what do you learn from your students, and what do you hope they learn from you?

My students teach me to be a better teacher. Their questions, their points of confusion, their failures all prompt me to reflect on the intent and design of my courses.

I hope that I teach my students to pay attention to the world with an open mind. I want them to learn to approach new-to-them texts and new-to-them situations with curiosity and questions rather than anxiety and prejudice.