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GPI - T. Stores, Dean of Arts & Humanities

Courtesy of T. Stores

By Kaitlin Carman

Asst. News Editor

What are some of your hobbies?

I have a 200-year-old house - and I love my house, but it has a lot of needs, so I have learned to be a fixer-upper. I love transforming spaces and I love old spaces and that goes along with my other love, which is gardening. My father was a construction guy and he had digging machines, like ditch diggers and things like that. I love to dig. So I worked as a landscaper when I was younger and it's in my blood - all my grandparents were gardening people. My mother was a gardener and my dad was a digger. I learned to drive on a ditch digger.

What is your educational and professional background?

I was a non-traditional student. I went off to college when I was 17 and my father said, “College education is wasted on a girl and I’m not paying or supporting you if you want to go to college. That’s your business. You’re either going to get married or pregnant. ... You don’t deserve to work.” I was working full-time at a supermarket to put myself through college at the University of Florida. I was working all the time and changed my major three times. I couldn’t figure out what I really wanted to do so I dropped out of college after a year and a half. I finally finished my bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder when I was 29 years old. I majored in English with an emphasis on creative writing. I decided to go back to Florida for three years as a high school teacher. I went to Emerson, completed my M.F.A. in creative writing, wrote my first novel as my master’s thesis. … As part of my master’s work, I did an internship at Sojourner which, at the time, was the country’s oldest feminist newspaper. I put my Ph.D. on hold and … ended up at [the University of] Hartford and I was there for 22 years. I am working … on a doctorate now … at the University of Hartford in Educational Leadership. My dissertation project is a grounded theory study of college deans whose origins were in creative disciplines.

What are some goals you would like to accomplish during your time at FSU?

First of all, I want the College of Arts & Humanities to be a place where students understand and can articulate how and what they do as humanists and as artists in their own personal, day-to-day lessons, reading, thinking, writing, making, creating - how they can articulate how that is important to the world. As we think about the next 10 years, all the research - all the reports are that generative AI - jobs are going to change. And what’s incredibly exciting for those of us in my world is to think about what it is humans can do that machines cannot. I would like for this college to be a place where we are able to talk about that and are able to show the rest of the world what that means and to think about the future - how we can, as humans, shape the future in a way that is more productive, more enriching for other humans … I think about how we can, as humanists and creative people, think about the strengths that humans bring to the world. We can work with AI, we can offload some of the tedious stuff to AI, but we have to be able to make judgments, and decide what is truth, and what is good … to think critically about those hard questions. I think it’s something we have to get better at - not just preserving humanity, but improving it. Getting to the hard stuff of interpersonal conflict. If we just shut down conversations instead of trying to keep working to find the place where we can agree or the place we can come together and be human together and understand the value of human life - then we’re lost.

Do you have any advice for students?

My advice for students is to follow what you love and find a way to live doing what you love. No matter what it is, figure out what you like to do, what makes you happy, what brings you happiness and fulfillment and joy. We all want to do work that is fulfilling, right? I don’t know why, but we do. I want to do work that is fulfilling - that’s why I’m being an administrator. It’s fulfilling to help other people and to serve a fantastic institution like Framingham, right? “Live to the Truth.” To be able to work toward that mission and work toward those ideals, those lofty ideals, that’s great. And to do that by helping other people work toward those ideals for themselves, that’s great. That’s what gets you up in the morning and keeps you at your desk. … It makes a life. You can still reserve plenty of time for gardening, digging holes, shoving rocks around, planting a few things, and loving the people that you are close to, but it’s also loving the whole world. ... Find what you love, what makes you feel useful and strong within yourself, what makes you feel like you have made the world a better place, and then just find a way to make a living at it.



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