By Shelby Wood
Please provide a brief summary of your resume and educational background.
I started off as a high school teacher. I taught in Boston public schools. I loved doing that, but then I got the opportunity to teach at the college level, so I taught writing at UMass Boston for about six years. I also supervised student teachers there. Doing that kind of gave me a taste for teaching college and I really enjoyed it, so I thought it was worthwhile to do my Ph.D. and try and get a permanent full-time position as a college professor. As far as educational background, I had done my English degree at Harvard. I had focused on Irish literature. [During] my senior year, I wrote my thesis on Yeats. Then I had lived in Ireland and did my master’s in Irish literature. Total, I lived there for about six years and then came to Framingham in 2009.
What courses do you teach?
I teach Irish Literature and Contemporary Irish Literature. I have taught a Literary Study course based on James Joyce. I am hoping to teach a seminar sometime in the future on Joyce and W. B. Yeats, an Irish poet. I also teach the general methods and English methods for students who are training to be middle and high school English teachers and I supervise them in their student teacher placement.
Are you currently working on any projects?
I have a few different research projects that I am working on. One is taking a look at our placement of student teachers in local school districts. I have been developing a partnership with Framingham public schools and Marlborough public schools and working with a professor in the psychology department, Deb McMakin, to try and assess our students’ cultural competence and sensitivity to K-12 students from diverse cultures. We are working on diversity issues in terms of education. I am just about finished with an article on an Irish woman named Mary Beckett. This article has been accepted so it will be published
sometime this year.
Can you explain the Liberal Studies program?
Liberal Studies is an interdisciplinary program. It allows students to choose a class from two
departments, occasionally three departments. It’s a rigorous program that allows student to take five classes that are 300-level courses. They have to fulfill all the prerequisites for those. They have to take an Introduction to Research Methods Seminar as well a seminar for which they write a 25-page paper and they have to do a lot of independent research writing. But it’s a great major for students who have a specific career in mind that’s not exactly addressed by some of our majors ... but they want to be able to take courses across multiple departments, while still having a high-level program.
Do you recommend any classes to take?
I would love to recommend my own classes, the Irish literature classes. There are so many rich offerings and good courses here that I wouldn’t know which ones to recommend.
Do you have any advice for students?
I would say to try and make the most of your college years. I know people tell you it’s the best years of your life, but it really is a special time in your life, where you can focus on your own development and also get to know students who are at your own age who are possibly from different backgrounds than yours. I would really encourage students to make the most out of that opportunity to meet other people your age whose lives have been totally different from yours. Introduce yourself or try a new club, new activity and new sport that you have never been able to do before. I think college is a great time to reinvent yourself in a different direction – most of all, to reach out to other students because I think we have a really amazing group of students here.