Diversions

Professor Profile: Dr. Michele Speitz, English

An interview with Dr. Michele Speitz, English professor.

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What classes would you like to teach in the future?

I would really like to teach a sci-fi course. That’s one of my favorite genres so hands down that would be something.

Where were you before you came to Furman?

I received my doctorate from the University of Colorado at Boulder and so I taught there for a number of years.

What are your hobbies?

Hiking, canoeing and climbing. And I have been obsessed with Kitchen Nightmares, the British version actually. I’ve also been shamefully watching a lot of HBO series when my mind won’t work anymore. So Game of Thrones has been on the table and Girls has been a recent obsession. But usually it’s a lot of reading. But when I’m not reading or writing then I try to be outside as much as possible.”

What is something about Furman that you have come to enjoy?

There are kind of a million different things. It’s been a pleasure to work with the caliber of students that Furman attracts and has currently. You definitely feel something special that Furman offers in a liberal arts education. Students show up ready to learn and eager to work and think critically, rigorously, and robustly. And that hasn’t always been the case in every class situation I was working in previously. I would have to say the students are my favorite thing, hands down.”

What is number one on your bucket list?

To go to Patagonia, really. And backpack around there some summer when I don’t have to write articles.”

What do you consider your greatest life achievement thus far?

I don’t want to say one of the obvious ones, which is completing my dissertation. Sadly, I’d say attempting but failing to learn how to play the guitar. Because I used to sing in choir ever since I was a child and it was a chance to sing again and play music again. Music is always near and dear to my heart and just actually being brazen enough to attempt to learn an instrument during grad school, which was a crazy time. It was really a time when there was a lot of pressure on and I was asked to do a lot of things but I just dedicated some time to something that I think is beautiful. And failing is great too because it taught me humility and it’s always there so I can pick it up and try it again.”

What is something that people might be surprised to learn about you?

My life is such an open book, I feel like, with my students. I don’t think I could really surprise you…I’ve lived on a ship before, not a semester at sea ship, but an ex-naval ship. So it had really narrow corridors. And so on that ex-naval ship I was working with some merchant marine students and taking classes in biology and astronomy. And I got to travel through the Panama Canal.”

This interview has been edited for brevity.

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