What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
Director, What’s Next: Integrative Learning for Professional and Civic Engagement, UCF’s 2016 Quality Enhancement Plan, College of Undergraduate Studies, and Associate Professor, Department of English, College of Arts & Humanities
What is your history at UCF and before UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I’ve been at UCF since 2001, when I started as Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of English; I became Assistant Professor the following year and Associate Professor in 2008; I have served as Director of Graduate Studies and Assistant Chair in English.
What is your academic background?
I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in Victorian Literature.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
When five of my graduate students, who had all gone to present at a national conference (with an earful of stern advice from me about how to behave professionally at such events), surprised me with a framed photo of them at the conference pretending to do exactly what I had told them not to do. It’s on my desk as I type this, and it’s one of my favorite things.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
I would give us all the time to interact with our colleagues and students, to attend events, to work on exciting projects together, without having to rush from one thing to the next.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Be generous: help people if you see a way to do so, even if they’re not in a position to help you back; don’t be territorial; assume the best about other people’s motives. Maybe this is just “be the kind of colleague you would want to work with.”
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
A wing of the UCF Libraries housing a fabulous archive of Victorian texts and ephemera (assuming money is no object here either).
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
I should probably have lunch with some of the librarians to see how to make my fabulous archive happen!
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
I would like to thank everyone who has let me do new and interesting things—there are too many people to name! But, I really think that one of the best things about UCF is that you will never get told “no, you can’t do that” just because you’ve never done it before.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
My dissertation advisor, Kathy Psomiades; I greatly admire her research and teaching, and her professional mentoring has been invaluable to me. We’re friends now, and I still rely on her advice.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
Probably Kathy’s Victorian literature course, during which I had a “conversion experience” while reading Matthew Arnold’s Culture & Anarchy. Before that I had thought I would specialize in contemporary American literature, but that was when I decided to become a Victorianist.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
Really, really good sushi.
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
My favorite book is Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier, followed closely by Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro, followed by Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans. They are all very melancholy novels with unreliable narrators. I don’t know why I love that so much.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
The Pacific Northwest