Join us as we host a drop-in hour with Professor Lisa Freeman, Head, Department of English
Ever wonder what a head of department does? Curious about a specific policy or course? Want to know why that one class you really, really want to take is always scheduled at the worst time for you? Join us as we welcome Professor Lisa Freeman to the UGS Drop-in Hour on Monday September 14, 2020 at noon.
Professor Freeman will chat about her work running one of UIC's largest and busiest departments. We think you might even get her to tell you about her new dog and the challenges and rewards of running a department remotely.
What did you major as a college student, and how did you discover that you loved English?
I was actually a Psychology major as an undergrad, but decided that I wanted to go to graduate school in English when I was a senior in college and quickly cobbled together an English minor. I was really lucky to have been mentored by one of the leading feminist, Shakespeare scholars in the nation. She experienced the kinds of blatant discrimination that many female scholars faced in the 1970s and 1980s and actually had to sue her university when she was first denied tenure. She was and still is my role model for how to move through academia with an ethical sense and a moral compass. She was also the first one to suggest that I should think about going to graduate school in English. We're still in touch, and I often think about my own obligation to pay it forward.
How have your own experiences as an undergraduate impacted how you teach?
Going to college was a lot less expensive in my day, and I was really fortunate to graduate without any debt. That's just not the case for most students today. For what was then called "spending money," I had to get a job on campus--the most memorable being my early morning shift at the campus doughnut shop. On those days, I had to go to my classes smelling like a doughnut! I think a lot about that job and how I felt sitting in class smelling like a doughnut (even if I did get a lot of free pastries!), and I think about how hard so many UIC students work not just for "spending money" but in order to pay tuition and rent and to support their families. All of those experiences and that knowledge make me strive to meet students where they are and to provide them with the best possible learning experience--I know how valuable their time is and how much getting a degree will mean for their futures.
What is your favorite course to teach and why?
My favorite course to teach is probably English 313: Major Plays of Shakespeare. I approach the course as a drama course and treat the texts as living texts waiting to be interpreted through performance. I take students to Chicago theatres to see Shakespeare performed, and students also perform scenes in class. We talk a lot about how various scenes might be performed differently each time to produce new interpretations of these old plays. I am always amazed by what students find in these plays.
Hear more from Professor Freeman in our coffee hour on Monday at noon! You can click the link below:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 923 3048 9229