Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Teresa Reed
Dr. Teresa Reed, professor of English, arrived at JSU as a faculty member in September 1996. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Birmingham-Southern College, Master of Arts from the University of Virginia, and Ph.D. from the University of Florida.
Reed specializes in Middle English literature with an emphasis on Chaucer, literary theory and feminist theory. This interest was inspired from her own college adviser who was a medievalist. Reed explained, “The way she taught connected the literature to current issues and to my personal life in a way that was happening for me in no other class. Plus, the literature is just really cool, with a mix of the fantastic and the real.”
Students enrolled in Reed’s courses need to be prepared for a high standard, as she admits that she asks a lot of her students. However, if one enjoys discussing literature and the issues presented therein, he or she will truly relish Reed’s courses. Her classes are never designed to be one-sided, as she encourages students to take an active role in their own learning, advocate for themselves and ask questions.
“Sometimes in those conversations, I get to see a student coming into her own intellectual capabilities,” said Reed. “Sometimes, I get to learn things and am introduced to new perspectives because of what students say.”
Reed utilizes various approaches to learning in her classroom, which sometimes include class-wide and group-based discussion and activities. Students could be presented with topics ranging from comma splices to symbols in Medieval literature. The first few minutes in Reed’s classroom might also produce a question to get students brainstorming the literature.
Reed has a unique ability to make the reading selections relate to real life. Each year, JSU selects a common reading book, which is a topic of discussion in all freshmen English courses. She lets her students vote on a designated class community service project related to the book, which they complete before the semester is over. This year, based upon the book “Missoula,” Reed’s students voted to do a service-learning project with 2nd Chance, which provides shelter and support to victims of domestic and sexual violence in the surrounding area. They collected boxes of donations and distributed these items to the organization.
Reed explains, “Instead of making the literature come alive, necessarily, service-learning opportunities help to make the classroom come alive; service-learning lets students see how what they are learning in the classroom can have effects throughout their communities, their college careers, and their professional lives. Studies have shown that students learn more and learn more deeply in classes with service-learning components because they are connecting with the material of the course – whether it's a book or a biological experiment about stream pollution or a sociological study of racism – in expansive ways. These are all things that I hope my students gain in service-learning courses, along with the equally important sense of camaraderie they share with their peers and a connection with JSU that is most likely stronger than that which a student would have in a traditional course.”
JSU is proud to have instructors like Dr. Teresa Reed who are passionate about their subjects and work diligently to bring the classroom experience to life for their students.