Week One

This has been a very busy first week for the Summer Institute for Literary and Cultural Studies. On Sunday, June 1st, the twelve students arrived. Despite various airport woes, the day went quite well, and the early morning rains even cleared up into a gorgeous late spring day.

The students met with Dr. Paula Krebs of Wheaton College, who is Director of the Institute, and Dr. Robyn Warhol-Down of the University of Vermont, who is the faculty instructor. Also on campus was Dr. Valerie Lee of The Ohio State University. Dr. Lee was a major influence behind both SILCS and The Ohio State University’s Program for Humanities Development.

In the evening, Wheaton College President Dr. Ronald Crutcher and his wife Dr. Betty Neal Crutcher opened their home to the students, staff and guests of SILCS for a dinner and a talk about the history of Wheaton College.

On Monday, Dr. Valerie Lee gave a lecture on why she became an English professor:

Ever since I was a little girl, I knew that I wanted to teach. The only thing that ever changed was the grade that I wanted to teach. When I was in the first grade, I wanted to be a first grade teacher; when I was in the third, a third; when I was in fifth, a fifth; when I was in high school I wanted to be a high school teacher, but then when I got to college I still wanted to be a high school teacher because I did not know that I could actually become a college professor. I didn’t know any African Americans who were college professors.

On Tuesday, Dr. Lena Hill of the University of Iowa arrived to talk about her own graduate school experience. Dr. Hill graduated from Yale University in 2005 with a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature. On Wednesday, she accompanied the students on a visit to Yale and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where she had spent much of her time.

This weekend brings with it the students’ first exam, a trip into Providence, RI to see Brown University, and a leisurely afternoon at McCoy Stadium to see the Pawtucket Red Sox.

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