Faculty Spotlights

Dorsey Armstrong | Angelica Duran | Robyn Malo | Nush Powell

Professor Dorsey Armstrong

2017 winner of the Charles B. Murphy teaching award

Dorsey ArmstrongAs an instructor, Prof. Armstrong wants students to learn how to think critically and express themselves clearly. If they have the tools to analyze/dissect a piece of literature and the ability to craft a persuasive argument concerning a text, then they can apply those tools to every area of their lives. She is invested in students and wants them to love literature and understand how it can be a source of pleasure and a means of education/information.

Prof. Armstrong’s favorite courses to teach include anything to do with the Middle Ages, but especially King Arthur. The Arthurian myth has been incredibly popular for 1,500 years, and every age and culture reinterpret it in new and interesting ways. Some of her favorite teaching moments include when her students had a medieval feast complete with authentic food and entertainment, when she and her class dined on stewed rabbit while watching a play, and when she and her class watched a student demonstrate his working trebuchet and they launched wet sponges from Heavilon Hall to the PMU.

Her students herald her as “the most helpful professor I have ever had” and “dedicated and loyal to the personal benefits of her students” and say that they feel “respected and encouraged to do well.”

Professor Angelica Duran

2017-2018 CLA Cornerstone Fellow

Angelica DuranIn the 2017-2018 academic year, Professor Duran is both a College of Liberal Arts Cornerstone fellow and a University-wide IMPACT fellow. Her participation in both these pedagogical initiatives will help her revamp and re-situate a couple of breadand-butter courses that, nicely enough, are in the University Core: “ENGL26400: The Bible as Literature” and “SCLA 10100: Transformative Texts, Critical Thinking, and Communication I: Antiquity to Modernity.” The regular meetings arranged by the fellowship organizations include guidance on practical matters, like classroom exercises and efficient grading; discussions focused on pedagogical theory; and meetings with representatives of groups closely invested in the courses, like the CLA Dean and students. Other English Department faculty members who are Cornerstone instructors or fellows are Michael Johnston and Chris Lukasik; former and current IMPACT fellows from the English Department include Emily Allen, Jenny Bay, and Paul White. Professor Duran looks forward to launching the two revamped courses in Fall 2018, and to showcase the skills, content, and great enjoyment that the English Department and the College of Liberal Arts can provide to all students.

Professor Robyn Malo

2017 winner of the Kenneth T. Kofmehl Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching

Robyn MaloRobyn Malo joined the department of English at Purdue in 2008. Her research focuses on the vernacular and religious literature of fourteenthand fifteenth-century England. Her book, Relics and Writing in Late Medieval England, appeared with University of Toronto Press in 2013, and she has published essays on late medieval literature and religious culture, focusing on the maintenance and formation of communities. Recent invited lectures include Duke, Oxford, Notre Dame, and Yale. Prof. Malo teaches a wide variety of graduate and undergraduate courses introducing students to literature and writing; she enjoys how literary history can make our own moment come alive for students. Prof. Malo is a devoted teacher, and in 2014, she was awarded an Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher Award for the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue. In 2016-2017, she won the prestigious Kofmehl award, the highest honor granted by the College of Liberal Arts for undergraduate teaching.

Professor Nush Powell

winner of the 2016-2017 CLA Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award

Nush PowellProfessor Powell believes that good teaching is about learning from the best, and partners actively with other Purdue teachers to do so, such as through the Teaching for Tomorrow Fellowship, by team teaching with other excellent peers such as Prof. Dorsey Armstrong and Prof. Derek Pacheco. But she’s also strong on her own. Student comments laud Prof. Powell’s near-encyclopedic knowledge of her field, her infectious energy and enthusiasm in presenting class materials, and her humor: “She is quick, funny, and intelligent.” “The enthusiasm Dr. Powell shows for her coursework as well as her expansive knowledge on seemingly every piece of information known to man combine to create one of the best classroom settings at Purdue.”

Importantly, students find that the skills and content learned in Prof. Powell’s classes are useful to them in other areas. Says one, “I majored in English Literature and enjoyed my classes with you more than any other I took at Purdue—Gothic Literature was my favorite course in all my college career (I have gone back and reread The Monk since graduation because it is now one of my favorite books).” And as an exchange student from the UK in the undergraduate program remarks simply, “I thoroughly enjoyed your teaching style, and think you should move to Canterbury.”

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