Jennifer Wacek, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Comparative Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015
M.A., Comparative Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2007
B.A., English, College of St. Benedict, 2003
“I believe that these encounters with literature can push students to be not only better people or better scientists but better citizens of the world in which we live.”
I am currently working on my dissertation in Comparative Literature. My research focuses on issues of gender and community in literary texts in Arabic, French, and Spanish from North Africa and the Caribbean. In the context of teaching literature, I am interested in the ways that reading texts from diverse times and places can engage students in thoughtful discussions of such contemporary issues as race, gender, and difference. These discussions are important for the development of all students but particularly important for UMR’s students as they move into careers in health sciences. The opportunity to work with these students and to be a part of this new university is incredibly motivating and inspiring.
At UMR, I work with Humanities 1433: Literature in Historical and Cultural Context, and Humanities 3471: Literatures of Diversity, in addition to working collaboratively with other faculty members to develop and deliver the course content. I am also working with UMR's writing faculty to develop a writing center along with a peer-tutoring program.
I have taught literature previously at both the undergraduate and the high school level. I have taught a wide variety of courses including Literature of Comparative Race and Ethnicity, Creation Stories, The Monstrous in Modern Literature, and Introduction to American Literature. I also have experience tutoring writing and developing training sessions for peer tutors. My goal in teaching literature is to help students become active learners and critical thinkers through the analysis of literary texts. Literature can facilitate deep thinking and discussion on a wide range of important issues, and it allows students to come into contact with people, places, and things that are far from their daily lives. I believe that these encounters can push students to be not only better people or better scientists but better citizens of the world in which we live.