Thirst. If I were only able to prescribe a single word to reflect upon her being, “thirst”
would extend beyond all others. Professor Jennifer Jones perspires a thirst to engage the minds of all who stand before her. With such a profound desire to excite imagination and intellect, it comes as no surprise that Professor Jones was recently honored with the 2014 URI Foundation Teaching Excellence Award.
Whether you’ve had the opportunity to study with her or not, my hope is that through reading the following, readers may collectively engage with and be inspired by Professor Jennifer Jones’ thirst.
Q: What do you believe is foundational to produce and maintain seminars that are beneficial to both student and professor?
JJ: The English graduate seminar is an occasion for the dynamic interplay between research and pedagogy. This cooperation between professor and students is best supported by a course design that reflects two mutually reinforcing, but nevertheless different, concerns. As a first priority, I take it as my responsibility to introduce a topic, an archive, and a set of concerns, and then lead students through this course of study. The second priority is to give students the inspiration and tools to analyze how and why a given course has been put together in a particular way, and to what purpose(s). By the conclusion of a seminar, students should not only gain a sense of mastery over a particular set of texts and ideas, but also a meta-critical sense of their value within a field, multiple fields, the discipline of English Studies, and other disciplines…To my mind, a seminar reaches an ideal state when a professor can serve as an intellectual guide whose skills as both speaker and listener are equally deft. It is in this context that professor and students ultimately use a core set of texts and concerns not only to master canonical knowledge, but also to create new knowledge…