Q&A with UM English Instructor Amy Burdette

Q&A with UM English Instructor Amy Burdette

Kathy DeanFaculty Q&A, News

There are a lot of misconceptions about majoring in English – that it simply consists of writing too many papers and reading very old pieces of boring literature.

“The English Department at the University of Mobile is here to shatter those misconceptions,” says Amy Burdette, instructor of English in UM’s College of Arts & Sciences.

Studying English at UM is fun – and it is relevant, she says.

“We make it fun – and busy – for our English majors. You can truly find your people, here, and have the best experience. There are opportunities for travel, scholarship, creative writing, fun events (Bad Poetry Night), and university-wide exposure (our annual read-a-thons).”

Burdette says studying English nurtures your curiosity and gives you the critical reading and writing skills to apply and use throughout your life. Also, considering the flexibility of an English degree in the professional world, it opens the door for a plethora of job opportunities — editing, teaching, communication or public relations roles, law school, technical writing, grant proposals and much more.

Read on to learn more about majoring in English at the University of Mobile.

Q. What do you love about your field of study?

A. I love that the human condition has never changed, and we can still equate our own human experiences today with literature that is literally thousands of years old. It’s awesome to make those connections with my students, which allows me to get to know them on a deeper level. I hope to spread my passion for literature and writing by making it interesting, fun and lively in the classroom. That is why I have students who stick with me from EN 101 all the way into their upper-level literatures.

Q. What is your favorite literary work?

A. My absolute, all-time favorite piece of literature is anything by Tennessee Williams, especially A Streetcar Named Desire. I even teach it in EN 102, and my students love it!

Q. Why do you choose to teach at UM?

A. We are a small-knit community and know our students on a more personal level. This, in turn with smaller class sizes, allows us to work closely with our students to ensure their success in any one of our specialized programs.

I honestly love the camaraderie I have with my fellow colleagues. Some of them have turned out to be my closest friends. Our children are even close. This couldn’t be a better work environment as far as people go. The inclusiveness and approachability of faculty and staff make this a truly special place to work.

Q. UM offers “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose.” What does that mean to you?

A. My favorite scripture is Numbers 6:24-26 – “We all have different gifts, each of which came because of the grace God gave us. The person who has the gift of prophecy should use that gift in agreement with the faith. Anyone who has the gift of serving should serve. Anyone who has the gift of teaching should teach” (Romans 12:6-7).

Look, I know they say, “Those who can’t, teach.” Yet, my outlook on this is far different. I can do which is why I teach. I can give my students the belief that literature is, in fact, relevant, especially regarding the human condition and universal experiences. I can help my students become comfortable in open classroom conversation. I can ensure they walk away having learned at least one thing, even if it’s that “Orgon (from Moliere’s Tartuffe) has drunk the Kool-Aid” or “Who names their kid Hamlet?”

The point is, Higher Education at the University of Mobile becomes inspirational for our students and allows them the confidence to feel accomplished in their lives not only academically and professionally, but spiritually as well. They remember their professors and will hopefully look back with a humble graciousness to serve the Lord and their communities.

Q. What is your academic background?

A. I received my Bachelor of Arts in theatre from the University of South Alabama where I also minored in English. After graduating cum laude, I earned a Master of Liberal Arts from Spring Hill College with a 3.94 GPA in under two years.

Q. What are some of your interests?

A. I enjoy spending time with my family and watching a good documentary. I also love to work out and go for long runs. It is such a great stress reliever for me ,and I hope to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle for my babies. I thrive on family time and travel. I have been married to my husband, Evan, for over 10 years and we have three beautiful children to show for it.