Lamar Nisly

Lamar NislyWhy do you enjoy teaching at Bluffton? What makes it unique?
I like the way we get to know our students. I get to see students progress from the beginning to their final projects. I get to see their views on literature, writing and life. The same thing is true about academic advising, thinking about a student's career and where they are headed. Nothing is better than a class that is going well.

What excites me about teaching in the English department?
I get to share with students some of the great literature texts that I love. They help me see a text with new life. There can be mutual learning which can occur.

I knew I was destined to teach English when...
My dad is an English professor. I wasn't sure I wanted to teach until a year after college. I was torn between going in to journalism and teaching. I volunteered for a year as an editor for a non-profit organization. When September came around, I knew I missed academics.

Favorite class to teach...
Catholic lit class. It allows me to focus on my three favorite authors: Walker Percy, Flannery O'Connor and Tim Gautreaux. It is a class where we go deep into their work and where students really get to know the authors. The Security and Fears lit class was a great class, it was a new way to look at texts.

Favorite place/time/event on campus...
A favorite thing for me is working with students on their research seminar projects. In that class, students are more experienced in their college career but I can still offer some insight. When we have conferences to meet individually, things really tend to come together for the student. I also like to go to basketball games for the excitement. Friday morning faculty coffee is also a favorite.

When I'm not teaching I enjoy...
Family is a big part of that. Family activities is a big part of what I like to do. My wife and I enjoy watching movies together. Basketball is a passion of mine. I like gardening and doing outside work.

My favorite elementary/middle/high school was who and why...
One of my favorites was Mrs. Moorhead in first grade. She was really nice but also she affirmed my ability to talk in front of a group. We had a "clowning around day" in class that was sort of like a circus. There were tryouts to be the ringmaster and introduce the acts. I was sick on the day of tryouts but she still picked me. It meant a lot to know that she thought I could do it.

My first job was...
I mowed lawns for older people in my neighborhood. I also had a paper route. I had to go around and collect the money from subscribers and it was an interesting way to meet the people who lived around me. I still do like to mow lawns.

As a college student, I was involved in...
My biggest involvement was at the student paper. My first year I was a writer, news editor for the next two years and general editor my last year.

Favorite vacation destination/activity...
I have never really been a beach person, but my wife and kids enjoy going to the beach. We've been to Ocean City and the Outer Banks. I have come to love the beach because of how it makes the people I care about feel. I would personally prefer the mountains.

Someday I would like to (what's on my bucket list)...
I would like to be able to dunk a basketball, but I don't think that will happen. I would like to drive a dogsled team. That's from growing up reading stories from the great north. I'd also like to go back to Kenya. I lived there for six months while my father was on sabbatical when I was in eighth grade.