Purdue Profiles: Jane Rose

September 2, 2015  

Jane Rose

Jane Rose (center), professor of English at Purdue North Central, stands with members of the Alpha Mu Pi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society: (from left) Hayley Morris, Aaron Ratigan, Chrystal Ziegler and Karen Bjonback. Rose serves as faculty advisor for the group, which collected books and blankets for its 2015 annual service project. (Photo provided)

Jane Rose feels very much at home as professor of English at Purdue North Central. It's no wonder. She's from the area, and since returning there, she's used her Purdue PhD to create and teach courses she loves, covering topics from Ethnic American literature to teen detectives. As the English honor society’s faculty sponsor, she’s fulfilled her commitment to students and emphasized the importance of giving back.

What drew you to Purdue North Central?

I was drawn to Purdue North Central because of an opening in the English department in 1997. I had been teaching at Augustana College, but I was only teaching business writing, and the position was not tenure-track. The position at PNC was seeking someone qualified to teach American literature, first-year composition, and business writing, which I was qualified to do based on my Purdue education -- I earned my BA in English education, my MA in English, and my PhD in American studies with emphasis in American literature at the West Lafayette campus. I was also excited about the possibility of returning to my hometown of La Porte, Indiana.

What topics do your classes cover?

I have been fortunate to teach a variety of courses and to invent new ones to attract students. My teaching and research interests lie in American literature and culture, ethnic American literature, and gender. In addition to teaching composition every semester, I have taught a range of courses in American literature including Literature of Black America, Survey of American Literature to 1865, The American Novel, and Great American Books. I teach Identity in Ethnic American Women’s Literature, which is a course I devised. I have also taught special topics courses, such as Class and Race in 19th-century American Women’s Literature and Nancy Drew and Teen Detectives, as well as a major author course on Toni Morrison.

What drew you to these topics?

In graduate school, I developed an interest in black women writers, feminist theory, and women writers like Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Margaret Fuller.  My dissertation examined a number of domestic, feminist, and abolitionist women writers, so I have drawn from previous and current research in devising curricula for my courses. I like exploring issues regarding race, ethnicity, and gender.

­­­Why were you interested in serving as a faculty sponsor for the PNC Alpha Mu Pi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta?

I was interested in the honor society as a means of recognizing English majors and other involved students. I want to encourage students to excel academically and become involved in activities on campus and in the community. For the last two years, an Alpha Mu Pi member has presented a paper at the Sigma Tau Delta International Convention. I attended this year’s convention for the first time and chaired two panels. Students find presenting and meeting other accomplished students very rewarding, and it was very exciting for me to meet sponsors of other college chapters. Since the Alpha Mu Pi chapter’s founding in 2004, many of its members have gone on to earn graduate degrees in English, library science and law.

What service projects has the chapter worked on recently?

Recent projects include collecting and donating reading materials to the cancer center across from the campus so that patients have something to read while undergoing treatment. Another project completed in December involved collecting children’s books and wrapping them in blankets as holiday gifts for Indiana families in need. We hope that will become an annual project. Every year members also make food baskets for the Dean's Leadership Group Thanksgiving Food Drive.

What is your favorite part of being a professor?

I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with diverse groups of students -- traditional, nontraditional and correctional students (when PNC had college programs at two correctional facilities).  It is very challenging and rewarding to help students achieve goals and to motivate them to think, write and research critically in composition and literature courses. Also, I enjoy applying my research to my teaching and introducing students to authors and literary works new to them.

Writer: Anna Schultz, schult70@purdue.edu 

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