Every professor has a story as to how he or she was introduced to a career in teaching. Believe it or not, Dr. Robert Sawyer, a well-known English professor at ETSU, got his start by tutoring his peers in a completely different subject.
“My interest in teaching began when I was informally tutoring algebra to a group of undergraduates I surfed with at New Smyrna Beach, close to Stetson University in Deland, FL, where we all matriculated,” he stated. “Realizing that I could transmit information in a way that made it understandable to my buddies was as revealing as it was rewarding.”
After finally realizing his love for Shakespeare while working on his master’s degree from Western Carolina University, Dr. Sawyer decided to combine his passions for teaching and the famous English playwright into a career that has been very rewarding.
To date he now has nearly 30 years of teaching and publishing of Shakespeare under his belt. Having taught classes ranging from the traditional “Shakespeare and the Victorians” to the less traditional “Shakespeare Between the World Wars,” (also the subject of his newest book), Dr. Sawyer makes Shakespeare interesting, informative and even fun for his students.
Not only is he a fantastic teacher, though, he is also a prolific writer. Dr. Sawyer has published numerous books and essays (one on “Shakespeare and Country Music” seems particularly pertinent to our region), and these have helped him gain acclaim all around America and even the world. He regularly lectures at conferences, including the Shakespeare Association of America in Washington, D.C. this coming April.
“I will also be presenting a paper in Lisbon, Portugal, in May entitled, ‘Bitcoins, Block Chains and the Bard,’” and “in some circular way,” he concluded, “it may be worth noting that Portugal is also home to some of the best surfing in the world.”
Armed with a burning passion for his work, Dr. Sawyer is perhaps one of the most exciting professors on campus here at ETSU.
To learn more about Dr. Sawyer, go to etsu.edu.