Rodgers Finds New Groove at USAO
Most college students change their major while in school, but it took Meagan Rodgers, Ph.D., a couple years working in the accounting field before she decided on a different course.
Rodgers, an English professor at the University of Science and Arts, got her accounting degree at Ohio State University but quickly decided it wasn’t the profession for her.
She then went back to school with intentions of becoming a high school English teacher and eventually decided she was best suited to teach at the collegiate level.
“I love it. I’ve been teaching college English class for 10 years now. There’s something great about college students that I really enjoy,” she said. “I guess I just enjoy that energy.”
Rodgers joined the USAO family in August, coming directly from teaching at the University of New Hampshire.
“I really liked the environment,” she said of USAO. “I liked how the small size of the school allows me to get to know the students and other faculty members … I really enjoyed becoming a part of this faculty.”
Since taking the job, Rodgers has hosted two workshops for USAO faculty members on integrating writing more effectively.
“I’ve been really encouraged with both workshops. I’ve had faculty really interested,” she said. “[It] is very rewarding.”
She is also in the process of helping restart the Lit (Literature) Club with about eight or 10 students.
Late this month, Rodgers will speak at two professional conferences, scheduled just four days apart.
“I’m excited. It gives me a chance to see what kind of issues are coming up,” she said. “To be around people who are intellectually curious of the same things I am.”
She said she likes the conferences because they are both social and allow her to grow professionally.
In both conferences, she’ll speak on the topic of her dissertation, which focuses on racism as perceived by those who grew up in a predominately white environment.
“It just grew out of the questions I had about how people from predominantly white backgrounds came to understand the difference race can have,” she said.
While discussing the issues with white UNH students, she discovered four themes that the students believe. They are: racism is just a misunderstanding; as long as you’re making fun of every race, it’s OK; as long as you can laugh at yourself, it’s OK; and that media influences our perception of race. Those themes will be her focus in her upcoming conferences.
Rodgers is a member of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, Modern Language Association, National Council of Teachers of English and the American Association of University Women.
She has held a number of different positions both academically and personally, including serving as a survivor advocate for a sexual harassment/rape prevention program.
Rodgers describes her teaching style as student-centered and focused on what the students find interesting.
“I try to be very interested and interactive but still maintain a sense of authority,” she said.