Putting on a Good Show: Professor as Performer

deadline for submissions: 
May 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association (PAMLA 2018, Bellingham, WA)
contact email: 

Jill Carroll, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, argues that all instructors use a “teaching persona,” even those who unconsciously adopt what she calls a “default” persona. “If it [the default persona] works for you, consider yourself lucky,” she writes, “but if it doesn’t, the results can be messy.” This panel intends to address our teaching personae, and asks that participants consider the following questions (or any other questions that seem relevant to the issue at hand):

-Do you purposefully craft a persona for yourself, and if so, how have you gone about it?

-If at multiple universities, do you sample different approaches or personas?

-Who or what are your influences?

-How do you address the balance of performance (entertainment) and education (knowledge)—and, especially with the weight of student evaluations these days, the expediency of cultivating a likeable persona at the expense of the course material?

This panel seeks perspectives that offer a lively debate about the role of the professor as self-fashioning actor, and the extent to which the professor should be expected to be an entertainer while “on stage.” This discussion will be of use to scholars of all ages, as newer instructors ponder the purposefulness of their approaches, experienced instructors reflect on successes and pitfalls of their choices, and everyone contemplates how to rise to the challenge of today’s entertainment-saturated students.

 This panel is part of the 116th Annual Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) Conference, to be held in Bellingham, Washington. The conference spans Friday, November 9th through Sunday, November 11th, 2018, and has a general theme of “Acting, Roles, Stages.” 

Proposals are due May 30th. Please submit your proposals through the PAMLA's online proposal-collecting system, which should be available soon at https://pamla.org/2018.