Randy Jasmine, associate professor of English, shares his recommendations with students. Photo Madison Anderson.
This article is one of a series, which provides media recommendations relevant to the interviewed faculty member’s field, as well as their thoughts on pursuing a similar career path.
Randy Jasmine is an associate professor of English at Dixie State University with a passion for reading, writing and teaching. His academic articles on the works of Richard Wright, George Eliot and George Gissing have been published by the ‘Mississippi Philological Association,’ ‘The Journal of the Utah Academy of Science Arts and Letters,’ and ‘A World Within The World: George Gissing’s Vision of Art and Literature,’ respectively.
Q: What books would you like to recommend and why?
A: I recommend they re-read the classics: Huckleberry Finn, The Crucible, The Scarlet Letter, Great Gatsby, Moby Dick. People are going to make references and talk about them. People might expect them to know them. And then I would add more contemporary works. Ones closer to our time period like Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
Q:Would you say reading, writing and teaching are your biggest passions?
A: Yes. I like the fact that you linked them together because I think of them as a unit like that. Reading and writing are skills we can get better at as we go forward in our lives. So, when I do teach I try to stress those ideas. You get better at writing by writing. And believe it or not you get better at reading by reading and you become a more critical and astute reader.
Q: Are you following your dream?
A: Well I think so. I think that that is true. You know you heard about people who are not able to enjoy their job every day. I had a career where that’s been the case where I am happy to go to work every day. So, even if I don’t get paid, you know, so much money as someone in another profession, there’s value in that. I love my job and I’m always happy to go to work. And that should be a dream for many people.
Q: What would you say to students wanting to follow in your footsteps or choose English as their major?
A: I feel like what students need to know, like every other field, the field of English is changing. There is more of an emphasis on concepts like digital humanities and writing on social media. I would encourage students to read the kinds of things I said but to beware of the values the important that more contemporary forms of writing play in our society. We have a good placement rates of our graduates. Our graduates go to places like law school, go into adverting firms, go into professorial writing as a career. So, there are a lot of options for someone studying English. Beware that you may not end up in a field that you planed on in the first place.
Q: What drew you to Dixie?
A: I lived in Utah before. I had my MA and BA in Utah State University. I really liked the west and so, when I finish my Ph.D., I was in Mississippi, I applied for this job early on. I kind of always knew I was going to head out West. After my work was done in Mississippi, when I came to the area I fell in love with it. And I would add to that, I am a big supporter of and believe in open access institutions. I think they are very important and so when I got here and saw the kind of work that was being done at Dixie, helping students see if college is the best options for them. That really convinced me that this was a place I wanted to be.