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Gary Arms

Professor of English
Office: 135 MJH 
Mail Stop: 1552 
Phone: 6379 


Degrees earned: Ph.D. in English, University of Iowa, 1990

Professional experience: I have been teaching literature and writing courses full-time at Clarke for more than 20 years.

Teaching philosophy: My teaching philosophy is a lengthy document, but at the heart of my philosophy is that teaching is all about relationships. Teachers teach best when they know the student, and the student knows the teacher, and together they find a way to understand one another.

Clarke’s impact on Gary: I cannot possibly measure all the impact that Clarke has had on me over the years. For many years I worked closely with two BVM sisters; I have worked closely with many wonderful colleagues. There is something about growing older, and yet knowing so many young students that changes one. I think Clarke has broadened my horizons, brought me many wonderful friendships. Clarke has inspired me when I felt stupid, cheered me up when I felt low, and consoled me when I was grieving. I have worked beside so many good people over the years, and benefited from the company of so many energetic hope-filled young people, that I am sure I have benefited in a million subtle ways. Thank you, Clarke.

Gary’s impact on students: You will have to ask my students. I am sure I have taught them a great deal about specific works of literature and a little about writing and speaking. I believe that we who teach become examples to our students, examples of what a given kind of study and discipline does to someone. I hope my former students are continuing to read and think and ask critical questions. I hope they tell stories. I hope they care deeply about other human beings.

Gary’s favorite:

Movie – The Godfather Parts 1 and 2

Book – War and Peace (you didn’t ask but my favorite play is Hamlet)

Quote – "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." Oscar Wilde

Class in college – A Shakespeare class; the professor read us three plays, read them line by line, stopping constantly to comment. She was deaf so there was no class discussion. The last day she was reading King Lear, and tears were running down her cheeks. I have never forgotten that; it was as if she had turned into King Lear.

Place traveled – I am what used to be called an armchair traveler. I have often traveled to the West Coast, Seattle and Southern California. My wife's family all live in Southern California.

Hobby – I write plays and tell stories. I like to put the stories on my YouTube channel.

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