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EIU Master of Arts in English

Alum got her start teaching as a graduate assistant in the MA program

Susan Morris ‘81, Professor of Philosophy
Humanities Department, Ferris State University

Susan Morris
Susan Morris is also the lead vocalist for the band Bluemonk Jazz.

Susan Morris began her teaching career in 1979 as a graduate assistant during her time in the MA program in English at Eastern Illinois University. After completing the program in 1981, she taught Composition and Introduction to Literature in the EIU English Department before moving to Southern Illinois University to work on a Ph.D. in philosophy. There she taught Composition and World Literature while writing her dissertation.

“That (teaching) allowed me to support myself once my graduate student teaching ran out,” she said.

Today, Dr. Morris is a professor of philosophy in the humanities department at Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She teaches philosophy, religions, race and gender theory, and film, and is the advisor for the Women and Gender Studies minor and the Religious Studies minor. She has also spent over ten years working at the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris, teaching about the history of racism in American culture.

“I think having a varied background was crucial to getting me the job in a Humanities department,” she said. “I’ve also taught in the English department at Ferris very occasionally when they need courses covered.”

After teaching at EIU and SIU, Dr. Morris said that not much surprised her about her position at Ferris, although the region is more conservative than anywhere she has ever worked or taught, she said.

Dr. Morris’s advice for current MA students:

“I’d suggest that you do as much writing as possible. You need to be comfortable with yourself as a writer, because you will have less support for your scholarship than you expect to have. Develop good research habits early. Don’t expect there to be as much open-mindedness everywhere as there is at Eastern.”

Dr. Morris is the recipient of a 2011 Outstanding Graduate Alumni Award from the EIU Graduate School. Read her Outstanding Graduate profiles in the awards program here.

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