Her Campus: What inspired you to become a professor?
Professor Sununu: I’ve always loved literature. It wasn’t until graduate school that I discovered I liked working with students, but I found it to be the perfect match. Teaching gives me the opportunity to pass on to students what I appreciated most from my favorite professors. When I teach I like to combine my favorite techniques that I’ve learned from each of my professors.
HC: How did you choose DePauw?
PS: Well, it started with an ad in the MLA job list at DePauw. It’s funny because Wayne Glausser called me at 8am the morning before I was offered a job at St. John University. I told them that I was 99% sure that I was going to accept their offer, but I promised that I would take a tour of DePauw first. I took a campus interview, and I liked everyone I met. They praised the students highly as well, so I figured it would be a great place. I was right! I accepted the position at DePauw before I knew any of the specifics, something for which Wayne Glausser still teases me.
HC: What is your favorite genre to teach?
PS: I like everything. I could never pick one
HC: In class you ask your students to choose a touchstone (a favorite line/ stanza/ quote) from our favorite work. If you were to choose a touchstone, what would it be?
PS: I have multiple favorites in every class. I use them on all of my different syllabi. My favorite novel is Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, but I also love many poems and Shakespeare plays that I couldn’t pick just one touchstone.
HC: You were on sabbatical last semester, right? What did you do?
PS: I was able to spend a lot of my time working on school related projects, so I was in my office a lot. It was nice because I retained my advisees instead of farming them out to other professors. Aside from that, I worked on an article about a 17th century author Katherine Philips. I researched the collaboration between 20th Century scholars Louise Imogen Guiney and John Tutin on how to get Katherine Philips poems into print. I found letters in rare book libraries in London, Cambridge and Oxford and reconstructed what they did to get these poems into print.
HC: How well do you stay in touch with former students and faculty?
PS: I correspond with many students over email. I wouldn’t be able to count the number. This summer nine students came to my open house for alumni weekend. Then I saw 19 on campus and 12 off campus on my trip to the east coast. I take that trip every summer, but the number of people I see varies.
HC: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
PS: I grew up in Beirut, Lebanon.
HC: What was your most amazing discovery?
PS: My most amazing discovery was that I love teaching because I am a very shy person, and I never imagined that I could face a whole classroom of students.
(This is coming from the woman who “de dum’s” across the room to teach iambic pentameter!)
HC: What’s your favorite type of tea?
PS: Peppermint Tea
HC: What’s your favorite Jane Austen Novel?
PS: I have three… does that count? ---(With HC, anything goes!)
Pride and Prejudice
HC: Final question, I promise. But everyone needs to know… How many hours do you spend in your office per week?
PS: Well one time I had to figure out how many hours I work per week. I came up with 120 hours but that includes meetings and time in the classroom. If you want to do some subtracting, then the rest of my time is spent in this office.
There is no subtracting here. Professor Sununu works more than many of us think about work. This puts her quite high-up on our DePauw Celebrity list, and we are all very fortunate to have her. Interested in meeting her? Try stopping by her office!