Macon State College MVPs is a web feature that profiles notable students, alumni, faculty and staff.
Full name: Amy Berke.
Originally From: South Georgia.
Family: Husband, Jeff, and daughter, Olivia.
Job Title: Associate professor of English; coordinator of the Communications and Information Technology (CIT) program; director of the Honors Program; and managing editor, The Ellen Glasgow Journal of Southern Women Writers.
Degrees: Ph.D. in English from Florida State University in 1995; M. A. in English from the University of West Florida in 1987; B. A. in English from Valdosta State University in 1981.
Year she joined the Macon State faculty: 1998.
Some of her teaching career highlights are … "My best moments as a teacher are getting unexpected notes from students who say that I have helped them develop an appreciation for literature — and better yet, have helped them decide to become a CIT or English major."
She enjoys teaching at Macon State College because … "Our department has enjoyed the challenge and the freedom to develop new baccalaureate programs within humanities, specifically, the Communications and Information Technology program, and the new bachelor’s degree in English. Further, as coordinator of the CIT program over the last several years, I have enjoyed advising our majors and seeing them complete their objectives and find careers in their field. Our department keeps in touch with many of our graduates, and we always enjoy hearing about their accomplishments. Finally, as director of the Honors Program, I always enjoy seeing our students give academic papers at state, regional and national conferences. Our students always give their best, and their work stands up to that of students from all across the country, even students from large, well-known universities."
Her favorite course to teach is … "Any American literature course, especially where I can focus on the literary periods of Realism and Naturalism. I enjoy, especially, teaching Honors American Literature II, since the Honors Program often brings in an author for a lecture and campus visit. Typically, the honors students read a work by the visiting writer and then have the opportunity to meet the author in person later in the semester."
One thing people don’t know about Macon State is … "Many people simply do not know how much Macon State has grown over the past several years. Many entering students that I meet are genuinely surprised to learn what the college has to offer in terms of the following: the good selection of four-year programs; the numerous student life opportunities; the library and its first-rate collection of online research sources; the academic opportunities associated with being in the Honors Program; and the outstanding credentials of the faculty. Further, many people in the community are becoming aware of the opportunities for program and class offerings at the Warner Robins Campus, which has grown considerably over the years."
One thing people don’t know about her is ... "I collect paintings or sketches of chairs. Over the years, I have collected a number of paintings, several by past students. My daughter gave me her crayon drawing of Van Gogh’s Chair when she was six. It proudly hangs framed in my living room."
In her spare time she likes to ... "Read, and I also regularly watch the Turner Classic Movie channel. In the last year, I have enjoyed reading and re-reading biographies of authors, and one of my favorites recently has been Capote: A Biography by Gerald Clarke."
The one person she'd most like to meet is … "I say this as a good English major — William Shakespeare. As an undergraduate, I was once told by one of my English professors that if he were trapped on a desert island for the remainder of his life the one book he would like to have in his company would be the complete works of Shakespeare. Over the years, I have come to value his comment even more; Shakespeare’s literary world is the richest I have encountered."
If she wasn’t a college professor she would be ... "That’s a hard question, since I’ve known since the sixth grade that I wanted to teach English. Most likely, I would have chosen to be a librarian. I would enjoy working in any capacity where I could interact with students and with books."