Professors to teach abroad in Angers for upcoming semester


At St. Edward’s University, all students are encouraged to study abroad. Students, though, are not the only ones encouraged to go abroad.

In the spring of 2014, Mary Rist, professor of English writing and rhetoric, and Bill Quinn, professor of biology and computer science, will be teaching in Angers, France.

This will be Rist’s first time teaching abroad and Quinn’s third. Rist will be teaching gothic literature, capstone and travel writing.  In travel writing, Rist will teach students how to document their experiences and people they meet while abroad.

“It’s a special topics in travel writing, which will be great fun, I think,” Rist said.

Quinn will be teaching science in perspective, contemporary world issues: society in transition and botany and French cuisine. Quinn will be talking about how plants are grown and used, among other parts of French cuisine, especially bread.

Both professors are excited about the experience and their special topics classes, but the processes to get there have taken some work. Both professors had to make their case about why they wanted to go abroad in a proposal.

“In the proposal, we try to make a case for how these courses will be linked to the area and its culture and history, how the courses will encourage St. Edward’s students to explore and learn more about the area,” Rist said.

In the early spring, there is a call for proposals from the Office of International Education and the Associate Vice President of Global Initiatives, Bill Clabby. These applications are due by mid-March and are reviewed and chosen by the end of April.

From that point, “the Office of International Education begins to collaborate with faculty and partners abroad to create the international programs and determine budgets,” Clabby said.

At the beginning of the academic year, the Office of International Education and Marketing begin to market the programs using plans they created over the summer. 

Once Rist and Quinn found out that they were selected to go to Angers, they spoke to each other about their classes. The instructors were selected independently, and they did not collaborate and figure out a way in which their classes would coincide before the selection process.

The professors will be staying in apartments in Angers that the university leases year round for faculty. These apartments have a tradition their occupants uphold: every occupant leaves something that will make the apartments, in some way, better. Some prior occupants have added wine glasses, an extra set of sheets, outlet adapters and a coffee pot.  Rist does not know what she will add to the apartments, but she is on the lookout for something that will add to the experience for future St. Edward’s faculty.

Quinn knows what he wants to leave: French wine and an art piece that captures the spirit of the part of town they will be staying.

Because Quinn has taught in Angers before, he has had the opportunity to travel around Europe and hopes to be able to visit Bruges, Belgium again. 

Bruges, located in the northwest part of Belgium, known by many due to “In Belgium,” a film hated by locals, is a Venice-like city, with canals running through the city.

Quinn hopes to visit again the city again. 

“It is a medieval city that wasn’t bombed in World War II, and so it’s retained its’ historical character,” Quinn said.

Rist and Quinn also plan to take students to vineyards, distilleries and on hikes to enrich their cultural experience. 

Although the syllabi for the classes haven’t been finalized, Rist and Quinn are looking forward to teaching these classes.