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Professor Profile: Nathan Shank

Nathan Shank is an English professor at Oklahoma Christian University. An experienced educator, Shank has the unique ability to connect to his students and pour into them both personally and academically.

His intellect in the English language and literature has made him a go-to professor for students wanting to study English literature and writing.

Where did you study your undergrad?

I went to Harding. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

What made you want to pursue being a professor?

I had some wonderful high school teachers that captured my imagination for language and literature. I also memorized a lot of poetry that kept meaningful words present in my mind. It wasn’t until my first day of teaching that I knew for sure that I wanted to teach. I love stringing together lessons that move students from one thought to the next, becoming more critical thinkers. To quote David Foster Wallace, “The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties.”

What was your dissertation over?

 I studied how in postwar American literature, characters’ minds are sometimes strategically underrepresented. I looked specifically at mental representation of characters in novels that deal with trauma. So, after a traumatic event, like rape, a character’s mind might be represented in a different, diminished way as a strategy for expressing the severity of that trauma.

What is your favorite class to teach?

 Advanced Writing is my favorite class. We get to explore techniques that go beyond basic competency, to the level of how to precipitate particular emotions in the reader.

What has been your favorite part about being a professor at Oklahoma Christian?

 The students at OC are definitely the best part of teaching. They care; they engage; they succeed.

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