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The distinctive character of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is defined by the faculty's demonstrated capability to fulfill the values of the Teacher-Scholar Philosophy; a philosophy guided by a serious and continuing commitment to teaching, scholarship and service in the belief that scholarship complements and enriches excellence in teaching and service.

Adapted from the Teacher-Scholar Philosophy of SIUE, Teacher-Scholar Philosophy Working Group, 6/2/08

Dr. Howard Rambsy, II

Assistant Professor, English Language and Literature and
Director of Black Studies Program

Research Focus:
Modern African American Literature

Race, representation, and technology
Textual scholarship

Dr. Howard Rambsy

Recent Honors / Awards / Recognition:

Recipient, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Career Enhancement Fellowship, 2007-2008

Salute to Excellence in Education Award (The St. Louis American), 2006.

Manuscript, Liberating Designs: The Production of Black Arts Poetry (forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press).

Primary Courses Taught:

Introduction to African American texts

Movements in African American literature 

Studies in fiction


Ph.D. in English, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 2004

B.A. in English and History, Tougaloo College, Jackson, MS, 1999

How does SIUE support your professional growth or activity as a Teacher-Scholar?
"My colleagues in the department of English, Language, and Literature have been especially encouraging and supportive of my efforts to incorporate my research interests into the courses that I teach."

"But what also stands out to me with regards to the idea of a “teacher-scholar” approach at SIUE relates to the many pedagogical and intellectual processes that have occurred beyond the conventional realms of classroom and scholarly contexts. For instance, my work with the wonderful photographs from the Eugene B. Redmond collection allowed me to curate visual literary exhibits at SIUE as well as in Virginia, Alabama, and Ibadan, Nigeria. My programming activities with the Black Studies Program has made it possible for me to participate in a number of exciting outreach projects, and involvement with the University’s Student Opportunities for Academic Results (S.O.A.R) program has given me the chance to work with large numbers of African American students. Taken together, these activities and projects have allowed me to usefully blur the lines between my identities as a teacher, scholar, and active citizen."

What is a unique aspect of your professional life that enhances your service to the academic or greater community?
"Two years ago, I created a project known as the “Poetry Correspondence Program,” where a group of my SIUE undergraduates sent letters discussing African American poetry to about 25 students at a local high school. Since that time, the program has grown, and my college students now send letters and postcards focusing on poetry to more than 200 students at middle schools and high schools in Alton, East St. Louis, and St. Louis. Facilitating conversations about African American poetry between a range of students has been quite fulfilling."

How has one mentor or event shaped your career decision to become a university professor?
"Inspiration to become a university professor came from multiple sources, too many to name and too important to limit to one. So for now, I will mention two. On the one hand, I recall one of my professors taking the time to sit and talk with me for hours about fascinating ideas. In retrospect, those early conversations were central to prompting my interest in becoming a professor.  At the same time, one of my teachers, who was close to my age, was pursing her Ph.D. while I was in her class.  She was both cool and scholarly and provided me with motivating blueprints for what was possible."
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