You’re in your first year of university and you have picked out a favourite professor. You like their class, you like their teaching methods, and you seem to like them as a person too. But how much do you really know them?
First year university students often don’t have the closest relationships with their professors, due to large class sizes and not having to choose a major until later in their university career. To alleviate some of these unknowns, we interviewed professor Megan Woodworth, beloved arts academic advisor and professor to many first year students.
Woodworth attended school at UNB for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She honoured in English and history during her undergrad and carried on to major in English in her graduate degree. From there, she branched out to Exeter University in England for her PhD in English 18th century literature.
During her time at Exeter, she wrote her senior thesis which she later adapted into a book, entitled Eighteenth-Century Women Writers and the Gentlemen’s Liberation Movement. She stated that the original title was supposed to start with “Becoming gentlemen,” but her editor did not appreciate her play on words.
“These women writing in the 18th century realized that toxic masculinity was bad for everybody and holding them back,” Woodworth said. When asked why some of her current students might want to read her book, she responded, “Sometimes we don’t think about how long-standing these ideas are.”
Several of Woodworth’s students who didn’t know she had written a book said they would be very interested in reading it.
She originally attended grad school because it enabled her to read and write books as a job; this led her on to teaching. When Woodworth started teaching Arts 1000, a mandatory course for all UNB arts students, she realized how much she also enjoyed the advising role. When the Arts Department needed more academic advisors she didn’t hesitate to apply.
Woodworth said her favourite part of the job is “having funny conversation with students about interesting ideas.” This good-natured outlook is what her students love best about her: “[Megan] is an understanding professor for any situation you may be in,” said Makenzie Hinchey, a first year student.
“No matter what problem you have, you can count on her to try her best to help, or point you in the right direction.”