Hendrix-Murphy Programs in Literature and Language

Transitions 2012-2013

Transitions: A Student/Faculty-Guided Reading and Writing Seminar

 Spring Semester 2013

“Transitions” extends the paths students began with "Journeys" and "Explorations,” courses in their first semester. This senior- and junior-level course anticipates the transition from college to graduate and professional schools, careers, and other positions of intellectually rigorous leadership.

As a culminating educational experience, “Transitions” is also an enjoyable and stimulating exercise of skills acquired at Hendrix College. Four faculty members and up to 16 students with majors in any field read, study, discuss, and write about eight works of contemporary literature, music, and/or drama.

Faculty select four works, and four teams of students each select another work to teach the entire class--including faculty--with the guidance of a faculty mentor. A faculty mentor will work with each team to present the work to the class. The class meets in the Murphy house Seminar Room during the spring semester from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays.

Following are lists of works taught by faculty including information about why they're teaching these works and about their other interests. A course syllabus may be downloaded here.

 Dr. West in Murphy BuildingDr. Carol West, “Transitions” Coordinator and Professor of English 

The Best Day the Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon by Donald Hall

Dr. West's academic interests: African literature and film, 19th-century British novels, crime literature and film, post-colonial literature and theory, medieval British literature.

Dr. West's other interests: travel, pets, film, book-collecting, reading memoirs.

 MaslinDr. Kim Maslin, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations

  Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf


Dr. Maslin's academic interests

Dr. Maslin's other interests

 Dr. Vernon in Murphy BuildingDr. Alex Vernon, Associate Professor of English 


The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier

Dr. Vernon’s academic interests: 20th century American literature, American studies, war literature, American literature and the environment, Hemingway, Vietnam, Tarzan studies, writing.

Dr. Vernon’s other interests: family, friends, dogs, film, eating (and cooking as required), travel, reading, writing, and exercise.


Dr. Sutherland in the Murphy library Dr. Mark Sutherland, Professor of Biology

Living in the Shadow of Death: Tuberculosis and the Social Experience of Illness in American History by Sheila M. Rothman

Dr. Sutherland's academic interests: I am an Immunologist by specialty, a Microbiologist by training and a Cell Biologist by necessity. I’ve been a member of the Biology Department for 21 years. I have also taught Journeys and have broad interests in history, classics, music and theater.

Dr. Sutherland's other interests: My passions are numerous. I sing with two choirs, play basketball on a regular basis, read widely (especially history, science fiction/fantasy, biography), hike, and shoot nature photographs.