Profile: ASU West Professor Joins Fight Against Prop. 305

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Arizona State University English professor Sharon Kirsch has been teaching for 27 years and still feels the same passion she felt since her first day as a teacher.

 She was recently involved in the fight against Proposition 305, a ballot initiative asking voters if they want to maintain or eliminate Arizona’s school voucher-style program.

 “From the day I walked into the classroom, I knew it was what I wanted to do,” she said.

 Kirsch teaches at ASU’s West campus, where she works with students  majoring in English and planning to teach the subject in the future.

  “I love teaching,” she said. “I love talking to my students about using pieces of literature that challenge how we think and how we understand ourselves in the world.”

 Kirsch graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where she double majored in English and philosophy.

 She said she did not go into college planning on becoming an English professor. However, she eventually took an American Literature class taught by a professor who positively influenced her teaching career.

 “He opened up whole new worlds to me,” Kirsch said. “It wasn’t just the content of what we read but it was also how he taught and connected us to things that we were reading and helped us understand ourselves as part of a bigger narrative.”

 When she is not teaching English, Kirsch also works as an honors advisor for ASU’s Barrett, the Honors College at the West Campus.

 “Her students have gone on to do quite well,” said Eric Ramsey, Barrett’s associate dean at West.  “They’ve earned scholarships and fellowships in graduate school.”

 One of Kirsch’s former students, Kyren Hunt, is now a high school English teacher and says she became a teacher because of Kirsch.

 “The neat thing about Dr. Kirsch is that she’s always willing to improve as an instructor and always trying new things,” said Hunt.

 Hunt described her former professor’s passion as “contagious” because she developed the same passion for teaching. Now that she has her own students, her goal is to help them understand that their voice is important. She wants others to realize how important language is and how it can empower individuals.

 “I want my students to love language the way Dr. Kirsch taught me to love language,” said Hunt.

 It is now Kirsch’s 10th year teaching English at ASU’s West campus and she shows her passion for quality education not just inside the classroom but outside as well.

  “I feel very fortunate to have a job that I love because that is certainly not the experience everybody has,” added Kirsch.

Sources:

Sharon Kirsch – 602-543-6049

Eric Ramsey –480-398-6985

Kyren Hunt – 480-205-3389

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