By Nicole Johnson, Guest Writer
After longtime chair David Esselstrom, Ph.D. stepped down from his position last year, the English department welcomed Windie Petrie, Ph.D. as the new chair and professor this semester. Petrie joins APU this fall after having served as a professor of English and adviser of a student-run literary magazine at Colorado Christian University.
Some of Petrie’s areas of expertise include Civil War to World War II American literature and nineteenth and early twentieth-century British literature. She holds a Doctorate and a Master of Arts in English from the University of Delaware and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Pepperdine University.
Petrie has attended and presented at the Christianity and Literature conference at APU for years, so she was familiar with the campus’ culture prior to her recent hire. She said she aims to strengthen the department and its effects on campus.
“[My goals are to] build synergy in the department, to build paths and processes that help those diverse energies not only reach out but also circle back strongly into the department, into our undergraduate program, and into our majors,” Petrie said.
Petrie said she loves the English department’s cross applicability and diversity.
“Our English faculty is large and diverse, and their energies and gifts extend into other disciplines and programs and organizations across APU,” she said.
She said she already feels at home in the department, as the thoughtfulness and enthusiasm of APU’s English majors remind her of her former students at Colorado Christian.
Senior English major Maggie Dumphy said she looks forward to what Petrie has to offer the department this year.
“It is great hearing that a woman is now in the chair position and I am excited to see the things Dr. Petrie is going to do,” Dumphy said.
Assistant professor of English Kristen Sipper-Denlinger, Ph.D. said she thinks Petrie will succeed in her role and better the department, especially in its effort to make its students employable.
“[We want to] make the English department more marketable because there is so much you can do with an English degree,” Sipper-Denlinger said.