#FacultyFriday: Morlier’s belief in liberal arts education pays off – for her and her students

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Dr. Peggy Morlier

When Dr. Peggy Morlier came to Reinhardt in Fall 2000, her background made her a perfect fit for an open position.

“I had worked at large research universities, but I was looking for a smaller, liberal arts university,” said Morlier. “I wanted students to learn how traditional liberal arts knowledge can help them succeed in the 21st century.”

At the time, Reinhardt needed a faculty member who specialized in 17th century poet John Milton or 19th century British literature. Morlier completed her master’s thesis at the University of New Orleans on Milton and her dissertation at the University of Tennessee on 19th century British poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

“When I interviewed here, I was especially impressed with the strong writing program and the attention to alternative learning styles in the Academic Support Office.”

In almost 20 years at Reinhardt, Morlier has served in many different roles including director of the Honors Program, faculty senate chair and now the associate dean of academic services and graduate studies. As associate dean, she coordinates meetings for directors and discusses problems and plan initiatives to improve student achievement, along with updating academic policies and manuals.

As a professor of English, Morlier especially enjoys teaching students to write, reading their ideas, seeing their accomplishments and watching them grow professionally.

“My courses require reading and writing about challenging, university-level texts, like the ancient philosopher Plato or the 19th century poet Wordsworth. I tell students to respond with respect but not gullibility to these readings.”

Morlier believes in the importance of reading comprehension and writing skills, as they apply to many professions and life experiences.

“Literature can teach us many things about ethics, morality and the goodness of God.”

In an attempt to relate to students, Morlier once made “Star Trek” references in her Milton course. While her Vulcan hand greeting failed to be recognized, it opened the door to a translation of Star Trek and “Harry Potter” allusions across generations.

“I am happy to say that students in that class have gone on to very successful careers. For example, one is completing a Ph.D. in English, a second is a practicing attorney and a third is a manager with a nonprofit agency. I’m not sure if it was Milton, ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Harry Potter’ or Captain Reinhardt, but something special happened in that class.”

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