Patricia English, an Associate Professor in the Communication Studies Department, is currently celebrating her eighteenth year teaching at Gustavus. Well-beloved on the Hill, she is known among her dear colleagues and students as Patty.
On campus, Patty teaches Intercultural, Interpersonal, and Small-group Communication and her studies focus on Intercultural Communication and Performance studies.
Patty considers herself a curious person, always eager to learn about new cultures and people’s transitional experiences from culture to culture.
Not only is she well-known on campus, she is also widely published in her field.
Her publications include: Understanding Imperfection: Embracing Wabi-Sabi. (Essay under review for a proposed book on autoethnography and culture edited by Jodi Kaufman, University of Georgia, April 2003; American Women’s Experience of being Foreign in Japan: A Qualitative Study. (Under review Women’s Studies in Communication); An American in Japan: Performing the Matsuri Dance. (Under review The Journal of Creative Non-Fiction).
Patty has also given several professional presentations at the National Communication Association Annual Convention, and led multiple groups of students to Asian countries for J-Term. She said she, “aspires to nurture her students’ curiosity and uniqueness as much as [she] can.
In the classroom, Patty cares about students as unique individuals. “I try to facilitate a diverse range of learning styles to meet every student’s need,” Patty said.
According to Senior Communication Studies Major Nicole Lunberg, Patty “cares a lot about her students and understands their situations. Patty is always with her students and provides the best accommodations for the students’ benefits.”
“Professor English is always with her students and provide the best accommodations for the students’ benefits.”
– Senior Nicole Lundberg
Patty shared that she believes that it is important for students to learn to know themselves. “They should first and foremost know who they are and what they need in order to succeed,” Patty said.
Outside of the classroom, Patty maintains close relationships with her students as both a mentor and adviser. She said she loves to help her students in navigating their studies and observing their maturation over their years at Gustavus.
One of her favorite memories at Gustavus is seeing her students at graduation. “Watching them going towards a new beginning gives me a sense of secondary accomplishment,” Patty said.
Lunberg has taken several classes with Patty and considers her not only a professor and adviser, but also a close friend.
Lunberg shared that Patty is “always ready to talk her students, not only about classes but also about any problem at all.”
“Patty is warm, welcoming and understanding. I have known Patty for two and a half years, since I’ve been at the Gustavus. Having her as a professor as well as a personal mentor has been amazing. She is one of the best people to go to for advice or just to talk about life because she cares so deeply about her students.”
-Senior Nicole Lundberg
As Patty’s field of study encompasses various aspects of life, she is willing to discuss and apply her insights to help students solve real-life problems.
As she does this, she also learns about their uniqueness and culture. Because of this, she considers her bond with students a “mutual learning relationship.”
Patty feels honored to be nominated as the Gustie of the Week and would like to take an opportunity to offer advice to new students coming from a different culture.
“One thing I would suggest is to be aware of the transitioning process that you are going through and be open-minded,” Patty said.
She explained that keeping an open mind will help students’ adaptation process to a new culture.
This year, Patty will lead a new group to study abroad in Vietnam and Cambodia. She said that any Gusties with an interest in studying and experiencing new cultures are welcomed to join the trip.
Professor English’s expertise in intercultural relations, vivacious personality, and driven nature make her an influential and respected individual on the Gustavus campus.