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Former student makes the transition to professor

Of all the things that make Eastern proud, welcoming back one of its own is really something that makes the school hold its head high.

That is why there is a buzz everywhere about Eastern graduate, Dr. Christine Bayles Kortsch, who is now a new faculty member in the English Department, where she is teaching British literature.

“I live in the area and have good memories of Eastern from being an undergraduate here,” Kortsch said. “When I heard Eastern needed a part-time English professor, I was thrilled.”

Before coming back to Eastern, Kortsch was completing her Ph.D. in English with a specialty in Victorian literature.

She says she always loved to read when she was a child and decided to be an English major in high school.

And she seems to like her change of role from student to faculty.

“It is a bit strange to be faculty, but I really love Eastern and the people here, so it’s been fun,” she said.

As for what her students think of her, Kortsch really didn’t know.

“I hope my students enjoy my classes; I certainly enjoy getting to know them,” she said.

Students, however, know what they think about her.

“She is very passionate about what she teaches, and she gets so excited you can’t help but get excited too,” first-year Amanda Schlick, currently taking British Literature II, said. “She’s engaging, and I like it.”

Dean of Arts and Sciences Betsy Morgan, agreed.

“A number of students come to me and tell me they love her,” she said.

Kortsch took a number of courses from Morgan when she was still a student here and was also mentored by Morgan.

“We are very proud of her and followed her all throughout graduate school,” Morgan said.

Morgan said the two still share books in post-colonial fiction, as both are interested in post-colonial women’s studies.

Kortsch has many people she considers to be inspirations in her life. Among them are Thomas Merton, Nelson Mandela, a Quichua woman named Laura she met in Ecuador, Madeleine L’Engle and a literary scholar named Ann Ardis.

However, she did not forget to mention that her family and husband are the ones who inspire her the most, because “they live out a commitment to social action and love in a humble, quiet way,” she said.

Through it all, God plays a major role in her life.

“My relationship with God sustains me and guides my decisions,” she said. “I find a lot of clarity when I’m in nature, because then I see the awesome power of God, and I recognize the small yet important role He has given me to play. That’s something that continues to amaze me-how God holds the vast stretches of starry space, and the tiniest sparrow in the field.”

Kortsch has some advice for students who are still not sure what they want to do with their lives.

“Just keep your feet moving. You never know what surprises are around the bend,” she said. “Sitting in the dark trying to iron out a plan usually leads to frustration. I believe God meets us along the way, and that He is with us in each step. So take a risk, make the best decision you can, and move.”

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