Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Renate W. Prescott, Associate Professor of English
“I tell my students that they should be in school to learn and that learning will change them,” she explains. “Although I understand they go to school to get good jobs, for me, that’s putting the cart before the horse. If students instead come to school first to learn — to become intellectual, to become good thinkers — the good job will come.”
Dr. Prescott argues that academic subjects are not compartmentalized but are organically connected. “That’s the art of a liberal education and the humanities. Each book I read turns me into a detective. Reading literature compels me to read history, culture, art, philosophy, and even the sciences to fully understand the novel, the author, and the milieu in which it was written. Education, therefore, means to me a ‘liberal' education, meaning gaining and appreciating knowledge for its own sake. I am a big proponent of studying the humanities, which reaches broadly across disciplines to understand what it means to be human, another component of liberal education.”
Her personal experienced birthed her passion for the liberal arts. “I never took education for granted,” Dr. Prescott says. “For me, going to school was a privilege, not a right. I received my education the hard way, having to work, rear a child, and study simultaneously, so I learned how to manage my responsibilities. My professors taught me the joy of learning. I advise my students that when they walk into the classroom, everything else should disappear. Focus on that course only and let the world fall away.“
Dr. Prescott began her education at a two-year college then transferred to a much larger university because the two-year school was close to her home, and it was more affordable than four-year university tuition. “Kent State Geauga offers the same opportunities to working students, students with families, and students who need the financial safety net,” Dr. Prescott says.
“But more important, our classes are small, our professors are well-educated and consistent, and we offer a friendly and secure atmosphere in which to learn. Because we are small, we know one another well. After two years, most students are prepared to step into the larger university experience. We are also tough; there is no point in under-preparing our students, and it would reflect poorly on our school. It is our responsibility to ensure that Kent State Geauga students transfer to their university campus successfully. We take our mission seriously."
Dr. Prescott’s delivers her mission through reading literature and practicing writing so students can learn about themselves and the interconnectedness of various topics. “I like to discuss culture and history, and I show them art and discuss philosophy — subjects that deepen their understanding of the age in which the novel was written.”
Foremost, Dr. Prescott teaches her students that learning is a lifelong experience. “The classroom experience is only the beginning. I teach them how to learn and enjoy being curious about something they have never considered before. To my way of thinking, a classroom is only a place that introduces a subject. After the course is finished, if they have paid attention, students have the tools and inspiration to continue on their own.”