Slaymaker to retire in December


Melissa Norris, Staff Writer

Dr. William Slaymaker has taught at Wayne State College for 25 years, but he will be retiring and moving back to his home state of Indiana at the end of the semester.

Many considerations influenced his decision to retire, one of which was his age. Slaymaker, a Hoosier at heart, and his wife own a house in Indiana and decided to move back to the place they call home.

Slaymaker received his B.A. at Western Michigan University in English and German with a minor in Russian. He completed his M.A. in Comparative Literature as well as his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a minor in German and Philosophy at Indiana University-Bloomington.

He has worked for a variety of institutions, including Wiley High School of Terre Haute, Ind., the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Kentucky’s University of Louisville and Midway College before finally finding a place here at WSC.

Slaymaker has taught a variety of courses over his time here in Wayne, including The Bible as Literature, Literary Theory, Nature and Environmental Writing, World Literature, Environmental Ethics and Introduction to World Philosophy.

“Bible as Literature has always been one of my favorites, and recently Topics [in Literature] where I focused on environmental and nature writing,” Slaymaker said.

Throughout his tenure here, Slaymaker has had many learning and teaching grants and awards presented to him.

He received several instructional grants for literary theory and philosophy studies in places such as Nigeria and Kenya, as well as paid Sabbatical leaves for him to study and research environmental topics at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Bloomington, Ind.

He was awarded the Balsey-Whitmore Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005-06.

The best aspect of working at WSC was the support he has received from the administration and his fellow faculty members.

“The people I worked with were very supportive. It made life good and easy,” Slaymaker said.

A lifelong learner, what interests Slaymaker the most about teaching is the student interaction and the discoveries made in the classroom.

“There are discoveries all the time, in every class, and that is what makes teaching for me always interesting,” Slaymaker said.

One such memorable discovery came from a literary approaches and theory class in which Slaymaker encouraged students to come up with their own literary approach. One student rose to the challenge.

“I used to challenge students to come up with a different approach. One student came up with one—disability studies as an approach. Now I can google it and many books will pop up, but it was new at the time,” Slaymaker said.

However there will be aspects of teaching he’s looking forward to leaving behind with his retirement. One of them: grading papers.

“That’s what I will enjoy the most, not having the burden and responsibility to grade student papers. I’ve taught at a vast array of institutions, taught thousands of students, and graded thousands and thousands of papers,” Slaymaker said.

Slaymaker’s years as an educator have been very rewarding.

“It’s the piles of papers that make teaching a chore. Every other aspect is interesting and innovating, the preparation and presentations. There is something new to learn all the time. I’m always learning,” Slaymaker said.

A retirement reception will be held for Slaymaker Nov. 21 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Humanities lounge. He encourages community members of both the college and the city of Wayne to come.

“A formal/informal goodbye is a good thing to do. It’s good to make it final and official,” Slaymaker said.