Sometimes, it seems like we’re all too busy, and with everything that needs to be done, it can be hard to slow down and take a break.
But that’s exactly what Catherine Agar, Keuka College’s writing center director, wants us to do. Each Tuesday during the fall semester, she’ll urge the College community to take a break, gather together, and listen as a short story is read aloud by a member of the College’s faculty.
The new program, called Wolf Tales, will be held during the College’s Wolf Pause, which runs from 12:30-1:30 p.m., in the lower level of Lightner Library. The series begins Tuesday, Sept. 3. All members of the College community, as well as the public, are invited to bring a lunch, sit back, and hear some of the faculty’s favorite stories.
The idea for this new program came about because Ms. Agar listens to audio books during her daily commute.
“I was struck by how different the experience is to hear a book than to read one,” says Ms. Agar, who believes both are valuable ways to read. “Even the same book is experienced very differently, depending on how you consume it. Reading it in print, one is more aware of the author’s word choices, the way sentences are put together, the connections. Hearing a book emphasizes the story, the drama, and the narrative momentum.”
First up in the series is College President Amy Storey, who will read “Jubilee” by Kirstin Valdez Quade. President Storey chose this story because she believes many of the issues faced by the main character may be timely and relevant to first-year students.
“I also think the story gives insight into what it means to be an immigrant in the United States today,” she says. “It is important to me that members of our College community can recognize bias in their own thinking and behavior, and that none of us is flawless. Our flaws and our faults are what make us uniquely and wonderfully human.”
When putting out the call for readers, Ms. Agar had hoped enough people would volunteer so that Wolf Tales could be offered every other week.
“But we had such a fantastic response that we are holding Wolf Tales every week,” she says. “That’s one of the things I love about this College. Faculty and administration really value reading, and they also really value the opportunity to connect with students in a fun, informal setting.”
That’s another goal Ms. Agar has for Wolf Tales – inspiring listeners to have fun.
“Nobody is being graded or evaluated, ideas and reactions are welcome, and listening to stories is a just a plain old good time,” says Ms. Agar. “I think it will be especially fun for administrators who don’t get to be in the classroom very much—or at all—and I hope students get to see some faces to put with names.”
President Storey is hoping that goes both ways, as she would like to get to know at least a few members of the incoming class through this experience.
By attending Wolf Tales, Ms. Agar says,a studentmight hear a professor read a story and decide to take a course with them, “or maybe a student and an administrator will discover a mutual passion for Edgar Allen Poe. You never know!”
A discussion session will follow the end of every story.
“It will be extremely informal, and no one is required to do anything except listen,” says Ms. Agar. “If they’d like to offer a thought, we’d love to hear it.”
In addition to President Storey, other members of the faculty and staff set to read during Wolf Tales include:
- Tuesday, Sept. 10—Dr. Jennie Joiner,chair of the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts and associate professor of English;
- Tuesday, Sept. 17—Dr. Steve Kapica, assistant professor of English and writing program director;
- Tuesday, Sept. 24—Cathy Reed, writing specialist and instructor of English;
- Tuesday, Oct. 1—Mark Wenderlich, professor of theatre;
- Tuesday Oct. 8—Enid Bryant, associate professor of communication studies;
- Tuesday, Oct. 15—Fall Break, no Wolf Tales;
- Tuesday, Oct. 22—Mark Petrie, vice president for enrollment management and student development;
- Tuesday, Oct. 29—Pam Jennings, writing specialist;
- Tuesday, Nov. 5—Bob Baumet, vice president of finance and administration;
- Tuesday, Nov. 12—Dr. Chris Alterio, chair of the Division of Occupational Therapy and associate professor of occupational therapy;
- Tuesday, Nov. 19—Dr. Brad Fuster, provost and vice president for academic affairs;
- Tuesday, Nov. 26—Dr. Peter Kozik, associate professor of education; and
- Tuesday, Dec. 3—Carole Lillis, assistant professor of humanities.