With BMC being a small college in a small community, people get to know one another and get used to seeing each other rather quickly, so it can be very exciting to see new faces. Alongside 2021 being the year in which BMC has had its highest attendance numbers in its history, it has also welcomed two new professors to its campus. As an English writing major, I was compelled to interview the new English professor, Dr. Connor Fisher, who has a BA in English, an MA in literary studies, an MFA in creative writing with emphasis on poetry, and a doctorate in English with an emphasis on creative writing.
Hailing from a rural area about forty-five minutes from Denver, Colorado, Dr. Fisher told me of his long, passionate academic pursuit of literature and writing starting in his last year of high school when he realized that something in the field was calling to him. “I somewhat naturally progressed to graduate school and, after that, I realized that I liked the field and I wanted to make something lasting out of it. I went to grad school on a whim—I didn’t have a job lined up and I thought, ‘I like taking classes, so I’ll stick with it.’ I got my MA and realized that there was something for me in this field. At that point, I didn’t know what…”
After gaining experience teaching composition at his Alma Mater, Dr. Fisher returned to being a student and obtained his MFA, which led to his chasing a PhD as well. From this, he learned of his interest in sharing poetry and literature with other people, and he noted that the best way for him to do that was in the classroom.
When I asked Dr. Fisher about how long it took him to obtain his degrees, I was shocked as he counted out how long each one took, all of them totaling up to thirteen years of schooling with one year taken as a gap year between obtaining his MA and MFA. However, he assured me that the process was anything but unpleasant.
“I loved going to school—I mean, of course I wanted to teach and wanted a job, but I never did it because I thought, ‘when I graduate I’ll have what I want!’ At every point I already had what I wanted. I was taking classes, I was working with incredible professors, so it was never a slough of ‘when I get that job, it’ll finally be worth it.’ ”
We also discussed what had drawn Dr. Fisher to Blue Mountain. He professed a love for the culture he found here in the south and, since he had been looking for places to move to as well as a place to work, he chose to stay here. BMC, he said, worked out perfectly for what he wanted to teach. “I wanted a program that would allow me to teach creative writing, ideally some literature courses. Here, I can teach creative writing; next semester I’m teaching Intro to Literature, so I’ll teach a mix of courses, which is good.”
Pulling away from academics, he also expressed a fondness for the culture he found on campus. “I wanted to work at a liberal arts college because of the emphasis on cultivating student relationships, small class sizes, liberal arts being a core part of the humanities… I’m a Christian in my personal beliefs and haven’t been at a Christian institution in a while, but was pleased to return to one too, so there can be explicit conversations about that in the classroom—not that people are hostile to it at any of the institutions I was at before, but it’s just not there and rather a sense that it isn’t relevant. It’s nice to see it more exclusively here.”