April 2005

Workman Honored for Outstanding Teaching

"...Workman's passion for literature began when he was a student. 'I loved learning and sharing literature, 'Workman said. 'I knew I wanted to teach as a student. To some extent I could, by sharing with other students, but it has been a deeper experience to devote a life to it'..."

by Lauren Welty

Since 1967, English professor Charles Workman has impressed his passion for literature upon his students. Now, 38 years later, his efforts are recognized in his selection for the second annual Howard College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award.

"A committee of faculty members awarded it out of an expression of grace," Workman said. "I was

  Charles Workman
very much surprised. There are so many really outstanding faculty members here around me, and there are so many that might have received it. There are many who are strong examples of dedication and good teaching."

Workman's passion for literature began when he was a student. "I loved learning and sharing literature," Workman said. "I knew I wanted to teach as a student. To some extent I could, by sharing with other students, but it has been a deeper experience to devote a life to it."

His love for literature continues today. He said that one of the things that makes his classes different is the type of relationship that he establishes with the students. "My goal is to establish the kind of rapport with students that will serve to challenge them and give them a sense of dedication and a love for the type of learning that is taking place," Workman said.

Workman served as chair of the Department of English at Samford from 1983 until 1992. In addition to teaching at Samford, he teaches senior adult Bible classes at Huffman Baptist Church. After teaching for almost 40 years, retirement isn't too far away. However, Workman said that leaving behind his life of teaching may be a difficult task. "It will be very hard to leave," he said. "I have to find something comparable to fill my days and I'm not sure what that will be, other than part-time teaching."

Arts and Sciences faculty and senior students nominated Workman, and a committee of eight faculty then selected the recipient.

"We look for an influence upon students, a teacher's ability to teach," said Dennis Sansom, committee chairman and chair of Samford's Department of Philosophy. "It is not just given to a good colleague or scholar, but to someone who has really significant impact upon students in class."

Sansom said the committee, students and faculty saw Workman's love for what he teaches in addition to his dedication to Samford and his influence on the campus.

Sansom's son, Stephen, an English and classics major, had Workman as professor for Romantic Literature. "He really encouraged us as students to try to understand the feeling behind the words," the younger Sansom said of his professor. "He has a contagious love for literature."

Article adapted from the Samford Crimson courtesy of the author and the Crimson

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July 29-August 7, 2005

The date to register for Samford's Birmingham to Birmingham Baptist Heritage Tour has been extended until April 20, 2005. Visit the website or call Billy Ivey, (205)-726-2483 for an itinerary and trip details.