Dr. Jason Peters appointed as Parkander Chair
Augustana College has named Dr. Jason Peters as the Dorothy J. Parkander Chair in Literature, established in 2001 in honor of Dr. Dorothy Parkander ’46, professor emeritus of English. The chair appointment recognizes Peters for his academic accomplishments. Peters assumes the position from Dr. Don Erickson, who came to Augustana in 1965 and is retiring.
Peters began teaching in Augustana’s English department in 1996, just after Parkander retired from her 49-year teaching career. “It didn't take long for me to become aware of Professor Parkander’s reputation as an excellent lecturer, especially in Milton,” Peters said. “I think of her example every time I teach Paradise Lost.”
Peters’ teaching interests include British and American Romanticism, Catholic fiction, and environmental literature. In 2007 he published Wendell Berry: Life and Work (University Press of Kentucky), a collection of essays that illuminate Berry as a person and a scholar. He currently is working on a project on Owen Barfield, a British poet, author, philosopher and good friend of C.S. Lewis.
In the classroom Peters has established himself as primarily a lecturer. “It is important to me—as I'm sure it was to Professor Parkander—that the lecture be preserved, especially in an age of highly theorized pedagogy. It's a great honor to hold a chair bearing the name of one who lectured so well and so effectively,” he said.
In addition to teaching and writing, Peters spends time working at “Augie Acres,” a student-run garden located on campus. Peters established the garden with his friend and colleague Dr. Charles Mahaffey in the spring of 2009. It now provides food to the campus dining halls, community farmer’s markets and people in need.
Peters and Mahaffey also worked alongside students in renovating a home on 35th Street to reduce its ecological footprint. Local Culture House 1 now houses students who are committed to sustainable living. Many of the house’s sustainable features were purchased from local vendors, and current residents compost and maintain a small garden for their own use.
Peters takes his responsibility as a teacher seriously. “Each new group of students reminds me that something I say could change a person's mind. And once a mind changes, there's no telling what else might also change. To me that's a bit scary. We have to approach education with a proper dose of fear.”
For more information, contact Scott Cason at firstname.lastname@example.org or (309) 794-7323.