Photo credit:  Eliél Freer-Sullivan

Photo credit: Eliél Freer-Sullivan

Much of how I think about my academic life - research, teaching, and mentorship - is shaped by the arts. I think a lot about storytelling in particular.

I find myself continually returning to a moment from Moisés Kaufman's The Laramie Project in which Father Roger Schmit, speaking to members of the Tectonic Theatre Project, says:

I trust you people that if you write a play of this,
that you (pause) say it right, say it correct.
I think you have a responsibility to do that.

I first read The Laramie Project while writing my Bachelor's honors thesis, A Guided Tour - a social action theatre piece which mobilized the sociological and psychological theories taught in my coursework as a means of opening up dialogue about sexuality, trauma, and mental health.

The imperative to say it correct, given my position as someone who writes, has stuck with me and continues to inform my research, teaching, and mentorship.

As a researcher, I adhere to my doctrine through my drive for innovative research methods and clarity of writing, both of which push me to critically evaluate the knowledge claims I make and those I take for granted.
As an instructorsaying it correct means being thoughtful about both the content and presentation of each class session. I strive to accomplish this through consciously monitoring the accessibility of my teaching.
As a mentor, I work to both teach hard skills and model appropriate behavior for my mentees. Much of this modeling revolves around acknowledging and actively challenging systems of power (racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, ableism, etc.) as they manifest in the academy.

 

You can contact me via email at michael.patrick.vaughn@gmail.com