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Vocation Perspectives: Dr. Elizabeth Mackay

By Anna Mumma

Dr. Elizabeth Ann Mackay, an associate professor at the University of Dayton's English department, teaches courses in integrated humanities, Shakespeare, early Modern women writers and faith traditions, and popular fiction. With a focus on intersecting representations of early modern rhetorics and gender with a focus on 16th and 17th writers, she is working on a book project exploring early modern mother-daughter instructional relationships. Dr. Mackay also submitted a chapter for our upcoming vocation book. 

When I met with Dr. Mackay this summer we discussed her chapter proposal, her own understanding of vocation, and the advice she has during these trying times. Her chapter is a reflection of a recent classroom experience she shared with her students and the dialogue they had regarding vocation. She realized, through an open discussion during class time, that students and teachers can both benefit by learning about what vocation means and how to apply it. For her, vocation used to be part of a historical evolution yet, her students reminded her that vocation is so much more than that. Vocation is part of a “calling” with an understanding of one’s own talents. For Dr. Mackay, she has always felt called to be a teacher and her passions for English studies and humanities encourages her to become more and more involved. 

During a semester where professors are not in the classroom and students are not sitting at their desks, Dr. Mackay realizes the difficulty that many professors feel during this time. For Dr. Mackay, it has been beneficial to have a community of faculty who she can collaborate with regarding class structures, curriculum ideas, and remote options. Dr. Mackay also recommends students and professors have open dialogues and check in with each other. Ask questions like “is this working” and “do you want to try something different?” This is a new experience for all involved and therefore, we will feel best supported when we come together and have open conversations. 

We, the Vocation Implementation Team, hope you are able to take some time and listen to Dr. Mackay’s interview. With the uncertainty, stress, and world-wide changes that 2020 has brought, this is the time for students, faculty, and our greater University of Dayton community to come together. 

Click here to access the transcript. 

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