September 2005

Faculty Feature

Dr. Andrew Wisely

Not many people are lucky enough to have a career about which they are truly passionate, and even fewer find a profession in which they can combine multiple interests to create a very fulfilling and interesting work environment. Dr. Andrew Wisely, Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Russian and German at Baylor, is fortunate enough to have found both.

Dr. Wisely completed his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College and earned a Ph.D. in German Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He cited a certain undergraduate professor as being especially influential and encouraging to him throughout his endeavors to channel his interests. In turn, for the past three years he has been giving back to students through his work with the Honors College, preparing and presenting a series of seminars for juniors and seniors writing theses. In 2005, these proseminars were offered as voluntary meetings for juniors and seniors who were beginning their thesis research. The plan now is to make them a required part of the Honors 3100 and 3101 Independent Readings courses. Dr. Wisely says that the intention is to present five proseminars, once or twice a month on Thursday afternoons, covering the following topics:

1.What is a thesis?

2.Perspectives from Current Thesis Writers

3. Planning and Structuring the Thesis

4.Research Methods and Resources of the BaylorUniversity Libraries

5.Bibliographical Approaches

By making these meetings a required part of the Readings courses, Dr. Wisely hopes to alleviate scheduling conflicts and therefore allow all thesis-writing students to take advantage of these sessions. The idea is that through these seminars, students writing theses will feel more confident and empowered to write a well-structured, "achievable and mentorable" thesis.

During his years as a student, Dr. Wisely combined a lifelong love of literature with a keen interest in foreign languages. He discovered a passion for 19th and 20th-Century German literature and its cultural and intellectual implications, especially works from turn-of-the-century Austria and the writings of Arthur Schnitzler. Having published two books on the work of Schnitzler, he continues his own research, which he enjoys integrating into the classroom. According to Dr. Wisely, undergraduate research is beneficial because it teaches one how to write, accept criticism, and think critically by processing and reflecting on ideas instead of memorizing facts.

The most enjoyable aspects of teaching at Baylor for Dr. Wisely include seeing "the light come on" in students' eyes and working with others who, like him, see that their spiritual and intellectual lives complement one another. It is this sort of dedication to the exchange of ideas and knowledge that Dr. Wisely values most. His advice to students is to attend seminars and conferences like Scholars' Day, find a good advisor who is in tune to their needs, and gravitate towards instructors who are enthusiastic about what they are doing. You never know, he says, when you might find your interest piqued or discover a lifelong passion.