English Professor’s Varied Interests Help Connect with Students

Posted: April 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Brent Gerlach


It’s not everyday that a student has the luxury to learn about a professor he or she admires.  Walking into an office with a poster of The Clash hung on the wall, surrounded by novels and plays by literary legends like Shakespeare, Homer, and Dante, one vacant chair sits next to Rachel Poulsen’s desk.

The first question was simple: What do you do at Edgewood?

She laughed, alluding that it was a lot, and then began an expansive list of organizations and committees she is involved with: Assessment and Program Evaluation Committee, Edgewood College Honors Program, General Education Implementation Subcommittee on the Arts, Women’s and Gender Studies Curriculum Committee and the non-profit art collaborative GESWERK.

It’s not just what Rachel does that makes her so impressive.  Poulsen welcomes different ideas and encourages students to think outside the canon of academia; promoting progressive education.  Not only that, her flexibility and patience are an essential part of her teaching style.  Her methods are effective: She wants her students to learn the material and they do.

Rachel’s refined and well-received teaching method is the result of over fourteen years of higher education.  This has also led her develop a knack for making sense of things.  She takes complicated concepts found in literature and connects them to familiar ideas that are easily understood by students.

Education: M.A. and Ph.D. at Loyola University Chicago; she specialized in early modern literature and culture, specifically Renaissance drama.

Taught at Loyola University, New York University, Hunter College of the City University of New York, and University of Illinois –Chicago before coming to Edgewood in 2006.

Favorite Book: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan but her favorite changes monthly.

Favorite Restaurant: Ha Long Bay.  Vietnamese cuisine at a fair price.

Funny Fact: She has a few soul music playlists made up entirely of soul food titled tracks.

Enjoys: Cooking and walking her dog, Zelda.  And jellybeans.


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