Kalli Jo Wacker, 2016 Northwestern alumni, has accepted a new position on campus serving as the assistant professor of English and Writing for fall 2022. Her current position at NW, artist-in-residence, has prepared her for her new role as she has formed a better understanding of what it means to be a Raider.
“To put it simply, I believe in NW and what it seeks to achieve for our students and broader culture through integrating faith and learning,” said Wacker. “My current job is a testament to how much NW helped develop a desire for innovation and creative approaches to learning.”
In the fall, Dr. Wacker will be teaching First-Year Seminar, News Writing and Editing and Literature and Film, a class that studies Disney’s adaptions of literary works, historical aspects and their action films.
“The most rewarding experience has been the welcoming nature of the specific departments I’m associated with– art, communications and English– but also the larger welcome of this institution,” said Wacker. “Just yesterday, my art history students presented a multimodal research project at the Celebration of Research, and I can’t even begin to describe how exciting it was to see the collaborative work of 17 students all come together in a single display of scholarship.”
Dr. Wacker was originally drawn to NW so that she could figure out what God wanted to do with her life. Her obsession with reading books, eating cheerios and listening to Christmas music led her to believe that there was more to this life than her hobbies. Her time at NW consisted of majoring in journalism and art, with a minor in graphic design.
Clara Pahl, an English, and psychology major, can’t contain her excitement for Dr. Wacker to join the English department as a staff member. An illustration of her excitement can be summed up in a few words spoken by Pahl. She said, “I got to meet with Kali Jo Wacker before her job offer. I was grateful to talk with her, understand what she is all about and what she will bring to the English Department this fall. She is a versatile artist and writer— in general, a phenomenal person. Her creativity and passion for learning will take the English department to new heights.”
Pahl mentioned that with the addition of Dr. Wacker as an English professor, the English department can finally become what it was supposed to be all along. There is a stigma that goes around being an English major that emphasizes in the lack of job opportunities with this field. Pahl, being an English major, shared how “English is not only a major of reading and writing, but one of pure knowledge, and complements any major well.”
“In truth, the humanities and arts, at the very least, can give what other majors cannot: communication skills and greater emotional intelligence,” said Pahl.
She went on saying how Keith Fynaardt’s vision, along with other faculty members like Chris Nonhof, have helped saved this major/program because of the importance of practicalities, humanities and art.
Dr. Wacker will be a great addition to the English department and will serve this community well. NW is privileged to see how Dr. Wacker has come full circle from being a student at NW to becoming a professor in the English department, who taught her the foundation of her knowledge of English.