When it comes to teaching, some professors are never satisfied to rest on their laurels. Even though they’ve been teaching successful courses to students who admire and respect them, they keep experimenting with new topics and new approaches. What’s more, they raise the level of the other professors around them, by developing programs to promote teaching excellence in all departments.
Martin Gliserman is one of those professors. A practicing psychoanalyst, he teaches Rutgers English courses on literature and psychology, psychoanalytic theory, and lately, on a new linguistic approach to literary texts. As Director of the Livingston College Writing Program from 1977 to 1984, he pioneered new approaches to writing courses there, and as Director of the Livingston Honors Program from 1987 to 1994, he greatly expanded the scope and range of honors options for students. He also serves on the University Faculty Teaching Committee, and since 1996, he has been the driving force behind organizing the Undergraduate Teaching Conference, a full day of presentations and discussions for all professors at Rutgers. Professor Gliserman was honored for his work with the FAS Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education for 2006, the highest teaching award given to Rutgers faculty holding the rank of Associate Professor.
Professor Gliserman is also part of a wider community of scholars trying to bring literary and therapeutic approaches together. From 1987 to 2002 he was Editor in Chief of American Imago, the distinguished journal founded in 1939 by Sigmund Freud, which focuses on making connections between psychoanalysis and culture. He recently developed and taught a course on “Literature and Trauma” at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, as a pilot for a statewide program of literary studies designed to help health care professionals in their work.
At Rutgers, Professor Gliserman has a reputation as an engaging and challenging teacher. Student evaluations for Professor Gliserman’s courses are extremely positive, describing him as “awesome,” “fantastic,” “refreshing,” “fabulous,” “very kind,” and even, “perfect.” One of his usual assignments involves asking students to keep a log of the course – detailed written responses to the readings, submitted at least once a week – then using log entries as a basis for further discussion and writing. In fact, he once taught an innovative course at Livingston that required students to complete a journal entry once a week for a full four years, which fifteen students completed.
His current teaching and his current scholarly work focus on “corpus linguistics,” an approach to literature that includes statistical analysis of the frequency with which categories of words appear. By using computers to map patterns of particular words in texts, corpus linguistics can help literary scholars look for new connections in literature that are often subtle and insightful. Students have already participated in a course on the nineteenth-century novel using this approach, and called it “eye-opening” and “mind-blowing.”
It wouldn’t take a computer, though, to connect the terms “outstanding,” “innovative,” and “community-minded” to “Professor Martin Gliserman.” Rutgers English congratulates him on earning this well-deserved award.
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