English department chair hopes to advocate for faculty

Donna Potts wants faculty to design their course the way they want

Donna+Potts%2C+newly+appointed+chair+of+WSU%E2%80%99s+English+department%2C+points+out+the+challenges+in+her+new+position+in+Avery+Hall+on+Tuesday.+
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English department chair hopes to advocate for faculty

Donna Potts, newly appointed chair of WSU’s English department, points out the challenges in her new position in Avery Hall on Tuesday.

Donna Potts, newly appointed chair of WSU’s English department, points out the challenges in her new position in Avery Hall on Tuesday.

JOSEPH GARDNER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Donna Potts, newly appointed chair of WSU’s English department, points out the challenges in her new position in Avery Hall on Tuesday.

JOSEPH GARDNER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

JOSEPH GARDNER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Donna Potts, newly appointed chair of WSU’s English department, points out the challenges in her new position in Avery Hall on Tuesday.

KURIA POUNDS, Evergreen reporter

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WSU English professor Donna Potts was selected to serve as chair of the English department in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Potts said she was encouraged by Ashley Boyd, assistant professor in the English department, to run for the open position because of her commitment to the department.

“I’m excited to see how [Potts] will lead us as we transition to include other degree programs (such as women’s, gender and sexuality studies) and welcome new faculty members,” Boyd said in an email.

Potts said she received a call during finals week last semester and was offered the job.

She had to fly out of Pullman to get to Washington D.C. the same day she was supposed to start her job. It was difficult for her to attend to all her responsibilities, she said, but everything worked out in her favor.

“Because we also have Tri-Cities and Vancouver, I’m having meetings with Tri-Cities faculty,” Potts said. “That is the most challenging thing of being a department chair: you have these other campuses.”

She said she wants the faculty in the department to have a voice and be able to design their course the way they want to. However, some courses, like English 101, already have a structured curriculum.

“I consider myself an advocate for the faculty. I represent the faculty,” Potts said. “What I’m trying to do is to have a committee of faculty that is advisory, so that it’s not me from top down, reviewing people.”

She said she meets with faculty members to see where their vision of the department is at and find out if they need help in terms of their teaching and research.

“The faculty should have a voice,” Potts said.

The headline has been updated to reflect the correct title for Donna Potts’s new position.