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AU Q&A – Dr. Joyce Wood

Dr. Joyce Wood is a retired history professor who started teaching at Anderson University in 1982. Dr. Wood, who retired in 2019, is the author of Anderson University from The Campus History Series (Arcadia Publishing 2011.)

How did you come to serve at Anderson University?

Peggy Kelly, the wife of biology professor Robin Kelly, taught choral music at Westside High School, the same school in which I was teaching social studies here in Anderson, South Carolina. She stopped me one day and mentioned that there was a teaching position open in the history department at Anderson University and suggested I send a résumé to apply for the position. I did so and never had a response. A couple of years later I was in Salt Lake City, Utah, doing some research during the summer break and received a phone call from Pat Mulligan, chair of the history department at Anderson University. She invited me to interview for another history teaching position that had come open after the passing of long-time history professor Henry von Hasseln. I did so, was offered the position and began teaching there in August, 1982.

What did you teach?

I was a member of the history faculty. With a three-person faculty, we divided up the areas and time periods: the courses I taught were largely modern European and world history. I also had the opportunity to teach other types of courses such as cross-cultural studies, which met the international studies graduation requirement for a time, and a course on the history of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

Why did you choose to work at Anderson University instead of another institution?

The opportunity to teach at AU was very much a gift from the Lord and part of His calling for my life. It was more than just a job, however; the wonderful students, staff and colleagues that made up Anderson University are truly an extended family.

What’s the most memorable thing that happened to you at Anderson University?

It is hard to select just one event from over 37 years, but the encouragement and support provided by this extended family are a large part of the reason for any success I might have enjoyed. Of particular note was the Michael Boles Excellence in Teaching Award I received in 1998.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your experiences at Anderson University?

This same support was very much appreciated as I went through the nine-year process of earning a Ph.D., completing it in 2000. Also, I credit the quick actions of retired Anderson University English professor Sarah Sprague and nurses Deb Taylor and Sarah Forsythe in August 2011 in getting emergency medical help for a health crisis that required I be on leave for that semester. Also I appreciated deeply the many prayers of the campus and community that contributed so powerfully to my miraculous recovery and return to teaching. Above all, AU has been for me “The good hand of our God,” from Nehemiah 2:8.