The English and Languages departments at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire have the privilege of welcoming Dr. Lise Hoy this year as a new instructor with a joint-appointment in both departments. Dr. Hoy received her B.A. in French and History at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and her M.A. and Ph.D. in French Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As an English and French double major, I enjoyed the opportunity to sit down with her about a month ago to gain insight into what led her to academia and the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and to learn what she’s been up to during her first year here as well as gaining some of her advice for students.
Her inspiration to become a college professor came partly from her father, who himself was a college professor, and partly from a French literature professor from her undergraduate education. She stated of her professor, “She had a way of asking questions that were both pointed enough and open enough to allow us to understand what we were reading in our own way, but that was still not erroneous. She had this way of opening up a text.” She now tries to bring that mentality to her own classes here at Eau Claire and is really interested to know what students think.
In making her decision to come to Eau Claire she remarked that the position felt like it was written for her as someone with a background in multiple disciplines. She stated, “I love the combination of teaching in English and French, because it involves interdisciplinary work. I get to know colleagues in both departments, but it also helps me make connections for students. When you talk about a liberal arts education, it’s about critical thinking and being analytical, but the interdisciplinary piece is about making these connections, so I love that about English and French.”
Currently on campus she divides her time between English, French, and Honors, teaching French at various levels, along with a section of the Blugold Seminar, and an Honors Colloquium. She incorporates her interest and research in Food Studies into her courses on campus through both her Honors Colloquium, which focuses on the representation of French food in French literature, and her Food Studies themed Blugold Seminar where her students look at all different sorts of food text spanning multiple disciplines.
Her advice to current students is to consider things from the point of view of a growth mindset rather than limiting themselves, highlighting how many different possibilities and paths there are. She remarked, “With a liberal arts education, it’s such a privileged time to be able to explore, to study abroad, to take courses in different areas. There’s not one narrow path to success in life, in your education. It’s about so much more than getting the job.”