Casey: And the rhetorical structure of such a speech is that you have the text, which in the church is biblical, which in my case itís from these pop culture references; a lot of rhyme - in the church experience, itís built on rhyme, which the dominant rhyme theme in our culture is rap, and so that was the second thing; and then analysis, and the analysis usually should involve humor, and it would it would involve a lot of self-deprecating humor too in terms of trying to make fun of yourself. I mean, thatís the basic structure of the Evangelical sermon and thatís exactly the structure if you look at virtually every speech that Iíve used that Iíve laid out. And Iíve just changed all the text, you know, Iíve changed all the historical structures of that to really try to apply it to higher education.
Casey Discusses the Roots for his Love of Learning (Play Audio)
then my grandmother, who grew up in a very rural area in South Carolina
next to a one-room school house. This school house was going to be torn
down, and she went in the school and she was told that she could get
anything out of the school. She got a set of Encyclopedia Britannica
from the early 1950s - I think theyíre 51s or 52s - and gave them to me
when I was a kid; I read them cover to cover. Between that and then
television was just coming along - well television had been along - but
our family got a television set and I watched a lot of television.
Television really, I think, opened up my eyes to a lot of the world.
Casey Discusses his Dissertation and Interest in Pop Culture (Play Audio)
launched this project, which eventually led to also a significant
rewrite of the dissertation to my book, Textual Vehicle: The
Automobile in American Literature. And so I traced the history of
how automobiles were depicted in literature from the very beginning in
the 1890s up until the present and found some very interesting themes.
And I remember when my book came out, which I
dedicated both to my dad for teaching me how to drive and to Robyn
Allers, my wife, for riding along with me. I gave him this book and he
said, ďI canít believe a two hundred and twenty page book and not a
single picture of a car in the whole book, it just doesnít make any
sense to me.Ē It really got me - the book really got me even more
interested in looking at popular culture and how popular culture could
be a tool to really grab studentís attention and really teach them very
deep, very complex critical theory, if they learn to apply it to things
that are a part of their everyday life - very empowering for students.
Casey Discusses a Favorite Course he Taught While at Birmingham Southern College (Play Audio)
Casey: I worked out a really interesting thing when I taught the seminar class. We would meet the first hour and half of our seminar in a classroom, and the second hour and a half we met in the teachersí lounge, the faculty lounge at Birmingham Southern. So the students - we were in both of these worlds, which turned out to be a very controversial thing. There was a lot of faculty very upset that I was taking the students into the faculty lounge, as if there was some sacred rituals or something that go on there. But that was a great class.
Casey Discusses Myth Busting (Play Audio)
Casey: Part of the project that I really tried to work on was on - we came to call it myth busting. The myth is all the best students at Rollins are dropping out and theyíre going to other colleges. There is no data to support that, and thereís been no data to support that for fifteen years. In fact, the greatest retention at Rollins is of students who get both merit aid and need-based aid. The worst retention at Rollins are average students who are full paying. Thatís counter to the narrative thatís out there. So, thatís an example of the myth busting. I was surprised how resistant parts of the community were to that kind of myth busting, because breaking up someoneís world view, particularly breaking it up with data, proves to create a lot of friction. So that was one of the issues I really had to work hard with.