English Education Alumnus Returns to Share Expertise

English Majors learn about elective in Queer Literature

| Author: Robert Fanning | Media Contact: Robert Fanning

Grand Ledge High School English teacher Jason Westra-Hall, a 2018 alumnus of the Central Michigan University English Education program, returned to campus this month to share his experiences as a new teacher and his specific expertise in teaching queer literature.

While visiting Dr. JoEllen DeLucia’s class, “Women Writers: Gender, Sexuality and Literature,” Westra-Hall described the queer literature elective course he designed, including how it was developed and how it was approved by the Grand Ledge school board—not a small feat, given the charged national political climate around LGBTQIA+ issues, book banning, and other challenges facing educators.

Following his presentation, Westra-Hall answered questions from English majors and English Education majors in DeLucia’s class.

“Many of our English teacher candidates aspire to be inclusive of LGBTQIA+ identities and experiences in their future classrooms, so having an experienced English teacher show them an example of how he is successfully doing that work builds a lot of confidence,” DeLucia said.

Westra-Hall says it’s a joy coming back to campus and empowering to feel like he is making a difference.

“I credit so much of my success to the professors I had at CMU, the organizations I was part of, the friends I made, the mentors I had, and so much more,” Westra-Hall said. “CMU is where I grew into the educator I am now. To be able to share my own expertise with future teachers makes me so happy to know that I, too, can be a mentor and empower others.”

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