Chris Willerton

0 Commentsby   |  01.31.10  |  Announcements, Faculty Spotlight

WillertonEdinb09Dr. Chris Willerton came to ACU in 1970, fresh from his BA at TCU and his MA at the University of North Carolina. He went back to UNC in 1973 for doctoral work, returned to ACU in 1976, and hasn’t budged. In 1985 he became founding director of the ACU Honors Program. Having overseen its transition to Honors College, he phased out of administration in spring 2010 and continues as professor of English and Honors Studies.

His publications range over computer hypertext, honors education, Stone-Campbell heritage, and Texas writers. His conference papers and panels have dealt with honors education and with intersections of Christianity and literature. He has directed a creative writing circuit and served as president of the Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature and the Great Plains Honors Council. He has been subject to fits of performance poetry, presenting his work with photography, computer animation, and martial arts.

Lately Dr. Willerton has moved into popular culture, studying detective fiction and theology. His special-topics course “Saints and Detectives” (spring 2009) led students through Chesterton, Christie, Greene, Sayers, Eliot, and others and required students to write their own radio mysteries. His spring 2010 sabbatical focuses on Dorothy L. Sayers’ mystery novels and theological writings. After delivering a Sayers paper in New York City, he will study Sayers material at the Wade Center at Wheaton College.

Word in English Classroom

A good summary of his advice on teaching appears in The Word in the English Classroom: Best Practices of Faith Integration (ed. Dessart and Gambill). “All politics is local, said Tip O’Neill. So is teaching. The challenge of integrating faith and learning is always embodied in particular students in a particular place.” He goes on to show how his courses are “shaped by the clientele and the culture at Abilene Christian University.” His courses “Literature and Belief,” “Irish Genius,” and “Saints and Detectives” have alarmed some and pleased many by confronting modern literary works.

Dr. Willerton and his wife Sharon, a family nurse practitioner, love to travel in the UK and to visit their three grown children and one grandchild. They attend the University Church of Christ.

Hear Dr. Willerton read his poetry on Poet’s Corner


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