Jeffrey Foster says that he has the best job in the world, but it didn’t happen overnight.
While studying for his Ph.D. at the University of Rhode Island, Foster worked full time. Every week, he would travel from Kent, Conn. to school which is roughly a two-and-a-half-hour commute each way.
“That is how much I really wanted to teach, to get my degree,” said Foster.
He said that he had always aspired to be a college professor since he was a student in high school,“I knew right away. I knew my objective and did what I could to reach it.”
With this goal in mind,he attended Middlebury College for his BA, Western Connecticut State University for his MA, the University of Rhode Island for a Ph.D. He always had a passion for language as he also minored in Spanish and took courses in Russian.
“What I love is just helping students get to where they want to go in their lives. I want them to enjoy their time here.”
Before arriving at the University of New Haven, he had the opportunity to teach at a variety of institutions. He taught at Western Connecticut State University, the University of Connecticut – Waterbury, Naugatuck Valley Community College, and Norwalk Community College. Finally, Foster became a part of Charger Nation and has been an active member for 12 years.
Since his arrival at the university, Foster has had such a great experience with the administration, his boss, helpful colleagues and respectful students.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Foster has been teaching remotely from his home, but is excited to be back fully in person next semester.
As time goes on, he wants to put together new courses for students to take within the department. One course he would love to teach is History of the English language as he believes it is important for writers– and everyone in general–to know the origins of the words we use.
“I want to show students my passion for what I do because I love English, I love literature, I love writing and most of all I just love my students.”- Foster
Foster said that he has the best job in the world because not only does he get to teach a subject that he loves, but he has the opportunity to sit and talk with his students and help guide his students towards their personal and professional objectives.
“I want to keep contributing to the university, especially in teaching students and really helping them–that’s why I am here,” said Foster.
Although he was unable to choose his one favorite course out of those he teaches, he mentioned two of his favorite topics. As creative writing is his specialty, teaching that particular course gives him the opportunity to share with his class his abilities. He also enjoys literature courses as they allow him to showcase timeless pieces which highlight the basic elements of humanity which include beauty, morality and love.
“It is not about people calling me Doctor or Professor, it’s about being able to connect with students, show enthusiasm, and get them enthusiastic about writing.” He incorporates creative writing into each class and teaches the value of word choice to help the creation of the perfect piece.
Flash fiction is a genre of fictional creative writing that is typically characterized by having fewer than 300 words. Foster has written and published many flash fiction stories, as it is his specialty, and typically tries to publish once a semester. Some of his pieces that he is most proud of include “Sinners in the Hands of an Amphibious God”, “Please Don’t Plant This Book” and “I Vomited Into the Bushes When I Saw the Cyclops Boy.”
Perspective: Foster’s influence on his students is unmatched
When you’re being taught by Foster, you’re likely to be greeted by him as he enjoys a drink from Dunkin Donuts or munching on a bagel. I learned to fall in love with writing again after taking his classes.
Growing up, I had always found joy in writing and editing essays for myself and my peers. Being in his classes only intensified my love for the subject, and ultimately became one of the most influential reasons behind me minoring in English and writing for Charger Bulletin Media.
His courses are noted for emphasizing the necessity of accurate articulation of ideas and beliefs, and the persuasive power of language. I consider his classes as thought-provoking experiences as group discussion flows with ease as all topics of discussion are encouraged. This isn’t just a participation grade: he genuinely enjoys learning from us just as we enjoy learning from him.
In Foster’s classes, reading literature is not just busywork. His lectures illuminate the fun in analyzing the writing itself and allow the reader to be “culturally literate.”
Unlike other English courses I have taken, prior and during my time at the University of New Haven, Foster encourages students to allow their creative juices to flow. There is a sense of understanding and constant encouragement that one will not find in another course.
As a student, it is evident that Foster is dedicated to his passion of teaching. He is accessible to students in and out of the classroom. His classes are always a welcoming environment along with the best opportunity to improve writing skills. For me, being taught by Foster was an amazing