Big smiles and loose curls are some characteristics that are immediately noticed when sitting in the same room as Judy Holiday, 51, assistant professor of writing.
During one class, Holiday explained how to write a thesis for a rhetorical analysis essay by using examples from two different excerpts.
While the students were analyzing the text, she walked around the room making sure every student understood what they had to do, helping some students make sense of the excerpt.
This is Holiday’s first semester as a faculty member at the University of La Verne, teaching writing 110 to freshmen in the FLEX program.
“My research concerns social justice, so it’s really nice to work in an institution that values social justice,” Holiday said.
Holiday graduated from the University of Delaware in 1984 with a bachelor’s in geography.
She received her master of arts in composition with an emphasis on teaching English as a second language from Cal State San Bernardino in 2006 and later received her Ph.D. in rhetoric, composition and linguistics from Arizona State University in 2012.
Before La Verne, Holiday taught for eight years.
She taught first-year composition and writing theory at Cal State San Bernardino while she was going to school for her master’s.
She also taught as an adjunct professor at Arizona State University and Mesa Community College while getting her PhD.
Holiday grew up in a small town outside of Wilmington, Del. that was not yet developed into a city and had a creek that ran in her backyard, where she felt safe.
Holiday is the youngest of three children.
Her father was a surgeon and her mother was a social worker, her grandparents were from Russia and she was raised Jewish.
Holiday said she was inspired to teach when she realized how rewarding it was.
She gave free English lessons to her Spanish-speaking co-workers when she worked for Bernard Dervieux, a French chef, at Cuistot in Palm Desert, California.
She also gave weekly lessons for a year to a stranger who she met on the bus because the woman was having trouble finding work since she only spoke Spanish.
When she found out that La Verne was hiring, she said the job description appealed to her.
Holiday applied to La Verne even though she had not intended on working in a liberal arts college.
“I have been impressed honestly by the enthusiasm and capacity of the students and the overall climate on campus,” Holiday said.
Holiday talks to her students in a way that makes them feel like she is having a one-on-one conversation with them when she is teaching a class.
“She’s very open when you talk to her,” Ashley Hernandez, freshman physics major, said.
Hernandez said that talking to other professors can be intimidating but it is easier to talk with Holiday.
Dominique Dominguez, freshman biology major, said Holiday is really warm-hearted and she can understand any situation.
“Even though she hasn’t gone through it, she can empathize with you,” Dominguez said.
Holiday said she wants her students to understand what she teaches and says her students are very bright and always engaged with the class.
“Writing studies sits within the field of rhetoric, which is the study of persuasion and the relationship between language and belief,” Holiday said.
Ingrid Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.