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Name: Jo Koster
Position: Professor of English

English Professor Jo Koster has one foot firmly planted in the past and the other in the near future.

“My feet are in two worlds. Students are as likely to find me with an iPad as with a Medieval manuscript,” said Koster, the 2012 Jane LaRoche Graduate Faculty Award recipient.

In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate courses, Koster advises all full and part-time graduate students in the Master of Arts in English degree program. During her 13 years as a graduate faculty member, Koster has pushed for the program's development, curriculum development, leadership, and graduate course design. Her latest contribution involves the creation of a new concentration in rhetoric and composition to help those preparing to teach college English.

Koster cultivates original research by her students in a wide-range of courses and helps them develop their research as seminar papers at juried professional conferences and as publications for peer-reviewed journals. Last summer, she and a graduate student presented papers in Spain, while this year one of her students, John Crawford, will present at a prestigious James Joyce conference in Dublin.

Fellow professors and students say Koster embraces her subject matter with scholarly exuberance, leaving students with greater enthusiasm for their topics. Just last semester, she provided her personal Medieval robes for students to wear in a final meal in her Introduction to Medieval Studies class. “I try to go beyond the words on the page,” Koster said.

Her area of expertise covers centuries old material, and she coordinates the Medieval Studies minor, yet she is a frequent resident on Facebook and Twitter (commish24). She very much lives in the present and directs XXITE, the university’s initiative for 21st Century Technology Excellence. She and business faculty member Keith Benson have published research on Storify on how faculty members can use social media in the classroom.

Besides her cats and cooking complicated dishes, Koster's other love is NASCAR. She explains that she grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Collingswood, N.J., next door to a mechanic who worked on drag racing engines. Her childhood dream was to ride on the hood of a car to the winner's circle until her father informed her that she could only do that as part of the pit crew.

A woman of many interests, Koster works to instill enthusiasm for learning in her students.

Last updated 09/10/2012
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