Professor of English
Office: Brock Hall 3114
BA, Pacific Union College
MA, Shippensburg University
Ph.D., University of Maryland
"When I hear a talk or read an article or book by one of my students, I feel great joy," says Dr. Rachel Byrd, professor of English at Southern. "I delight in what a student is today and envision what a student can become. My role is to spread out before students a panorama of possibilities, to let them see farther and aim higher." Dr. Byrd has been envisioning possibilities in her own life since childhood when she decided to become a teacher. "Seventh-day Adventists have an incredible framework for making sense of the world of ideas. Jesus dramatically transforms our thinking with His stories, and he invites us to use the creative arts to blazon Him to others."
Her favorite part of her job at Southern is the students she teaches. "I like preparing for class, but even more, I like hearing the twists and turns of what my students say when they respond to the literature. No two students understand in the same way."
Before coming to Southern, Dr. Byrd taught at Takoma Academy, Highland View Academy, and Boonsboro High School. She has also worked as an editor and writer. The mother of four children, she stayed home for seventeen years. During that time she taught in every department of the Sabbath school, conducted Vacation Bible School and cradle roll camp meeting, assisted in her husband's business, home schooled her children, coached them in violin, cello, and piano as a "Suzuki mom." She completed a Ph.D. in sixteenth-century literature at the University of Maryland in 1996 and began teaching at Southern in 1998. "I hope to be a role model for young women who want to enjoy staying home with children and then have a satisfying career as well," she says.
"There is no more satisfying calling than teaching. I pray that what we learn in class will not only help us make sense of our own lives but give us the inspiration and the creative skills to prepare a world for the coming of Jesus."