Marcus Sheffield



Professor of English

Office: Brock Hall 3136
Phone: 423.236.2849


BA, Pacific Union College
MA, Andrews University
Ph.D., Michigan State University



I have lived all over the United States and all over the world, but Tennessee has been my home since 1999, with a short break in California. I am the son of a physician father and teacher mother. Both my parents have deep roots in the South, but my father had a hankering for California. My parents moved to California in 1962 and never looked back except for our three years of mission service in Libya, Lebanon, and Kenya. My father died in 2011 on the very day I landed in Afghanistan as an embedded reporter headed to a Forward Operating Base with the U. S. Marines in Helmand Province. That’s a whole other story! My 93-year-old mother now lives near me here in Collegedale.

My attention span is short, and the only thing I’ve never lost is my love for great writing (and classical music). I’ve experimented with starting businesses, creating web sites, news writing, joining fire and police departments, life insurance training, truck driver training, caving, music, sales, and book editing. I became an English major at PUC when Dr. Verne Wehtje, the department chair, suggested it. For three years I taught at the secondary level, and then decided to work toward a PhD. My years at Michigan State were transformative. I was free to choose my fields of interests with no interference from dictatorial faculty members. I focused on American literature before 1900, Puritanism, and Composition Theory. My dissertation was entitled Crossing Into Millennium:Herman Melville’s Narratives of the Sea.

When I was ABD, I was offered a teaching position at Southwestern Adventist University. I taught there from 1990 to 1999. In 1999, I accepted a position here at Southern, and have been in the department for fourteen years. Just this year, I’ve taken on the duties of English Enrollment Coordinator, seeking to spread the truth of the coolness of majoring in English. We in English feel neglected because people think we turn out unemployed poets, which is not the case! My literary interests are still in American literature. After practicing the art of close reading (New Criticism) for many years, I now want to branch out into other methods such as New Historicism.


“Donald Trump Meets Pope Francis,” ADvindicate, web magazine, 2017.

 “The Real Problem of Pain,” ADvindicate, web magazine, 2016.

 “Looking Backwards Through Prophecy,” in ADvindicate, web magazine, 2016.

 “Ugly Americans,” ADvindicate, web magazine, 2015.