Faculty Profile: Dr.Jane Collins

profile by Jaquay Dee-Hardmon

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Choosing English

Dr. Collins loves to read. As a child she wanted books for any special occasion like birthdays and Christmas.

She went to high school in New Brunswick, NJ and attended Rutgers University as an undergraduate. Before choosing English as a major she studied biology, political science, pre law and pre med. In her junior year of college, Dr. Collins decided English is what she enjoyed most. She then double majored in English and political science:

“I decided to follow my heart on it and do what I loved most rather than what seemed most practical.”

After being asked if she was discouraged by anyone with her choice of majors she mentioned she was not discouraged nor encouraged. She went to a large state university where she felt students were on their own. Neither of her parents went to college so they did not have much advice to give her.

Finding Her Path

Dr. Collins did not go to graduate school right away after completing her bachelor’s degree. She was more interested in taking care of herself financially and figuring out what was next for her.

One of her first jobs was with publishing. She then went on to teach in public schools for two years in New York City. While she was teaching, she studied Chinese. She looked for a teaching job in China because she had a love for traveling. She was given information about traveling to Japan to teach by a coworker. So she applied to teach in Japan and went there to teach for a year. After a year in Japan, she went backpacking around Asia for six months. Some places she visited were India, Thailand and China. After six months she came home to take a break and began waitressing and bartending job in Manhattan.

After waiting tables, she continued on to graduate school, entering the doctoral program at the City University of New York and earning a Ph.D. Right before she completed her Ph.D., she started teaching at Pace University.

Life at Pace

Dr. Collins has now has been teaching at Pace University for twenty three years and enjoys staying current and innovative:

“What I most want to teach students is a love of reading and a love of words.”

One of the things she loves most about reading fiction, non-fiction, and poetry is the way it gives access to the lives of people who are not the same as you.

“Emotional access that literature offers is something that is a gift for everyone to be able to imagine the lives of other people.”

Words of Encouragement 

Dr. Collins reminds us:

“The most important thing to remember is that being an English major helps you build a flexible brain that asks questions, that sees connections, that uses language to make sense of the world, and those are really valuable skills and practices….You’ll find the way to use them to make your own way and figure out your own path in life.”

Bookmaking Workshop

Reflection by Jaquay Dee-Hardmon

I attended a bookmaking workshop this past Thursday on Pace’s campus, and the instructor made it clear that trash can be valuable.

At first, I thought,

What is the use of things that have already been thrown away?
And what does this have to do with bookmaking?

She went on to say the books she makes are hand made. Things that are made by hand can be worth so much more. All the materials we used were things she picked up from the street and recycled resources. The materials consisted of cardboard, buttons, ribbons, stickers, recycled paper, crayons, glue sticks, magazines, scissors, little trinkets, rubber bands, fake plants, yard and beads. We then were instructed to pick out things that we wanted to be a part of our book. The purpose was to think about what we wanted our book to portray.

With the recycled paper, we had to cut out words that stood out most to us. I cut out words like family, poetry, and excellence. These words pertain to my life. I try to strive for excellence with the support of my family and the use of words are important to me because I write poetry. I used yarn, stickers, dried plants and pictures. My objective was to have my book represent who I am as a person.

As we were working we had a time limit on each part of the book we were working. The purpose behind this was not to spend too much time dwelling on decisions which would consist of taking too much time on one thing.

This whole experience helped see things differently as far as bookmaking in general. My expectations with this experience was to put together a hard a cover with pages to go inside. I was expecting my book to look as standard as they come.

However, I was impressed at what I came up with in a short period of time. This workshop brought out my creative side, and allowed me to see a book can be however you want it to be.

This experience helped me step away from thinking about stressful things that come with being in school and enjoy creating. I can honestly say this experience calmed me down and put me in a good mood. It was suggested that it makes someone feel good knowing that you made something for them. However, it feels even better when you make something for yourself.