Professor Profile: Karen Hollinger


By Daniel Dearing, Staff Writer

The Armstrong faculty is filled to the brim with quality and character, and a shining example of this fact would have to be Karen Hollinger, professor of English. After earning her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois in Chicago, she was immediately on the lookout for a position which would satisfy her passion in both the English language and film study. This desire was what ultimately led her to Armstrong in 1990. She now spends the majority of her time teaching and writing, and has published three books (with another in the process, centered around biographical films) and a grand-total of fifteen articles.

It was through the power of a former teacher that Hollinger came to realize the true nature of film as a whole: It was much more complicated than it seemed when taken solely at face-value. In this very same vein, she aspires to bring about the same mental reaction in the minds of her students.

“Discussion-oriented. I like for my students to read, come in, and discuss what they read with me. This makes me a real intensive kind of discussion, which I like a whole lot. Lecturing has just never been my kind of thing,” Hollinger said, commenting on her teaching style.

When an individual leaves her classroom for the last time, it’s Hollinger’s hope that he or she gains one key asset: the ability to truly analyze. Most just sit and mindlessly consume the images that they are being presented with, however Hollinger hopes for greater from her students. “They need to really think about these films,” she added. “There’s more to them than meets the eye.”

“Come to class prepared, read, and don’t miss too much class,” Hollinger said, in  regard to new college students. “At the same time, college is about experimenting with different classes and clubs in order to see what you might like. Don’t take that for granted either. Also, don’t just major in something because you think you’ll make money in it…make sure you actually enjoy the field. That’s essential.” And what of the war-torn, battle-hardened college seniors?  “That’s a real tough question…the job market is just so difficult to crack open right now. I think my first piece of advice would be this: don’t give up easily. If it’s something you truly want to do, pursue it,” Hollinger continued. “Also, I would totally recommend getting a graduate degree if you can. It might help you. If you aren’t doing what you want to do, go to a graduate school and see if that might help you get your foot in the door.”