Many students come to Union College to grow in their walk with Christ. As the newest addition to Union’s English Program, Dr. Justina Clayburn hopes to help students do just that while also helping them grow in their love of literature and language.
“As a lifelong Adventist, I love the opportunity to work somewhere that shares my values,” Clayburn said. “I think it’ll also be good to work with young people who have had a similar experience to me. It’s important to figure out who you are and how Adventism fits into your life.”
She continued, “What also drew me to this job was how I kept being told how great of a community Union is. I also like the idea of staying in the Midwest. The opportunity to teach composition also appeals to me.”
Clayburn earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan and a master’s in English from Andrews University. She previously worked at Andrews University as a composition instructor, enrollment coordinator, and assistant and interim director of enrollment. Since 2017, she has worked as a teaching assistant at Northern Illinois University where she recently completed her doctorate.
In her spare time, Clayburn is a big-time reader (surprise!) and loves to watch movies and TV, employing the same critical lenses as with written literature. She also likes to knit and hopes to get better. However, she hasn’t had much time for hobbies the last couple of years. “Recently, much of my life has been focused on my dissertation,” she said. “It’s on a specific trope in the rom-com genre. It’s entitled “Princes, Princesses, and Socialites: Feminism and Class Transgression in Hollywood Romantic Comedies.” A famous example is The Princess Diaries. My dissertation explores the question, ‘What are they commenting on in society?’”
She recognizes the importance of significant faculty-student interaction among students, and she hopes during her time here she can improve students’ engagement, interest and investment, which shows just how much of a passion she has for what she does.
by Evan Majors, junior English and communication major