Loyola University Chicago

Department of English


Dr. Suzanne Bost's first year as Graduate Programs Director (4/9/2024)

Dr. Suzanne Bost

Dr. Suzanne Bost has been Graduate Programs Director in the English Department for almost a full academic year and says she is really happy to be holding the position.

She has been at Loyola for 15 years and previously served as Graduate Programs Director in the Women’s Studies and Gender Studies Program, where she is an affiliate professor.

As a tenured faculty member, Dr. Bost has the responsibility of taking on administrative roles and says that “working with grad students is the most interesting and pleasurable way for [her] to serve the department.” Her favorite aspect of the GPD position in English so far is that she gets to learn about what all the graduate students are interested in and what they are working on.

But the position also comes with certain challenges. “The concern that wakes me up at night is the decline in humanities positions, the lack of funding for the humanities, and the numbers of universities that are getting rid of their humanities departments. These days, humanities are not valued as much as STEM and other professions that lead more obviously to well-paying jobs. I want our students to find satisfying work, but in the midst of our current anti-intellectual trend, few college students take the risk of artistic or humanist programs of study,” she says. “Changing these trends is not going to happen single handedly, but I think that we need to be thinking more broadly about the outcomes for humanities PhDs … We might want to broaden what counts as the work we do and find ways to make it more relevant to our worlds today.”

She says that some of the ways that can happen are by interfacing more with surrounding communities and finding other ways of doing research and writing that aren't necessarily tied to the traditional forms academia has required for generations, such as the dissertations and monographs that we are expected to write while few people read them.

Dr. Bost advocates for more heterogeneous, performative, and community- and digitally-oriented ways of doing work to make it more accessible and less expensive. One of the ways that she gets feedback about how to make these changes is through the Introduction to Graduate Studies course, ENGL 400, which every first-year graduate student must take during their first Fall semester.

She loves teaching the course, which she did last Fall in the first term she served as Graduate Programs Director. “Teaching English 400 in my first semester made such perfect and beautiful sense,” she says, commenting on how much she enjoyed thinking about the future of humanities with the students in her course.

Aside from her role in the graduate program, Dr. Bost also teaches Latinx literature, queer theory, and decolonialism.

She says she is always learning from her students. “They are keeping me, not physically younger, but at least culturally younger. The students here are intellectually curious and engaged and have lots of different perspectives.… I might just stay here forever because I really love the students I work with.”