Dr. Michele Geslin Small
A bi-national citizen (French & American), Michele was born in the island-nation of Vanuatu (known, before 1980, as New Hebrides) in the South Pacific; after the age of six, she spent her formative years in Madagascar. She belongs to a “global family”, so she has also lived in and visited many other countries in all of the continents.
From the University of Nice (France), Michele came to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship in 1967 and obtained a Master’ s degree in English from the State University of New York at Albany. She also taught there for a few years, before making her way to Northland College where she has been teaching since 1972.
With a Doctorate from the University of Minnesota/Minneapolis, Michele is a Humanities Professor who teaches a wide range of courses (Chaucer, the English Language, Literature of the Western World, Contemporary Third World Literature, as well as two spring seminars: Women of the Third World and Seminar in Science Fiction). She is in the process of a creating a new course in the Literature of the Arab World. In 1986, she started our “Spanish for Proficiency and Fluency” service program at Northland, in order to serve the needs of students who had Spanish in high school and who desired to continue with Spanish for many different reasons: to do biology/park work in Central or South America, to join the Peace Corps, to fulfill the language requirement for some Graduate School program, to read “in the text”, to cultivate family relations, to travel, etc.
We are all products of our cultures and upbringings. Michele’s outlook on life is essentially global, systemic, and very international. In this day and age, when the proverbial “global village” is shrinking at an unprecedented speed, throwing us literally and figuratively in “each others’ backyards”, cultural myopia is becoming very dangerous to everyone’s health: hence, her work in literatures and languages.
As she tells her students, by 2050, there is every indication that close to half of the population of the United States will be Spanish-speaking. Already, today, being bilingual in English and Spanish adds “a feather to one’s cap”―or put differently, an “arrow to one’s quiver”―in an increasingly competitive job market. For the next generation: English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese will be capital.
This is, in essence, what she does at Northland. Michele loves her research, her courses, and her students. She is totally dedicated to the task of helping students become sophisticated and productive world citizens in the twenty-first century.
Curriculum Vitae (.pdf)