Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Schultz
Many students know the prize-winning poet and essayist Jeffrey Schultz as a beloved professor of English, humanities, literature, Great Books and formerly creative writing.
Schultz combines his love of literature and writing with a passion for teaching — and in both endeavors he said his aim is to find the beauty within truth.
“When I look at the world that we live in today, there is an enormous amount of ugliness and that is what gives my work its, sort of, trajectory,” Schultz said. “I’m interested in where beauty and truth intersect. … I’m always trying to get closer to it, but I don’t know that I’ve ever found it.”
When Pepperdine didn’t renew Schultz’ creative writing teaching contract in the spring, his students rallied around him, creating a petition to appeal the decision. The outcry of student support prompted Pepperdine to renew Schultz’ contract for the fall as a professor in the Humanities Division.
“[My students] supported me through one of the most difficult episodes of my life, and it was beautiful,” Schultz said. “That’s how it struck me at the time, which is like saying the students performed a sort of magic. They took this terrible thing that was happening and made it into its own opposite.”
After growing up in a low-performing academic environment, it wasn’t until college that Schultz realized his love for literature and the power of education. It is his students, Schultz said, that keep his love and curiosity for learning alive.
Compassionate, driven, earnest, brilliant — these are a few of the words Schultz used to describe his students.
“Education changed my life and the way I look at essentially everything,” Schultz said. “That potential is something I hope to bring to my own classes.”
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