Heather Neff — Director, McNair Scholars Program; Professor of English, Eastern Michigan University; Doctorate from the University of Zurich in English Literature; Master’s Degree from the University of Zurich in English Language and Linguistics, Comparative Literature and French Linguistics
I’ve taught English literature at Eastern Michigan University for 18 years. I deeply enjoy the challenge of working closely with students, both as an instructor and advisor. I’ve taught large lectures and small, seminar classes, and find both to be intellectually challenging. The most rewarding aspect of my teaching is participating in the intellectual and emotional transformation that occurs as our students prepare for their professional future.
Trying to balance my time between family, teaching, writing, and serving on many community boards and committees is an equally important aspect of my life. For example, I serve as the vice-president of the H. Irving Mayson Scholarship Foundation, named for my late father, which awards money to high school seniors to help them in their transition to college. I try to show by example that service to the community is an integral part of one’s professional life. I truly believe that with education comes the responsibility to give back to others.
In 2010, I became the director of the McNair Scholars Program, a government grant that offers research opportunities and application assistance for low-income, first generation and underrepresented students who are planning to pursue doctoral studies. In this capacity I facilitate seminars designed to prepare students for graduate school, act as a personal advisor and mentor, and work with a highly trained staff to support the next generation of scholars. The McNair Scholars Program welcomes some of the brightest and best students on our campus, and it is a great honor to be a part of it.
Eastern Michigan University is a diverse, deeply nurturing educational environment. Students are supportive of one another and our faculty members are devoted to teaching. We are innovative in our methods, dedicated to our mission and proud of our institution. I consider Eastern to be my home, and look forward to many more years of contributing to this important period in my students’ personal journey.