English professor Bertha Wise will retire in May after 25 years at OCCC.
Wise said she sees life as an adventure, finding new and interesting things all the time — “as cliché as that sounds.”
“I’m off on a trip in early June to go to Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria with a friend, and later in the summer, I’ll be up in New York to visit family for a couple weeks,” she said.
Though Wise will no longer be a regular faculty member, she will still be teaching a couple of online courses at OCCC as an adjunct.
Wise has been teaching a list of courses at OCCC since 1991, but has primarily taught English. She said through her 25-year career, she was acting dean twice, English and Humanities department chair and taught many courses.
Wise taught English Comp I and II, Introduction to Literature, World Literature, English Literature, Poetry and Short Story Writing, Philosophy and Ethics.
“Any of the literature classes are very interesting to teach. You get to reread things you want to know more about or have read before, because they’re really significant works … It’s interesting to help students find those new ideas that maybe they have never encountered before.”
Wise began her path to teaching English after she attained her master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, she said.
From there, she started adjuncting around local colleges, like OSU-OKC, Rose State College, UCO, and finally at OCCC, which led her to becoming a full-time staff member.
“I’ve been very lucky to get a full-time job here, and I’ve been here ever since,” she said.
“Compared to other places, this institution is probably the most supportive of faculty and students — that’s the primary goal, to provide the best courses and experience.”
Teaching English isn’t the only thing she undertook as a professor, she said.
“I’ve taught Classical and Medieval Humanities, Modern Humanities — those two primarily, although I’ve [also] taught Mythology.
“Teaching English and Humanities was always the main component of what I was doing,” Wise said.
Students who want to go into teaching English should remember it’s not just being able to read and write, she said, but also to be able to convey the excitement.
“They should be able to … convey that enthusiasm for that particular discipline, whether it’s for writing, or they’re teaching literature,” she said.
When asked about her words to live by, Wise pointed to a sticker on her desk, which said “Keep Calm and Ask a Librarian.”
“I think there’s something to be said about keeping calm and to think [things] through,” she said.
“If you’re faced with difficulty or a challenge, you think it through to figure out some solution to whatever the challenge or problem is.
“I’ve always been someone who seems to have an ease with finding solutions to problems.”
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