The campus is abuzz with news that Nagesh Rao, Assistant Professor of English, was recently denied tenure. Many students are up in arms about this inconceivable affront. Through all the second-hand information and indignation one fact remains glaringly clear -Rao is a good professor.
A brilliant scholar and thought-provoking teacher, Rao challenges and engages all his students. I had the pleasure to be in his LIT-217 course, Issues in Multicultural Literature, last semester, and it was by far the most inspiring class I have had thus far. While this might seem like a lofty statement, it speaks to Rao’s competence in his subject matter as well as to his strengths that have not gone unnoticed by many other students.
Although many members of my class, myself included, had not been exposed to multicultural literature before, we had some of the most eye-opening, in-depth discussions in that class under Rao’s facilitation. Rao employed a variety of methods to spark thought in each of us, and encouraged everyone to speak regardless of their point of view. Rao is extremely approachable and truly values independent thought. He always has time to speak with students, whether it be about trouble starting a paper or simply to gain new perspectives.
I want to express my tremendous gratitude to Rao for providing me with a safe, thought-provoking environment in which I grew noticeably, both as an English major and a member of a global community. I felt privileged to have such a knowledgeable, respectable professor reading my essays and providing in-depth feedback.
The perspectives that I gained in Professor Rao’s class have instilled in me a sense of agency absent in other courses in the English department at the College. His is the only class in which I not only applied what I learned to future classes, but to my life. Many people who know me have heard, almost word-for-word, conversations and points made in my Multicultural Literature course, and are thankful to have the opportunity to discuss things so relevant to the world in which we live.
Rao is a well respected, vital member of our campus community. He taught me the power of action, knowledge and, to quote a poem read in his class, “Verbs, verbs that move mountains.” If you feel incensed at this injustice, I encourage you to make your voice heard, because one person can, as Rao has shown, make a difference.