A peek at Rusty Rushton

By on February 22, 2013

Rusty Rushton poses in the Spencer Honors house. Photo Courtesy UAB

Rusty Rushton poses in the Spencer Honors house. Photo Courtesy UAB

UAB has a number of teachers that are not only impressive in their lectures, but are also heavily involved in the Birmingham area.

Rusty Rushton, the associate director of the University Honors Program and an instructor of English, is one of those many professors.

Within the program’s interdisciplinary curriculum, Rushton serves as an instructor of literature and poetry writing.

“I help conjure a theme for the fall course. Mike [Sloane] thought of some and I’ve thought of some. But whatever we land on, we work together,” said Rushton.

“There’s a Rushton lecture now, thanks to a gift my parents made to the program several years ago,” Rushton said, “I do, also, come up with the Spring First Thursday Lectures.”

Rushton’s duties within the program are much more extensive and numerous than what can be presented in text. Rushton and his wife were hired by Ada Long, the original director of the program. Now, Rushton has experienced many changes within the program as directors have changed and as the program has moved from interdisciplinary topics and structures.

During the first three weeks in June this year, Rushton participates as part of the faculty for the Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop, a workshop for high school students sponsored by the English Department in collaboration with the University Honors Program.

Through the Honors Program, Rushton is involved with Sanctuary, the University Honors Program’s literary journal open to submissions from honors programs throughout the southeast.

“I serve as the faculty advisor, but if that would mean that I’m not a voting member, then I’d be something else. I do get involved in those meetings,” Rushton said.

Along with heavy involvement in the Honors Program, Rushton is also greatly involved in the Birmingham community.

“I did not assume I’d end up here, “Rushton said regarding his Birmingham residency. “I did not assume I’d desire to end up here.”

Rushton is now embedded within many Birmingham-based boards and programs.

“I get invited to be on boards. It’s not every day, but I do,” Rushton said.

To name a few, Rushton is involved with the Indian Springs School Board, the Railroad Park Board, and the Birmingham Chamber Music Society.

“While it did all come before me, it puts me in a position to be generous and a generous spirit. I feel I do that. It’s a way of making some generous use of things that have been given. And I care about all the organizations I’m a part of,” Rushton said, “I feel a sense of us. This is Birmingham.”

“I do feel proud of those entities; it’s nice to have these reasons to be out and among people,” said Rushton, “Honors swallows you. I live with it as a given. It’s enough for me to get all of this done, and have a family live at home, and get some sleep.”

Rushton, along with other professors involved in several programs, is able to bring a well-rounded approach to teaching and communicating with students. Rushton’s involvement also gives students exposure to events on or off campus that normally go unheard of.

As for a personal goal, Rushton mentioned an old love: “I should be writing poems more than I do. Maybe that will be in my future sometime soon.”

Laurie Christolear
Staff Writer

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