Professors at the University come from a variety of backgrounds, leading them to not only want to teach but also commit to outside activities.
Professor William Griswold, who is going on his eighth year of teaching here at the University, writes on the side.
“I have a couple of book-linked manuscripts,” he said. “I have an agent…he moved to Chicago for awhile and that’s where we made our contact.”
According to Griswold, one novel that he has written is a historical novel set in 1922 and is mostly about labor unions. His agent is attempting to sell it now.
One of his already-published works is a poem in a literary journal entitled “War, Literature, and the Arts.” It is currently at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“The poem is about the Vietnam War and its after affects on my family,” he said.
In order to pay for school, Griswold joined the U.S. army for four years prior to attaining his bachelor’s degree.
“I never had plans to be in the U.S. army, but it worked out,” he said.
While in the service, he had some “crazy” experiences to share.
“At the time [in Ft. Sherman, Panama], a lot of our helicopters were coming back from other places in Central America all shot out,” he said. “A helicopter crashed in front of me, and that was pretty crazy.”
After leaving the army with the title of sergeant, he received his bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University, although he spent the majority of his undergrad at Northern University.
For the following eight years Griswold worked for a couple of different corporations based in the Chicagoland area.
Although he was a copywriter and a ghostwriter for the company Quill, he wanted to write more.
“I knew I wanted to write and I had been writing, but decided finally that I really needed to not be working for the corporations to pursue it,” he said. “That’s when I went to get my MFA.”
He received his Master’s of Fine Arts from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, and had a teaching assistantship afterwards, which was how he paid for school.
“By the time I finished…it was clear that I was going to be a teacher,” he said.
He began teaching at the University when his wife got a job at the study abroad office.
Although Griswold is an adjunct lecturer at the University, he spends his time performing multiple tasks.
“Most of my time is spent teaching, prepping, writing–I’m paid to write as well–and just general family life,” he said.
His family, including his wife and two young sons, appreciates traveling, especially the outdoors.
“There’s something very important about being in touch with the natural world I think,” he said. “For me, being out in nature is a way of thinking well.”
Griswold has created a plan for his future.
“I want to publish books and get on the tenure track,” he said. “I’m close to getting books published…and as soon as I do, opportunities to get on the tenure track will come elsewhere, not Illinois.”
Although he likes Illinois and enjoys teaching ENGL 245 this semester, he will eventually apply to a University specifically for their 10-year track.
“Teaching has never bored me, ever,” he said. “And that counts for just about everything for me.”

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