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Excellence in Teaching

Dr. David Phillips

CSUDr. David Phillips came to Charleston Southern in 1996. Originally from Phillipsburg, New Jersey, he received his B.A. in English from the University of California, Santa Cruz; his masters degree from the University of Missouri; and his doctorate from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has instructed at the University of Missouri, UNLV, Clark City Community College in Nevada, and Embry Riddle Aeronautical Institution, also in Nevada. 

When he came for his interview at CSU in May 1996, he was impressed with the friendliness and openness of the faculty. The people of CSU are one of the reasons he decided to accept the job, and he has found he enjoys getting to know the students and building relationships with them. 

Dr. Phillips uses several methods in the classroom to provoke interest in the subject and enhance class discussions. In his English 112 and Shakespeare classes, he has the students put on performances. In the English 112 class, they usually act out scenes from Oedipus Rex. In Shakespeare, the performances are from sections of various plays. The students divide into groups and adapt the scenes in different ways, using costumes and props. Though they can change the dialogue, they are not allowed to stray away from the actual meaning of the play. In upper level classes, which are usually smaller, he has the students form a circle with the desks, which helps promote discussions and keeps the class from feeling like a lecture. 

Dr. Phillips does not take any credit for his teaching excellence, but attributes it all to good role models. His first Shakespeare professor was Dr. Denny Berthiaume, an English instructor at Foothill College. Though Shakespeare studies were not Dr. Berthiaumes specialty, he was energetic and elicited excitement in the subject. At UNLV, Dr. Phillips dissertation director was Dr. Evelyn Gajowski. She was the one who introduced him to the practice of performances and forming circles. 

When asked about any hobbies or talents, Dr. Phillips shrugged. Other than cooking, he sings tenor in the church choir and bass/baritone with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Gospel Choir. Though he does not collect them, Dr. Phillips is also interested in model trains. He has model trains from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s that were his grandfathers, and then his fathers. Dr. Phillips is also on the Church Council of the Circular Church, where he sings in the choir.