Jill Goodman-Gould

Jill Goodman-Gould

Jill Goodman Gould, Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, has taught at Santa ClaraUniversity since 1986.  She received her B.A. and M.A. in English, and her Ph.D. in American Literature and English Renaissance Drama from the University of Oregon.Her research interests include composition and creative nonfiction – particularly life writing and travel writing, as well as Jewish literature, including memoir and drama. Dr. Goodman has been involved for many years with S.C.U. International Programs, teaching four summers in the Durham, England, program, and one semester in the London FIE program. In the English Department, she advises students who plan to teach high school English.  Related to an ongoing community learning project, she and several students created the Chelsea Literary Society, a women’s book group that gives university students the opportunity to mentor and learn from local first-generation high school students.

In 1984, one year out of my Ph.D. program and one month after getting married, I arrived in Poland with my husband, Bill.  Family, friends, and folks at the synagogue thought we were crazy: conditions under the Soviets were dismal and Poland still seemed no place for Jews.  But we wanted to see Poland, and I was excited to begin the Fulbright and work with the faculty and students at UMCS.  Conditions were appalling, but the country was also beautiful and interesting. We made many wonderful friends, and with their help we learned how to navigate.  I taught American literature – surveys, drama, and contemporary ethnic and women’s literature; I taught conversation classes and even American history.  I found the UMCS students shy, reluctant to talk in class, respectful and very bright. I was struck by their eagerness to read the new texts and to see the current American films we brought from the embassy. And, of course, I learned from my students and colleagues, developing friendships and an interest in East European literature and Holocaust studies that continue today.  Those two years in Lublin in the 1980’s were transformative for me and my family, and I feel deeply grateful to have had the opportunity.

In 2004-05, I was delighted to return to Lublin on a second Fulbright with my then 15 year-old daughter, Hannah. It was a new world in Poland, and exciting to see the changes. In some ways it was more like California: students and faculty were busy and stressed by the new pressures and opportunities. It was exciting to teach a new generation of Polish students, and fun to watch my daughter fall in love with Poland too.  She made friends quickly and relished learning Polish. Indeed, Hannah’s decision to major in Slavic Studies at Barnard College was influenced by her experience in Lublin.

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