Name: Dr. Philip Chase
Academic Rank: Professor
Department: English and Philosophy
School: School of Liberal Arts
Office: CH 319
Education: Ph.D., M.A., Drew University
B.A., The Evergreen State College
A.A.S., Pierce College
Courses Taught: ENG 111 (Comp I), ENG 112 (Comp II), ENG 132 (Honors Comp II), ENG 210 (Fantasy Novels), ENG 246 (English Classics)
Dr. Philip Chase, a professor of English at Country College of Morris (CCM), believes life is a journey, similar to the plot of a book. As a lover of Old English, myth and fantasy, Chase has always been an advocate for reading.
“The book that moved me as a kid was Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings,” says Chase, who along with becoming a teacher became a writer himself. “That series awakened me to the joy of reading, immersing myself in a story and emerging with a slightly different perception of the world. I think part of what led me to write was the motive to try to replicate that experience for myself and also help other people have that same experience.”
Chase earned his undergraduate degree from The Evergreen State College in Washington State, where he discovered his love for Old English Literature. As an undergraduate, he familiarized himself with English classics such as Beowulf, which is his favorite text to teach.
“Beowulf is ultimately a lament for the past,” says Chase. “It’s about how the things that are so precious to us in the present moment won’t always be around — the people we are with and the things we surround ourselves with. There is a kind of impermanence to life, which is what makes it precious.”
After graduating from Evergreen State, he relocated to the East Coast to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees from Drew University. Chase decided he wanted to be a teacher after participating in a fellowship in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he taught at Tribhuvan University.
“I enjoyed the process of teaching in that I like watching my students grow and I like learning from them,” says Chase. “There is no better way to learn something than to have to teach it.”
Chase joined the CCM faculty in 2002, immediately following his graduation from Drew University. He continues to work closely with Drew, serving as coordinator of the Two-Year College Teaching Certification program, which is taught jointly at Drew in the spring and at CCM in the fall.
Chase is the author of The Edan Trilogy, a fantasy series he has worked on for over a decade. Writing and editing the series, he notes, has been truly a communal effort involving his agent, friends, family, students, and colleagues, who read his books and gave him feedback.
“There is a stereotype that authors sit completely alone in a dark, secluded office writing on a typewriter,” says Chase. “I had a lot of people help me make this a better book.”
As an expert on all things fantasy, Chase proposed a Fantasy Novel course to add to CCM’s academic offerings. The class provides students with the opportunity to delve into favorites such as The Hobbit, A Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and many more.
“Your education should be a process that evolves and leads you somewhere,” says Chase. “You find your passion that way.”