Title: Assistant Professor
Department: English and Philosophy
Professor Emily Birx, who teaches English and philosophy, loves the small school environment that County College of Morris (CCM) provides and the opportunity it offers for professors and students to really get to know one another.
“I feel like you can get to know students better here and it’s important for me to connect with my students,” says Birx. After earning her B.A. in English and political science from Gettysburg College and her MFA in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte, she began teaching at CCM as an adjunct professor, and also at Rutgers, before being promoted to a full-time position here in 2011.
“It’s different here, the students are excited to work and generally happy to be here,” she says.
One of Birx’s favorite classes to teach emphasizes the basics of grammar and the elements of writing. “It’s a tough class and it can be really dry, but I really enjoy teaching Writing Skills because those skills are so important and I think you can have a lot of fun with it,” she says.
She likes to remind students of the importance of writing and the ability to communicate effectively, as both are key to success no matter what field a person pursues.
Along with teaching and taking care of her daughter, Birx also stays involved in the life of the campus. “One thing I’d like to see more of is student involvement, but I understand it’s difficult when you aren’t living on campus and have a job,” she says.
Birx is a co-chair of the Legacy Project, which has hosted discussions and presentations about current issues on the CCM campus since 2013. Issues the project has addressed are civil rights, genocide and world conflict. Speakers have included survivors of the Holocaust, the Rwandan and Cambodian genocides, and the King of Tibet, Namgyal Wangchuk Trichen Lhagyari.
Birx also serves as editor of the Journal of New Jersey Poets, an annual poetry magazine sponsored by the CCM Foundation and the Department of English and Philosophy.
She notes that getting involved really makes a difference and encourages students to take full advantage of all the college has to offer.
“It’s easy to just come to class, sit in a chair, barely pay attention and walk off, but there’s so much here to get involved in and I want to remind students of that.”