February 20, 2024

Featured Falcons: Dr. Paul D. Mahaffey

What is your name and current title with the University of Montevallo?

Paul D. Mahaffey, Chair of the Department of English and World Languages

Paul MahaffeyWhere are you from and what city do you currently reside in?

I am from Thorsby, Alabama and currently reside in Calera, Alabama

If you hold any degrees, what are they in and from what schools?

I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in English from the University of Montevallo. I have a Ph.D. in English from The University of Alabama.

How long have you worked here?

I have worked here for 29 years.

Did you hold any previous positions here? If so, what are they?

I began my career at Montevallo as an adjunct instructor and then full-time instructor before getting my Ph.D. and eventually becoming a tenured professor of English.

What brought you to Montevallo?

The small, liberal arts college atmosphere.

What’s the best thing about working for Montevallo?

The emphasis on teaching and the freedom to pursue academic passions.

Do you have any interesting stories about one of your favorite experiences here?

I have many interesting stories associated with the annual fall class and field trip to New Orleans – too many to write about at the moment.

What’s your proudest accomplishment since being at UM?

Being dubbed “Dr. Nola” by a former English major and becoming the English department chair.

Why do you belong at Montevallo?

My passion for cultural studies and the liberal arts in general.

Anything else you want to say?

These are not my words, but rather Kurt Vonnegut’s: “The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly  can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”