Word on the Street

Shelli Poe - 2018 - 13Anonymous Student Feedback:

“Super clear explanation and instructions, meaningful readings.” (Fall 2017, Work, Ethics, and Society)

“Dr. Poe was a delight. She was always…happy to help. She was also very well-equipped for this class and exhibited interest in us as people, as individuals.” (Fall 2017, Does Religion Belong in the Hospital?)

“Dr. Poe is a fantastic professor. She is always very prepared for class. She utilizes a variety of methods in her teaching, so that students with different learning styles can engage with the material. She is attentive to what we need to learn best, and she encourages us to pursue our own interests within the course material, aiding us in writing papers on things that really interest us.” (Christianity in Dialogue: Schleiermacher and Ramajuna, Spring 2017)

“Dr. Poe is a phenomenal instructor. She is a keen facilitator of discussion and genuinely listens to the ideas and suggestions of her students. Dr. Poe is both engaging and helpful in expressing concepts and helping us arrive at a well-rounded understanding of content.” (Spring 2016, Modern and Contemporary Theology)

“Dr. Poe is an excellent professor to learn from because she is deliberate in her intentions to challenge and expand our minds. She also fosters a great and inclusive learning community.” (Spring 2016, Modern and Contemporary Theology)

“Dr. Poe is a fantastic discussion partner and served as a great mentor as we explored vocational inquiry.” (Spring 2016, Vocational Inquiry in Context)

“Dr. Poe shows us that she is very educated about our class topics. Her passion for studying religion is contagious and has helped make me who I am today.” (Fall 2016, World Religions and How to Study Them)

“Dr. Poe is a phenomenal facilitator of learning. She consistently encourages us to think critically about our material and apply it to our lives in and out of class. Dr. Poe makes this course enjoyable, applicable, and transformative.” (Fall 2016, World Religions and How to Study Them)

“Dr. Poe did a great job getting the point across to us. She really taught it well.” (Spring 2016, The Pentecostal Explosion)

“Dr. Poe is a great professor and wants her students to succeed.” (Spring 2016, The Pentecostal Explosion)

“This course has taught me to think more critically and to observe a problem from all angles in order to determine a solution. As the course progressed, we started using more reputable sources to support our case. This course gave me the knowledge to determine why a certain choice should be made instead of saying ‘just because'” (Fall 2015, Does Religion Belong in the Hospital?)

“As a result of this class, I can analyze and synthesize more adequately than I could before – including how I’ve been able to put our authors in conversation with one another and have that be fruitful and academic. The readings have been difficult, but I’ve been able to transition and grasp larger scale concepts than I think I could before. I think I’ve retained a large amount of skills so that I can do this and apply my new level of thinking to other facets of my life — including other classes, but also my engagement in the world. As we’ve seen, even in religious traditions there is a large diverse scale of how people understand their role in the world based on their identity and also their understanding of it, so that has been rewarding to engage with” (Fall 2015, The Meaning of Work).

“Before the beginning of this semester, I did not know what to expect from the History of Christian Thought. I expected to learn about common stories in the Bible and historic thoughts on them, but there was so much more. Over the course of this semester, my whole view of Christianity has developed into something I never expected it to. My inner theologian has surfaced because of this class and then deeper way of thinking I was required to have. My interpretational skills have taken leaps and bounds, and so have my critical thinking skills” (Fall 2015, History of Christian Thought).

“I never thought that I could ask questions about my religion without someone passing judgment or others replying, ‘it’s just something we believe in.’ Now when I attend church and I overhear a conversation about the symbolism of the cross or the Eucharist, I can enlighten them with thoughts from ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary theologians. I believe that every undergraduate should take a religious studies course within the first two years of their college careers” (Fall 2015, History of Christian Thought).

“Take the course, I really enjoyed it! It is a very hands-on course, that we can apply to many people around us. It isn’t like we are studying something that is long gone. Pentecostalism is still alive and growing today, even in the community around us. In this class it will be a lot of good discussion, so make sure you are prepared and have read so that you can contribute your opinion to the discussion. Do not fall behind! You will get to see and enjoy when the subject you are reading is applied to today’s society in media. If you are reading and doing your work, participating in class, you will learn a ton” (Spring 2015, Pentecostalism and Charismatic Movements).

“Learning is an investment. It takes time and energy to apply oneself to a topic, especially one which is unfamiliar. Sometimes, though, the most taxing new areas of knowledge are those with which we believe we are already quite proficient. This is the arena of Dr. Poe’s classroom. In this space, you may find yourself grappling with dense concepts and working harder to stay afloat than maybe you ever have. Prepare yourself, but be not afraid. Learning is an investment, but some investments are worth every minute” (Fall 2014).

“Dr. Poe is a wonderful professor and you will learn so much from her. I was an awful writer and critical thinker. Now that this class is over, I know I think and explain things more clearly and I just turned in the best paper I’ve ever written. Expect lots of things to read and analyze, and many papers to write. Whether you are a good writer or a bad writer, like I was, this class will help you more than any other class at this school” (Fall 2014, Faith and Doubt).

“I have never had a professor who so clearly placed a priority on my learning experience. Every day we came in with a new activity and lesson on ways to learn and look at the material. These methods have taught me new ways to work through all academic work, making this class continually exciting and rewarding” (Fall 2013).

“No exaggerating here: The world would be a much better place if everyone took this class. I look at my world and my peers differently now, realizing we are all thinking through the same problems. Dr. Poe is wonderful. She cares about her students and has such a just, loving view of the world. She asks us to make our own judgments but provides thoughtful guidance on our learning” (Fall 2013, Modern and Contemporary Theology).

“I loved this course! It was really challenging, but at the same time rewarding! The instructor was great! She always gave clear explanations of the material. It’s always nice to have a professor that truly cares about their students, believes in them, and pushes them to the best of their ability” (Fall 2013).

“I loved Dr. Poe and definitely would take another one of her classes if I had the opportunity to. The class is well structured and has improved my proficiency in writing and my proficiency in understanding the division in Christianity as well as how religions interact with one another” (Spring 2014, Chaos and Community in Medieval Christianity).

“The instructor expected much from us, but this is the reason why the quality of this course and Millsaps are so good” (Spring 2014).

“This course was extremely enlightening and helpful in my stride to learn more about multiple religions that I otherwise would not have been able to learn about. Dr. Poe is a great professor, she encourages students to think outside of the box instead of the usual class that you go sit in and take notes in without much interaction” (Spring 2014).

department; fun

Religious Studies at Millsaps College, 2013-14

Advice From Recent Students to New Students:

“If you’re ready for a mental challenge, sign up for the class! Expect that the professor will not tell you what to think. Your grade comes from your ability to critically analyze outside sources and argue for how they relate to and defend your case studies. To succeed, always ask yourself ‘why’? Always questions whether your arguments make sense. My advice is not to doubt yourself; speak up during discussions” (Fall 2015, Does Religion Belong in the Hospital?).

“Dear student, YES YES YES you should take this class if you want to understand (or at least be aware of) the complicated interplay of religion, ethics, and economics. Don’t let the word economics scare you – this class is not mathematical; economics is a highly philosophical study as well, and taken from this angle, can seem like a whole different subject. You should expect a lot of work in this class; reading responses are due every class and quizzes every two weeks, but you will adjust to it and the readings are SO relevant and extremely enriching. Also, the class discussions will probably get wild, unless you have a weird and altogether disinterested class. It is so cool to see how different classmates agree or disagree with the readings, and because this class is extremely discussion-based, you get to know people really well and you will likely be interested in people who seem like your opposites; they will challenge your way of thinking, and you will hear their voices in the back of your head so that you are not limited to your own voice. My biggest pieces of advice is to really read the readings and get interested in them. Also, you absolutely must get a study group together. It’s a great experience” (Fall 2015, The Meaning of Work).

“Dear Student, Without a doubt, this is one of the best classes that I have taken at Millsaps. This professor is very genuine and true, and understands that each student is different. She is more than willing to adjust to individual needs. This is a class that I would recommend taking to anyone that asks, because it applies and relates to a vast number of interests in ways that you wouldn’t imagine. My advice for this course would be to read every reading that is assigned and truly think about it and analyze it. Also, contribute to the class discussion. No matter how embarrassed you are of what you are saying, your classmates will take it in a way that benefits their own thinking and understanding of things. When there are activities outside of the class, go to them! I can’t begin to explain how cool it is to apply what you are learning in the community around you (even if you have to wake up earlier than normal on a Sunday morning). Overall, take advantage of this class and the great professor. It is such a rewarding experience!” (Spring 2015, Pentecostalism and Charismatic Movements)

“Dear friend, Congratulations on taking the first step on an interactive journey towards understanding the inner workings of Pentecostalism. However, I must caution you as you are about to undertake a course like no other. In this course, you will learn that things that seem out of the norm and weird to you are really fascinating to study. Take in every aspect that you can. You may find yourself struggling at times, but hey we all do and that is why we have class discussions to help answer those questions. Do not be a slacker, as it will come to bite you in the butt later. Make sure to pay attention and keep your mind open to new things. I learned about the differences in the old and new movements and how the new movements helped more people to join. Visiting the churches was very insightful as we were able to put everything we learned into practice. Enjoy and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.” (Spring 2015, Pentecostalism and Charismatic Movements)

“Dear Successor, I highly recommend taking both this class and Dr. Poe in general. Although I took this class as a core requirement, it easily came to be my favorite and most interesting class, even as someone seeking a B.S. degree. I don’t know about other classes she teaches, but we didn’t have any tests, so time management is important when completing assignments like papers and reading responses. It may seem like busy work, but if you do all the readings and do serious responses, you will see results that are reflective of the time put into them. You should try to go to class each meeting, as participation was a pretty large portion of our grade, and try to get involved in class discussion at least once or twice a class. Always demonstrate your willingness to put forth effort and you should be fine in this class. Dr. Poe will make you want to know more about the subject material through her enthusiasm and excitement during discussions. She’ll give you time and assistance with papers, and she’s always ready to bounce ideas with you if you’re stuck on an essay. To put it simply, if you take care of your daily assignments and go to class, the rest will take care of itself.” (Spring 2015, Pentecostalism and Charismatic Movements)

“Dear Successor, I have received word that you will be taking a class with Dr. Poe. I took the Pentecostalism and Charismatic Movements class with her and I learned very much. Dr. Poe is a fair and knowledgeable professor and she will try to help you succeed every step of the way. However, she will expect you to put in full effort for the course, in order to learn the material and make a passing grade. From my experience the course was fast-paced and required great attention to detail and focus on the material, as well as the syllabus. As long as you can stay caught up and on track with the syllabus then you will have no problems passing this class. The texts that are used are sometimes difficult to comprehend but most times it is up to interpretation which means that there is no set right or wrong answer. This is helpful because it helps you to practice and develop ideas and how you interpret information. All in all, Dr. Poe is a superb teacher and I look forward to hearing about your experiences!” (Spring 2015)

“History of Christian Thought has been a great experience for me. It has opened my eyes to a lot of things in Christianity that I had never thought about, good and bad. But it also has improved many skills crucial to surviving at Millsaps. My interpretation of texts, analytical thinking, raising big questions, and overall writing have improved greatly. If you’re thinking about taking this class, do it whole-heartedly. To pass this class, you can’t be lukewarm, you have to be all in. Make sure you read the texts, in their entirety, all of them. That’ll help so much with discussions and writing papers. Expect to be challenged. This isn’t an easy class, but it’s well worth it. Be assertive with your own opinions and thoughts. Raise questions, ask why. Never take a class or reading assignment off because they are all critical to the class. You will most likely use almost every single text at some point either in a paper, or your learning portfolio, or the final” (Fall 2015, History of Christian Thought).

“Dear Prospective student, Watch out! Look up! You’re about to be invited to take everything you know – your personal experience, your knowledge, and maybe even your lack of knowledge – for a spin. Not just any spin and not just a ride, either. It’s a spin in that what you think you know (including perhaps deeply held beliefs) may not be fully expanded. It’s easy to carry around deeply ingrained ideologies and not think thoroughly about how they affect the world – and not just your own. Everything is connected, and you’re about to step into a challenging environment that expects you to actively think and acknowledge your world…. I’m not going to lie – it’s intense work, but Dr. Poe will do everything in her power to actively “get on your level” to make the material  more understandable for you. It’s worth having your brain hurt for a momentary span of time to eventually see the larger picture – which for me was unquestionably worth it and deeply meaningful. Take one of Dr. Poe’s courses and take it seriously – because she is willing to take you and the course seriously” (Fall 2014).

“The first thing you need to know about taking a class with Dr. Poe is that you will learn things you’ve never heard before. Your mind will be open to new ways of thinking, and it’s going to be an amazing process to see where you started and where you finished. …Your own thoughts about theology and Christianity will grow. I know mine did, and it was awesome to see that growth in myself” (Fall 2014).

“If you don’t want to work hard, drop the class. You will be pushed to the limits of your thinking, writing, and discussion abilities. However, if you take on the challenge, you will grow as a scholar and as a student in ways you hadn’t even imagined before. You will have to do the readings thoroughly and probably more than once, but it will help you learn. Always go to office hours and ask for help when you need it. Dr. Poe is tough, but she wants you to succeed and will help you achieve your goals. More than earning a good grade or meeting an elective requirement, class with Dr. Poe will change your thinking, and it could change the way you look at life and the world if you let it” (Fall 2014).

“I would only suggest taking Dr. Poe’s course if you do NOT want to settle for mediocre. Dr. Poe pushes you as both a writer and a thinker, so her class is double the headache — but wow, is it worth it! I would like to think of myself as a better human being (and student) after taking this course….You will never use a class more in your everyday thinking” (Fall 2014).

“You should definitely take a class with Dr. Poe. She is a lovely human, and you will be so very glad that you know her. The class that you take will most likely expand your mind beyond your previous conceptions and fill it with lots of ideas and puzzles that you may have never considered before. Don’t be discouraged when you can’t unravel them all just yet; that’s all part of a journey in your thoughts that will continue long after the semester ends” (Fall 2014).

“Dear new student, Get excited. This class is going to change the way you look at your world and yourself, if you let it. That is my main piece of advice: Be open to new ways of thinking and letting yourself apply the material to your life and personal theology. Do the readings and carefully think through each theologian before class. If you put in the effort you will be successful. I promise!” (Fall 2013)

“Stay on top of your material! If you wait till the night before to begin the assignment, you will not get a clear idea of the concept. Take time to contemplate the assignment. You can do it! Learning to think deeply is hard, but it is so rewarding! You will feel accomplished by the end of the semester. When you feel like you are not grasping the material, talk to Dr. Poe. She believes in you, and she will push you to the best of your abilities” (Fall 2013).

“Do close readings before class, go to office hours, keep a journal, and take lots of notes. Push through the hard stuff; it’s worth it! It will change the way you think!” (Fall 2013)

“You get out of this class what you put in. It may sound simple, but it will be tough. This class will truly test your perseverance and your mental toughness. Dr. Poe will challenge your ideas even when you feel you have everything in the right direction. Go see and talk to her as much as possible. Your conversations with her will be the key to your success. Stay focused and engaged because in class we debate and converse so at any time a new idea may spark in your brain” (Spring 2014).

“My best advice to give you for taking this course would be to go in with an open mind. Do not be afraid to speak out about your opinions on certain subjects and also do not be afraid to learn about new things that you have never come into contact with before. I encourage you to take part in all of Dr. Poe’s exercises and to give it your all because in the end it will help you out a lot. When you are asked to read an article outside of class make sure to read it thoroughly and to also take notes because it will benefit you greatly when it comes to the class discussions. I must warn you that other people in your class will have opinions that clash with your own but like I have already said keep an open mind because their point of view may strengthen your own belief” (Spring 2014).