Former chair gives back to the Department of English

Edward Sharples never planned to stay at Wayne State University. When he first arrived on campus in the late 1950s, he was still working on his Ph.D. at the University of Rochester. Sharples not only ended up staying at Wayne State, he went on to become a professor, chair of the Department of English and even served as assistant vice president for undergraduate admissions, financial aid, registration and records, advising, and student systems.

Sharples' contributions to Wayne State include giving an edge to English students applying to Ph.D. programs by creating a rhetoric curriculum — a requirement that endures today. Sharples believes that tying the teachings of rhetoric and writing together was particularly helpful to the start of many students' careers.

Additionally, his influence on students cannot be overlooked. Sharples continually held himself and his students to high standards. "I wanted them to be able to say to a friend 'I've never enjoyed an English class so much, nor have I ever worked so hard in an English course.'"

So what would a former professor say about the robust campus culture now blossoming in the heart of Detroit? Sharples says it is encouraging to see a much more residential campus. "Students gain something by working together on common projects, talking about issues that can be cross-departmental, and helping to work things out together with other students."

Sharples is impressed by Wayne State’s evolving campus and how current students, faculty and administrators are able to take pride in what it was and what it’s becoming. His advice to current students at the university is to remember, "We're there to lead you through a course and into a career. A quality academic background will provide you with a life you will be proud to lead." 

Sharples recently demonstrated his pride in Wayne State by creating the Dr. Edward and Mrs. Diane Sharples Endowed Faculty Development Award.

This award will be used to attract and retain outstanding faculty in the Department of English. “The quality of our faculty directly translates to the experiences of our students,” Sharples said. I am happy to invest in the Department of English and ensure the success of students for generations to come.

Contributions to the Edward and Diane Sharples Endowed Faculty Development Award can be sent to:

Wayne State University
Academic/Administration Building
5700 Cass Ave, Suite 1200
Detroit, MI 48202
Memo Line: Sharples Endowed Faculty Award

By CLAS Alumni Writer, Anne Okonowski

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Former chair gives back to the Department of English 4/20/2016
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