Dr. Shelby Crosby ’92 – Teaching is her true passion

Throughout the month of February, Mercyhurst Prep has been celebrating Black History Month with the help of the MPS Critical Concerns Club. They are educating themselves and the community by selecting historical figures to highlight each morning with a brief memoir read on the morning announcements. An MPS alumna studies and teaches the works of some of those we are highlighting every day.

Shelby Crosby ’92, PhD, is an associate professor at the University of Memphis in their African American Literature Department, and teaching is her true passion. She received her BA from Morehead State University and her MA and PhD from the State University of New York, Buffalo, where she started her teaching career as a teaching assistant. From there, she taught at D’Youville College and has now been at the University of Memphis since 2008. Currently, her favorite course to teach is a course called Black Women & the Fantastic, which focuses on Black women who write in the genre of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

In college, her studies took her in many directions until she finally landed on English. Taking English courses for fun in her first few years, she knew she loved it and loved presenting but didn’t know how to turn it into a career. Her interest was not in elementary or secondary education, but she didn’t know how to become a college professor. Even so, she took a leap and worked toward her doctorate to reach her goal of teaching at the collegiate level. She said that at MPS, she was encouraged to think critically and ask questions, which is an invaluable skill to have and helped her immensely in her college studies and beyond.

Shelby’s work has appeared in numerous journals and books in the past, but recently she has been working on her first book project. She is co-editor, along with Dr. Aparajita Nanda, of God Is Change. Religious Ideologies in the Works of Octavia Butler. The book will be out next month and published by Temple University Press. She explained, “It is an edited collection that explores how Octavia E. Butler creates and uses religion in her novels to critique the racial, class, and gendered imbalances in our worlds.”