CHARLIE MCCORMICK, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of English, Schreiner University
I first encountered Folklore as a new MA student at Texas A&M University when I defected from English in order to study in the anthropology department with Tom Green and Sylvia Grider. I thought there could not have been an experience that was more fun and exciting. Tom and Sylvia recommended I go to the University of Pennsylvania and test this hypothesis. Turns out, Penn was just as good: delightful colleagues, challenging faculty, and an opportunity to study the things that had always mattered most in my life. I completed my PhD, working under the direction of Roger Abrahams, and became an assistant professor at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pennsylvania, where (thanks, once again, to great colleagues, including several folklorists) folklore remained the central concern of my professional life. I co-directed the Honors Program at Cabrini, taught courses in foodways, folklife, and festive drama, and eventually became the Dean of Academic Affairs before moving back to Texas and into the position I currently hold. I have researched and published on adolescent cruising, rites of passage, and, more recently, women bullfighters from the US, and I have recently accepted a position on the National Institute of Technology in Liberal Education’s advisory board. I co-edited in 2011 the second edition of Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music, and Art which allowed me to interact with many members of the AFS from both the academic and public dimensions of the field.
While I have moved in and out of AFS over the last decade, becoming an administrator who still teaches and carries out research related to folklore and folklife, the ideas and approaches that constitute folklore have remained integral to my everyday professional life. All the decisions I make on a daily basis reflect my training and development as a folklorist. If elected to the Executive Board, it would be my hope to bring to the table my skills as an administrator to strengthen the organization for scholars, researchers, public folklorists, and anyone else who loves folklore and for what the field currently represents: professionalism, ethical standards of inclusivity, a concern for building employment opportunities for members, and international outreach, as well as the celebration of cultural expressions that span the Americas. Such contribution will require continuous and strategic decision-making that would, of course, not undermine the excellence that has come to characterize AFS but may assist in expanding that excellence to new initiatives and areas. This sort of strategic planning is now the central portion of my professional life, and I would be honored to use my skills and experience in the service of AFS.