Written by Tabitha Rice. Media by Taylor Neal.
Dr. Courtney Bailey Parker is the new full-time English professor at Greenville College. This fall, she is teaching with zeal in her Research and Writing, Intro to Literature, English Novel, and Theater History and Literature classes. My first interaction with her was an improvisation. Instead of the usual, “Hi, nice to meet you,” she created an engaging situation in front of her Research and Writing class. The enthusiasm stems from her degree:
I’m a theater artist who would categorize herself as a writer and as an actor. I’m lucky that I get to spend my days teaching in addition to making art.”
Dr. Bailey Parker’s higher education began at Mercer University where she procured a BA in English and spent a year at New York University’s Playwrights Horizons Theater School studying acting. After receiving an MA in English from Baylor University, she got her doctorate in English Renaissance Literature from Baylor as well. This past summer she worked in two back-to-back theater productions in Austin, Texas and played Hermione in a Shakespeare in the Park production known as The Winter’s Tale. (Fun fact: The Winter’s Tale is where Hermione from the Harry Potter books got her name.)
When asked what brought Dr. Bailey Parker to Greenville, she described an epic quest for a small, liberal arts college that viewed itself more as a community than an institution. If you’re wondering how she views Greenville College’s motto for the year, #ThriveTogether, to her it means
a community-wide pursuit of the good life, a conscious effort to tease out the rue, the good, and the beautiful in our (new-to-me) little college home.”
She previously taught at Baylor University, but there was a separation in the student-professor relationships because of their large student body of 15,000. As a woman who loves teaching, she disliked the detachment from her students and wanted to spend more time with them inside and outside of the classroom.
Dr. LaFaye described Dr. Bailey Parker as a Shakespearean. She reported that Shakespeareans are people who “redeem other people’s (usually bad) impressions of Shakespeare.” In other words, Dr. Parker enjoys telling her classes how Shakespeare used language in a way that portrayed people in that period of time as greater than they are, a perspective from the scholar Stephen Greenblatt. Dr. LaFaye also said that Shakespeareans are almost required to be a bit of a word-hoard, especially of Shakespeare’s writing. Her perspective of poetry is this,
Poetry makes us live more intensely and often more richly; we need more of that in the world.”
Because Dr. Bailey Parker is an advocate for the arts, she commented on some popular TV shows and movies. When asked whether she watched Doctor Who, her response was “I was afraid you would ask this. I’ve heard tell of the Doctor Who lore on this campus.” She went on to say that she’s only seen one episode of season one and was informed that she “did it wrong.” However, she is no stranger to the Harry Potter series. Dr. Parker commented, “I was actually 11 when the first Harry Potter book hit bookstores. This means that I aged alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I’m grateful for that because magic haunted the ground during my adolescence. It was tangible for my age group. I wonder sometimes if new readers of Harry Potter miss out on that.”
If you take the time to get to know Dr. Bailey Parker, you will be thoroughly enlightened. She can be found in her office in Kaufmann, hanging out in Jo’s Java, working with the Factory Theatre, or in one of her engaging English classes.