For the News Tribune
KEYSER - In the two short years that assistant professor of English James Morgart, PhD, has been at WVU Potomac State College, he has proven to be a gifted educator as well as an active and dedicated employee of the college, which is why he was named Potomac State College’s 2020 Outstanding Professor of the Year.
He not only established two writing contests, one for PSC students and the other one for countywide participants, but also took the initiative to acquire support and funding for both awards.
According to one colleague, "James manages to do what many find impossible. He makes a composition class interesting. He engages students and challenges them to think for themselves and he’s revamped English literature classes into contemporary firebombs."
Students also voiced the encouragement and inspiration they received from Dr. Morgart, "Beyond sharpening the minds of his students and pushing them to excel, Dr. Morgart is dedicated to improving the overall campus experience and dedicates his time outside of the classroom with opportunities for students to stay involved and connected."
"Dr. Morgart made me a better writer and pushed me to be the best I could be. As a result, I confidently tackle writing assignments in other classes and truly believe that I am much more successful for having had his instruction," stated another student.
In addition to teaching English 100, 101 and 102; African American Literature; Special Topics Course Film Studies: Film Noir; and Shakespeare, Dr. Morgart also serves as the advisor for The Film Club and the Creative Writing Club at the college.
He earned bachelor’s degrees in both English and accounting as well as a master’s degree in accounting from Rider University; his master’s degree and PhD in English are from Pennsylvania State University.
Dr. Morgart recently submitted an article, "Everyone Has Monsters Within: Neoliberal Release of Monstrous Desire in Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator (1985) and From Beyond (1986)," which is currently in peer review for the journal Gothic Studies.
He is also currently writing a book, "The Haunted States of America: Gothic Regionalism in Postwar American Fiction." The book is a monograph which examines the use of the Gothic to subvert the established identities of regional cultures in Postwar American fiction.
Dr. Morgart is also collaborating with Stephen Settimi of the Indie on Main in Keyser to put together the Paddytown Film Festival. This festival is dedicated to showcasing the work of anyone who is a native or resident of West Virginia, and who works in the film industry, both independent and corporate. Submissions are currently being accepted for the Sept. 5, 2020 festival and can be submitted at https://filmfreeway.com/PaddyTownFilmFestival.
"It is the desire to create growth in his students, rather than simply transfer information and allow them to remain stagnant, that sets this professor apart and makes him deserving of the Outstanding Professor Award," added another student of Dr. Morgart’s.
The former East Brunswick, New Jersey, resident currently resides in Keyser with his wife Kathrin, and their two children, Ada and Henry.