By RUDO ELLEN KAZEMBE’20
Professor Goluboff is a English professor at Lake Forest College, well known for collaborating with his students to ensure their success in his classes. According to one of his students, Brianna Schullo ’19, “Professor Goluboff is a very kind-hearted and considerate professor who always goes out of his way to make myself and other students succeed in his classes.”
Stentor: What did you study in college?
Professor Goluboff: I had three majors, because l went to a college that didn’t have a distribution requirement. So it was easy to major in three things: English, classics and religion.
Stentor: What strategies did you use to be successful in College?
Professor Goluboff: These are not strategies that l am sure that l would recommend to others. I was obsessive and isolated. I was all about studying and l didn’t have much of a social life. l lived in the library, so it was one of those things where I sort of made my whole life about academics and I was reasonably successful.
Stentor: How would you describe your journey from undergrad to Lake Forest College?
Professor Goluboff: Well, a lot of it is luck. Anybody who is reasonably successful at anything and doesn’t attribute some of it to luck is lying. You know, l had a lot of lucky breaks and lucky coincidences. There are a lot of people smarter than l, who are more talented than l who did not get to be tenured professors of anything—even though they wanted to. A lot of that had to do with luck. A lot of it also had to do with intellectual curiosity, caring about stuff, wanting to learn about stuff, and wanting to find out about different things. Some of it is force of will—just working real hard and losing sleep and putting ome other priorities and pleasures second. But l do think a lot of it is luck.
Stentor: Of all the articles that you’ve written, which do you like the most?
Professor Goluboff: I am very proud of an article that l wrote about Emily Dickinson, What did Emily Dickinson know about Roman Catholicism? I am very proud of an article l wrote about Tim O’Brien, an American novelist who wrote about the Vietnam War. l wrote a short article that a lot of people seem to have read and cited. It’s an article that tries to determine what is imaginary and what is historically verifiable in Tim O’Brien’s fiction. In the next couple of months, I am supposed to have a little book of poems come out, and I’m proud of that.
Stentor: What do you like the best about teaching at Lake Forest College?
Professor Goluboff: I like the classroom culture where students, some of them with some encouragement, will speak their minds. You have to work a little bit for students not to think that you are television and all they have to do is listen. But once you do that work, they are not shy about sharing their ideas and asking questions. l like that a lot.
Stentor: What advice would you give to undergraduate students?
Professor Goluboff: That’s easy: Read everything on the syllabus and then read a great deal of it that is not on the syllabus. The more you read, the better you write. The more you read, the better you think. The more you read, the more interesting your life is. It’s always sad to me that students either don’t do all the reading that they should, or they only do the syllabus reading. And l would love anyone reading this to take seriously the idea that you do have to read the syllabus.
Rudo Ellen Kazembe’20 can be contacted at email@example.com