People of OU: Dr. Doris Plantus

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Dr. Plantus has been a professor in the Department of English since 2009.

Gabrielle Abdelmessih, Campus Editor

Professor. Mother. Bilingual Author. Musician. Artist. Winemaker. Auto mechanic. Proud owner of two goats. Excellence in Teaching Award recipient. Woman of numerous talents.

These are just a few of the many ways one could describe Dr. Doris Plantus, a professor in the Department of English since 2009.

A single mother of two boys, Plantus worked hard to provide for her sons, making auto parts for GM in her garage for six cents apiece and taking a job cooking before she went back to school to earn her Ph.D. in English.

“Well, happily, after all of this struggle, I got my Ph.D. at age fifty and that’s where my career at Oakland [University] starts,” Plantus said.

Shortly after earning her doctorate, Plantus began teaching courses for the Department of English and Honors College. Bible as Literature, an online course she created and further developed that she continues to teach, has remained a popular student favorite. Plantus was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2012.

Emphasizing interdisciplinary thinking in all of her courses, Plantus encourages students to think — not feel — when exploring the contents of her class.

“My philosophy of teaching is teaching students how to think and not what to think. I never tell them, ‘This is the only way you must look at this.’ I expose them to all kinds of ideas, and encourage them to use their minds to think things through rather than feel their way through subjects, which I think is kind of a real characteristic of our contemporary times,” Plantus said.

“People always default to how they feel. And I think, it contributes to a lot of strife and misunderstanding and angry discourse because people are trying to express knowledge through their feelings, rather than learning how to think about something and then having the language skills to put it in the right context and perspective, with respect for history and philosophy and other cultures and other times so that it takes us out of our very, self-involved activities.”

Embracing her Romanian heritage, Plantus is the author of a novella titled “Sihastrul” which was published in both English and Romanian. As a bilingual writer, Plantus has also translated Romanian literature to the English language.

Outside of academia, Plantus plays six different instruments: the mandolin, accordion, and hammered dulcimer to name a few. Using art to express her passion for life, she paints Eastern Orthodox iconography and makes sculptures using stones from all over the world.

Dabbling in culinary crafts, Plantus also loves to cook, make homemade sausage, as well as honor family traditions by vinifying an Eastern European wine derived from red grapes.

Happiest existing in a pastoral setting, Plantus shared that she takes care of two pygmy goats, Raphael and Theo, on her property.

“They’re just a delight, they follow me wherever I go, they get in my house, they do tricks…They keep me very humble because I have to get up at five in the morning and feed them and make sure they have hay. The loft in my garage is filled with 20 bales of hay and straw,” Plantus said.

“They’re quite interesting and they have a good life, and it gives me pause. It lets me reflect on the simplicity of life and what people used to have to do and still do that have animals.”

As a woman who promotes interdisciplinary thinking in the classroom, Dr. Plantus certainly approaches her life outside of OU in a multifaceted fashion as well.

“I really love life in all of its different aspects,” Plantus said.