Professor Profile: Kevin Laam

By Sarah Wojcik

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Kevin Laam has always had a passion for English.

“I love language and I sometimes wish I could find the easier word, but it’s oftentimes the more extravagant and complicated words that occur to me first,” Laam, associate professor of English, said. “Generally speaking, I’ve always been a language hound.”

Laam is different from most literature professors, focusing on ideas of happiness in Renaissance literature of the 16th and 17th centuries.

“(It’s) how different poets and playwrights theorized and conceptualized the pursuit of happiness and what it meant to be happy,” Laam said.

Lately, Laam is researching various discourses of concilation that circulated in early modern English.

In the classroom, Laam strictly stays away from PowerPoint presentations.

“I do try to be conversational and humorous in the way that I present materials because most of the classes that I teach,” he said. “Sometimes what that means as an educator is just really being a dork and being a geek and letting my fandom for the material show.”

Laam also tries to mix things up and keep things energetic in the classroom with “a little bit of lecture, a little bit of writing stuff on the board and a bad joke here and there.”

Laam teaches ENG 105: Introduction to Shakespeare, ENG 241: British literature survey ENG 301:Poetry, ENG 355: Renaissance Literature, and ENG 316: Milton and upper division and grad-level courses.

Laam also follows sports, particularly NBA basketball, and declares himself a pretty intense music enthusiast.

“I’m an ’80s guy, so (I listen to) a lot of really terrible ’80s pop music,” Laam said. “But really, all sorts of music, everything from independent rock to classical music to even a little country.”

Laam’s students reiterate his self-assessments.

“I like him because he is passionate about the subject, which makes class more entertaining. The only difficult thing is that his knowledge is intimidating,” senior Lindsay Rivenburg said.