Professor Profile: Pamela Mitzelfeld

By Jake Thielen

Oakland University English professor Pamela Mitzelfeld didn’t always want to be a teacher.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my English degree,” Mitzelfeld said.

Mitzelfeld, who graduated from OU with a Master of Arts degree in English, has been teaching in the university’s English department for 11 years.

She wrote her graduate thesis on Hamlet films, and she incorporates her knowledge of it into several of her classes, which include ENG 210, writing about literature and ENG 380, advanced critical writing. She also teaches a thesis proposal course in the Honors College.

Mitzelfeld also works as the associate director of the writing center in Kresge Library, and she does outside consulting work for companies such as Nissan and Volkswagen.

She traced her decision to go into teaching to a meeting she had with an advisor. While waiting for her appointment, she overheard her advisor giving advice to another student.

“He was really being helpful and clearing things up for this particular individual,” Mitzelfeld said. “It was sort of like an epiphany.”

“I just thought at that moment that’s what I’d like to do. I’d like to be able to work with students and help them, so teaching became the thing I wanted to do,” said Mitzelfeld.

Several of Mitzelfeld’s past students are glad that she had that epiphany.

“I absolutely loved her,” said Angela Logan, an elementary education major at OU. “She made her objectives and the goals for the class clear, so it was easy to keep on track. If you do the work and participate in class discussions, she’ll reward you with her quirky personality and a great overall class experience.”

Mitzelfeld said that developing her own teaching style that incorporates her personality has been the key to her success as a teacher.

“I try to keep a good sense of humor about it, keep things as engaging as possible, and do my best to create a classroom community,” Mitzelfeld said. “I like the fact that when students leave my classes they generally know people they didn’t know when they first came into class and they’ve made some friends. That’s important to me as well.”