Professor of English Luke Reinsma
View the photos full screen or see the Flickr set to get a closer look at how Dre settled into SPU. Photos by Luke Rutan.

The Life of the Program

How the director of UScholars enlivens the road less traved.

For many of us, Professor of English Luke Reinsma is the embodiment of the University Scholars program. Every Winter Quarter, he and Assistant Professor of Classics Owen Ewald introduce freshmen to the “Texts and Contexts” (TC) sequence. The class tours works from Homer to Vergil, and you’ll find Dr. Reinsma perched on the edge of a desk play-acting what the Greek gods must have said about poor Odysseus (Ulysses) below. He’ll give his hair a two-handed yank when posed with a difficult question, or gasp if an elegant comment takes him by surprise. And the class is sure to sing a round or two of Sumer Is Icumen In before the quarter’s end. These are just a few of Dr. Reinsma’s well-recognized and adored idiosyncrasies.

His devotion to a passionate education is measured in the trips to coffee shops with students; it is affixed to the copious notes on each student’s essay, encouraging and dismantling ideas to push us all to think and write well. His attention and care for students’ work validates their efforts and ascribes value to their work.

And Dr. Reinsma is a part of every UScholar’s experience beyond the first TC class. He shares his love of the central Cascades with students by inviting anyone to join him on weekly Thursday hikes up Mount Si. Required one-on-one meetings meant to track students’ progress on honors projects lend themselves to discussions of campus politics, faith backgrounds, and whatever is most pressing and meaningful to the student. He is an outstanding teacher, advisor, and for many, mentor.

Dr. Reinsma tells his students every year that our education is not limited to the classroom, but is developed from our own readings, our involvement on and off campus with current issues, and our desire to continue learning after we receive our diplomas. I can confidently say that I will be a lifelong learner because of the model he has set for me and all of his students.

Read Professor of English Luke Reinsma’s own essay, “Teaching as a Subversive Activity,” at

About Katie Talbot: Katie is a senior from Ferndale, Washington. She is double-majoring in global development studies and Latin American studies. Her honors project assesses non-traditional agricultural exports as a rural development strategy in Guatemala. Katie will begin her masters in sustainability studies at Arizona State University this fall, and hopes to pursue a career in sustainable agriculture and community food issues.

By Senior Katie Talbot

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