After years of living with a strict military schedule, D. Alexis Hart has found a new, hopefully permanent, home at Allegheny College. She has moved to Meadville, Pa and hopes to bring a new culture to the college.
“Teaching has always been my first love,” states Hart, “I enjoy working with first years because they are less seasoned.”
The associate professor of English and director of writing at Allegheny College just finished up her first year at the school located in Meadville, Pa. But no new professor has as great of a story as Hart.
Born to a military family in Klamath Falls, Ore, Hart lived a surprisingly normal childhood.
“I had a stable childhood but also had a military childhood,” describes Hart.
Hart’s father is a third generation professor and military member so her career path seemed almost picked out for her. She originally wanted to go to school to be an engineer and then a Navy pilot but decided against it once arriving at her college.
Hart attended the University of Rochester on a Navy ROTC scholarship and decided to pursue her love for English and rhetoric. This was more aligned with her grandfather who was a poet. Hart likes to refer to her career decision as right down the middle between her father, a math professor in Oregon, and her grandfather.
Going to school on a Navy ROTC scholarship was not always easy for Hart. She had to do a lot of work and at least one month of active military duty.
“I was not in a sorority but I was in a fraternity,” Hart recalls, “The letters were ROTC.”
After finishing her degree at the University of Rochester, Hart went on to join the supply corps commission before earning her doctorate degree from the University of Georgia.
Hart went back to her military roots when she decided that she wanted to pursue her desire to be a professor when she took a job at the Virginia Military Institute. Hart spent nine years as a professor there and did great work.
One of Hart’s greatest accomplishments while at the Virginia Military Institute was receiving a grant to study what happens when military veterans come back to the United States and enroll in college.
After her years at the Virginia Military Institute, Hart decided to take a job at Allegheny College. She decided to do this mostly because she wanted a change. She was used to the military lifestyle and was ready to make an adjustment to the more loose structure of a liberal arts college.
“Academic culture is not military culture,” says Hart, “I’ve always tried to bridge that gap.”
Hart has a few goals for what she wants to do at Allegheny College. She wants to cultivate a culture of writing that she currently does not see at the college. She also plans on fixing the negative connotation that involves the school’s learning commons. She believes most students believe the only people that should go there are those that are struggling with their writing. Hart hopes that eventually all writers, good and bad, take advantage of the learning commons.
Professor Hart believes she has a bright future at the college and hopes to be around the school, along with her husband Michael Crowley and two children Amelia and Agetha, for a long time.