Dr. Peter Meidlinger has been a familiar face in Pearsons Hall since 1992. Chair of the English Department since 2008, this year he has taken on the role of associate vice president for academic affairs for undergraduate studies. As VPAA, Peter is leading the final stages in development of Drury's new general education curriculum, Drury Core: Engaging Our World, which will take the place of GP21 next fall. Here's a peek inside his office, which overlooks Burnham Circle.
- A photo on Peter's door shows students from Summer Scholars, a program he initiated four years ago along with Bruce Callen and Mark Wood, which introduces minority students to college life. Some from this first group will graduate high school in May.
- A lone can of sauerkraut might seem out of place. This is a souvenir from English department Christmas gatherings, where professor Kevin Henderson plays Santa, handing out quirky gifts. "All of the affection I feel for my colleagues is wrapped up in that sauerkraut can."
- Of all the hundreds of volumes in the office, a few enjoy the distinction of sitting on Peter's desk: the Dao, poems by Rumi, Poems of the Chinese Masters—all at arm's length. "In this new administrative position, it can feel like everything is urgent. Ancient poetry is good because sometimes we need to be reminded that we're not all that important."
- Bookshelves line all four walls. "There's the last 30 years of my life: books from grad school and some I bought last year. A bookshelf tells you a lot about someone." One book of haiku, A chime of wind bells, he's had since he was in college. "When things get intense, read a poem."
- Peter credits his son—Vernon, a 21-year-old student at Augstana University in Illinois—for much of his music taste. "I cannot get enough of Mumford & Sons right now."
- A small Buddha statue from a family trip to Taiwan "reminds me not to get bent out of shape with the little things."