This month we are highlighting Sean Wilkinson, one of our GEW instructors here at CSUSM. Interview by Carrie Morrow.
CM: Let’s jump right in. Why did you get involved in teaching?
SW: One word: money. Just kidding. Actually, I come from a background of educators. My mom was a teacher, and she worked in education my entire childhood, and so I’ve always grown up respecting educators. When I did my BA program at Santa Cruz, and I was studying literature, I think my favorite part about life up there was just working one-on-one with the professors. I always wanted to emulate them, and I also thought that by getting involved, I could bring in a fresh perspective.
CM: I like that! So, like me, I know you use a theme in your GEW class. Your theme is “Humor.” Why did you choose it?
SW: Humor is an all-inclusive theme. It doesn’t matter your culture, your upbringing, your background, your wealth – humor is something that involves everyone. It is also an interdisciplinary topic; it doesn’t matter what field you are going into, whether it is nursing or business, humor is being studied there. It’s grounded.
CM: That’s so true. Let’s move away from the work-related questions, now. What do you do when you're not teaching?
SW: I think my primary hobby is that I go to a lot of concerts. Before I started working full-time, and before I had my kid (who is one), I averaged about 85 concerts a year.
SW: Yeah – once a week, if not more, just to check out new talent – that’s why my hearing is so bad! Cautionary tale: wear ear plugs. Believe me.
CM: Oh, dear.
SW: I don’t go as much as I used to. I also go to Disneyland, probably more often than I should. I also dabble.
CM: I don’t know dabbling.
SW: You wouldn’t. I also play a lot of board games.
CM: What’s your favorite board game?
SW: Hmm. Sushi-Go.
SW: It's about sushi. And Camel Up.
SW: It's a camel-racing game.
CM: If you say so. Okay, back to the interview. What is your biggest advice for students?
SW: Don't text [as Professor Wilkinson texts on his phone]. Okay, seriously - recognize that learning is not just about the grade. It's about building community, expressing ideas, and conversation. The grade is just a grade. It does not inherently represent how educated you are. Commit to being engaged, and go past the bear minimum.
CM: Solid answer. Back to fun questions: you are stranded on a deserted island. What are three things you would want with you (besides family).
SW: A boat, a life jacket, and shark repellent.
CM: So practical. I would have said a book or something. Speaking of books, any recommendations for reading?
SW: Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ‘72 by Hunter S. Thompson. It’s very relevant. And The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.
CM: What was your last Netflix binge?
SW: Parks and Recreation.
CM: Well done, you.
SW: Ron Swanson is my spirit animal.
CM: I see it. The best.