Ohio University

Faculty Focus - Matt Wanat

Faculty Focus - Matt Wanat

Full Name: Matt Wanat

  • Birthplace: Ohio Amish country, Holmes and Wayne Counties
  • Title: Associate Professor of English
  • Department: English
  • Number of Years Teaching: Since 1995
  • Number of Years at OU Lancaster: Since 2009
  • Degrees/University/Dates: B.A. English and Education, Denison U, 1995, Ph.D. The Ohio State University, 2001

Greatest Accomplishment(s):

A couple of my collections of essays include The Films of Clint Eastwood: Critical Perspectives and Breaking Down Breaking Bad: Critical Perspectives.

I won RHE Professor of the Year in 2018-19.


Q. What led you to Ohio University and how long have you taught at the Lancaster campus?

  • I am originally from rural southeastern Ohio with family from Holmes and Belmont Counties. I love the region. Though I taught for five years in North Dakota, I am glad to be back home.

Q: What are the areas of campus and community engagement in which you are involved? How does this support or impact your teaching?

  • I am a sensei at the Lancaster Karate Club, and have been involved in Lancaster campus environmental and arts programming. Last year I coordinated a Diversity in Comics roundtable. For many years I coordinated an organic campus vegetable garden. Students worked in the garden and produce was donated to Foundation Dinners, a local kitchen.

Q. What is one thing your students may not know about you that you would like to share?

  • I grew up spending a lot of time in the woods. It’s a good way to grow up.

Q: Who is your biggest role model and why?

  • Humans are fallible. There are many whom I respect, but I do not romanticize people. People are people, as they should be. I learn a great deal from literature and film and blues music. The world of books, of music, of cinema cannot substitute for getting out there and working or walking in nature, but they are instructive. These arts can show us how to live, and how not to live. They can show us messiness and complexity of human and biotic life. They speak to us if we will listen.