Professor of English, WGS Director
- B.A., Goshen College, 1983
- M.A., Arizona State University, 1988
- Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago, 1998
- “From page to stage: Building Context for Teaching Shakespeare”: 2015 Mininger Faculty Scholarship Grant to spend two weeks in London attending plays at the New Globe Theater and the National Theater. I was able to see Shakespeare’s King John, Merchant of Venice, and As You Like It. At the National Theater, I saw Everyman and The Beaux’ Stratagem by George Farquhar. I also visited Charlotte Bronte’s home in Haworth on the Yorkshire moors.
- “The Feminist Faithful: Connecting Faith with Feminism through Transgression and Justice”: 2014 Mininger Conference Grant to attend the National Women’s Studies Association annual conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was co-chair of a session on the role of faith in feminist activism with Women’s and Gender Studies professors from other Christian colleges and universities: Dr. Linda Beail, Dr. Kelli McCoy, Ms. Heather Ross, Dr. Kara Lyons-Pardue, all from Point Loma University, and Ivy George, Gordon College.
- “From Theory to Practice: Understanding Global Gender Issues through Service”: 2013 Mininger Faculty Scholarship Grant to work with social justice work at the grassroots level in the fall 2013. For one month, I volunteered at the Corrymeela Community in Northern Ireland, supporting their peace and reconciliation work by hosting groups, as well as cooking and cleaning.
- In the spring 2014, I taught “Gender in Central America” for Whitworth University’s Costa Rica Center in Heredia for three months.
May Term 2016
Core 300, Global Issues: Gender in a Global Context
Spring Semester 2016
Engl 306, Shakespeare
Engl 201, World Literature
Core 300, Gender in a Global Context
Fall Semester 2015
Engl 301, British Literature I
WGS 325, Gender Theories
Engl 130, College Composition Online
May Term 2015
Engl 213, Shakespeare in Film
Spring Semester 2015
WGS 200, Introduction to Gender Studies
Engl 201, World Literature
Fall Semester 2015
Core 110, Academic Voice
Core 180-AW, Identity in World Literature
Engl 305, The Novel
Spring Semester 2014
WGS/Soc 196, Gender and Central America (Whitworth University’s Costa Rica campus in Heredia, Costa Rica)
National Women’s Studies Association, San Juan, Puerto Rico, November 2014
- Session Coordinator, “The Feminist Faithful: Connecting Faith with Feminism through Transgression and Justice,” with Dr. Linda Beail, Dr. Kelli McCoy, Ms. Heather Ross, and Dr. Kara Lyons-Pardue, Point Loma University, and Dr. Ivy George, Gordon University
Retired Faculty Luncheon, “Learning with Heart and Hands: Sabbatical Reflections,” Goshen College, October 2014
Costa Rica Presentations
- “Bringing Home the Work: Women’s Stories and Research in Costa Rica,” Monteverdi Institute, Monteverde, Costa Rica, June 2012.
- “Costa Rican Women’s Cooperatives,” presented student video at CASEM: Cooperativa Artisana de Santa Elena y Monteverde, June 2012.
“The Future of Women’s and Gender Studies at Christian Universities,” with Linda Beail, Point Loma Nazarene University, and Kristina LaCelle Peterson, Houghton College; moderated by Julia Stronks, Whitworth University. 3 April 2012.
Mennonite Church USA bi-annual convention “Bridges to Cross.” Pittsburgh, PA, July 2011.
- Paper Presentation, “Feminism and Faith.” Women in Ministry session.
- Co-leader with Joanna Shenk and Janie Beck. “Women in Leadership: Creating Circles of Solidarity.”
Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) Gender conference, “Changing Faces: Changing Opportunities & Campus Climates for Women & Men,” Abilene Christian University, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2010.
- Paper presentation, “Riding the Waves: Navigating Women’s Studies and the Women’s Movement on a Christian College Campus”
- Panel organizer, moderator, presenter with Bob Yoder (Campus Pastor) and Emily R. Graber (English major), “From the Classroom to the Church: Opportunities for Women in Ministry Leadership Development in Christian Higher Education”
British Literature to 1800
World Literature: Postcolonial Studies
Genre Studies: History of the Novel
Academic Voice (Speech and Writing)
Women’s and Gender Studies:
Introduction to Gender Studies
Gender and Race in Literature
Women and Development in Costa Rica
Gender in a Global Context
Costa Rican Study Service semester (Program director, San José, Costa Rica)
Borderlands: Immigration in Context (Instructor, San Antonio/McAllen, TX)
Book review of Mothering Mennonite. Rachel Epp Buller and Kerry Fast, eds. for Mennonite Quarterly Review (forthcoming).
“Body and Spirit.” Timbrel: Publication of Mennonite Women USA 14.3 (May/June 2011): 7-9.
“Empowering young women through holistic teaching and learning.” Equipping: Pastoral Newsletter for MC USA March 2011. Also appeared in the Mennonite Weekly Review 11 April 2011. Online.
Book review of Sarah Klassen’s A Feast of Longing in Mennonite Quarterly Review 84.4 (October 2010).
“Cast Off Cynicism and Cast Your Vote.” Peer Review: Publication of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) 10.2/3 (2008): 43.
“‘Sloughing off Ribs’: Revealing The Second Sex in Julia Kasdorf’s Poetry.” Mennonite Quarterly Review, 7.4 (October 2003): 589-611.
“Katherine Anne Porter’s ‘The Grave’: Women’s Writing and Re-visioning Memory,” Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering 4.2 (Fall/Winter 2002): 51-64.
“When Flesh becomes Word: Creating Space for the Female Body in Mennonite Women’s Poetry.” Mennonite Quarterly Review, 72.4 (October 1998): 677-688.
Mininger Research Grant: “From page to stage: Building Context for Teaching Shakespeare,” London, England, 2015
Mininger Conference Grant: “The Feminist Faithful: Connecting Faith with Feminism through Transgression and Justice,” San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2014
Mininger Research Grant: “Service for Peace,” Northern Ireland, 2013
Mininger Research Grant: “Bringing Home the Work,” Costa Rica, 2012
Mininger Grant: Mennonite Church USA conference presentations, 2011
Mininger Conference Grant: Women in Leadership Development Institute, 2010
Faculty Advocate for Students Experiencing Sexual or Interpersonal Violence (2015-2017)
Gender Task Force, 2015-2016
Teacher Education Advisory Committee, 2001-2006, 2008-2013, 2014-present
Faculty Learning Community, 2014-2015
Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force, 2008-2012, 2014-2015
- Attends College Mennonite Church; mentor for high school student
- Helped coordinate College Student Sister Care April 2015 and October 2016
- Mennonite Women USA board member, Editorial Representative, 2011-present
- Chair, Mennonite Women Editorial Advisory Committee
- Member, Mennonite Women Bible Study Advisory Committee
- Presentations at Mennonite Church USA bi-annual convention “Bridges to Cross.” Pittsburgh, PA, July 2011.
- Attended AMBS conference, “My soul rejoices in God my Savior: Mary in Anabaptist dress” March 2011
- Coordinated gathering of Women Leaders in the Mennonite church, co-planning with Joanna Shenk, Mennonite Church USA. November 2010
Beth Martin Birky has been teaching English and Women’s Studies at Goshen College since 1993. Following graduation from Goshen College in 1983, Dr. Birky taught high school English at Christopher Mennonite High School in Lansdale, PA, until 1984. She went on to study Eighteenth-century British fiction, receiving her MA from Arizona State University and her Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago. Her Masters thesis was editing several chapters of Tobias Smollett’s Roderick Random for her thesis director, OM Brack, Jr.’s, editing work on that novel. Her dissertation under Dr. Thomas Kaminski is titled, “Penitents or Prostitutes? Narratives of Fallen Women in Eighteenth-century English Fiction.”
During her time at Goshen College, Dr. Birky has chaired the English department (2001-2006, 2008-2012) and directed the Women’s Studies (later the Women’s and Gender Studies) program (2001-2006, 2007-present). Dr. Birky has also held a variety of administrative positions: Writing Center Director (1996-2001), Summer Housing Coordinator (1998-2000), General Education director (1999-2003), Humanities division Co-Chair to Academic Affairs (2003-2006, 2009-2011), Faculty Chair (2005-2006), and Interim Associate Academic Dean (Spring 2007).
As an advocate for students and gender issues on campus, Dr. Birky has been involved with a variety of student groups, campus issues and events. Since 2014, she has served as the adviser to the Goshen Student Women’s Association (GSWA) and the Goshen Monologues. In 2015-2016, she has served in a new position as faculty advocate for students experiencing sexual or interpersonal violence. In this role, she is available to talk with any student who has a concern for himself/herself/themselves or for a friend.
Dr. Birky also has program review experience, serving as an External Consultant for Indiana Wesleyan University English department, Marian, Indiana (October 2013); Whitworth University Women’s Studies program, Spokane, WA (April 2012); and for Northwestern College English Department self-study, Orange City, IA (February 2006). She was also a member of Goshen College’s NCA (North Central Accreditation) Committee (2002-2005) and served on the campus General Education committee (1999-2003) and revision task force (2010-2012).
Dr. Birky has been active with Women’s and Gender activities in the CCCU (Council of Christian Colleges and Universities), attending several conferences and the Women’s Leadership Development (WLDI), at Cedar Springs, WA, June 2010. She has collaborated with Point Loma University professors Dr. Linda Beail and Dr. Bettina Pederson on projects and presentations at national conferences.
Dr. Birky has also serves on the Mennonite Women USA board as the Editorial representative. As such, she works closely with editor Claire DeBerg on the organization’s publication, Timbrel, and their Bible Study Guide series. She has worked closely with Sister Care coordinators Rhoda Charles and Carolyn Heggen on adapting Mennonite Women’s Sister Care program for college-aged women. She hosted the first pilot at Goshen College in April 2015 and a follow-up workshop October 9-10, 2015.