Dr. Nichole DeWall

Photo of Dr. Nichole DeWall

Professor of English

Ph.D., English, Northeastern University

M.A., English, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

B.A., English, St. Olaf College

  • Faculty member since 2008

  • Adviser to the Literary Interest Society, Former President of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society

  • Committees: Academic Excellence Celebration, Brown Bag

  • Teaching interests: Medieval and Renaissance literature, the works of Shakespeare, 17th and 18th Century literature, dramatic literature, English composition

  • Research interests: Shakespeare

Dr. Nichole DeWall’s passion for the works of Shakespeare began when she was a freshman in high school. After reading one of his plays in class for the first time, she thought it was so beautiful she couldn’t sleep well for days. Years later, she has channeled her appreciation for Shakespeare’s writing into not only teaching her fellow literature-loving students about his work, but perhaps even more importantly, introducing non-majors to the linguistic beauty that still inspires her.

Quotation Graphic"I got into this profession because I believe people who read literature are fundamentally better human beings: more compassionate, more responsible, and more alive," Dr. DeWall said.

“I chose to make a career at a liberal arts institution like McKendree because I didn’t want to spend a lifetime teaching English majors only. Instead, I wanted to hook students who had, for one reason or another, decided that literature wasn’t for them,” Dr. DeWall added.

Dr. Nicole DeWall Instructing StudentsEncouraging learning beyond the classroom is one way that Dr. DeWall seeks to reach her students in new ways, while also furthering the intellectual climate at McKendree. A member of the Brown Bag Series committee, she helps select speakers from a wide range of backgrounds to offer their insights on topics that expand students’ view of the world. In the fall semester, Dr. DeWall led the Hett Distinguished Speaker seminar, which exposed students to the written works of speakers featured in the 2017-2018 McCammon Distinguished Speaker Series. The new honors course gave students a stronger understanding and appreciation for each speaker in the Hett’s thought-provoking series.

In the same way, Dr. DeWall incorporates outside learning experiences in her Shakespeare classes through live productions. “Studying Hamlet without attending a production of it is like studying a musical score of Handel’s Messiah without ever hearing it played,” she said. “His plays were meant to be performed! The wonderful thing about living near St. Louis and Chicago is that there are so many opportunities to see world-class productions of Shakespeare’s plays. I hope that by introducing students to live theater during college, they’ll be more likely to become lifelong playgoers and patrons of the arts.”

Dr. DeWall’s research also adds new layers of depth to her classes as she explores the different ways filmmakers continue to portray Shakespeare’s plays over time. Currently, she is investigating the role of Shakespeare filmmakers over the last 50 years, and the way the film industry’s commercialization has affected the cultural currency of his plays.

Dr. DeWall accepted the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award in November 2016.

Learn more about McKendree University and our English degree program.


Make It McKendree