James Helfers was born in Illinois and has lived in the Chicago area and in the Little Rock, AR area. After graduating from Wheaton College, he worked as a technical writer in California before returning to graduate school in English language and literature at the University of Michigan. He has worked at Arizona State University and Phoenix College, and directed and participated in the Cambridge Summer Study Program run by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies for five years. Dr. Helfers is married, with two grown children; his hobbies include bicycling and backpacking as well as martial arts.
Faculty Spotlight Questions:
I got to GCU from Arizona State University and Phoenix College, where I had been a visiting professor and adjunct faculty member for two years. I feel it was providential that I took a faculty position at GCU, when it was still a small, non-profit Christian school. In the almost 23 years I have been here, I have been a professor, a dean and a director of academic excellence. It feels good to be back in teaching.
I most enjoy my colleagues and students. They are a creative and committed lot, and my students constantly show me new things about our culture. I especially enjoy the fact that several of the Honors College general education courses are housed in the college.
My advice to English or English education majors is the same as my advice to all students: College is a time of exploration. Finding your purpose may involve some searching, as well as a focus on your field of study. Take the time to take courses in subjects that don’t directly relate to what you expect to be doing for money 10 minutes after you graduate.