Susan McHugh

Susan McHugh – Professor of English

My job at UNE gives me the freedom to create classes in what I want to do and to research and write about whatever I want to. Other jobs weren’t going to offer me those options — this job was the most wonderful opportunity.

The students are my favorite thing about UNE. Having worked in very different environments, UNE always struck me as a remarkable place because students are earnest and hardworking and nice to each other in a unique way. More competitive places have such unhappy people, and they hurt each other. That kind of casual cruelty is too easy to find in this world. I can count on my students to be kind of goofy with each other. They trust each other and can have fun and try to learn in different ways. That kind of environment doesn't exist often enough, and I really cherish that. UNE is a special place.


UNE is just so wonderful…it’s the small liberal arts experience that I wish I had done when I [went to college]. I went to UMass Amherst. It wasn't the same as UNE. I never knew my professors in the way that my students know me. I never had a sense of the extracurricular activities or what my choices were. I spend a lot of time talking students through clubs and extracurriculars simply because I wish someone had done that for me.

I’ve never taught a class larger than 25 students here, which is really nice. I feel like I get to know all of my students on a personal level, which is lovely. My classes are discussion-based. I’ve learned over the years to task students with leading discussions, which some find a little intimidating at first, but I think that, because of the general sense of generosity and niceness here at UNE, when someone is put on the spot, and they’re squirming a bit, others rush in to help. It’s a great technique to bring students together.