Adam Stier, Ph.D.

Adam Stier, English


For Adam Stier, the study of English has been like a good book he just can't put down. The Beavercreek, Ohio native entered college with the intention of pursuing law school, yet became so inspired by what he was learning in his literature classes that, instead, he just kept reading.

Adam’s love for English stems back to a childhood spent getting lost in fiction novels, which led him to view storytelling as the core of what distinguishes humans from other animals. “Fiction is odd by design and challenges us to ask ourselves and each other the tough questions,” he said. “What is meaningful? What is good? Fiction’s great power is that it allows us to get outside of our own heads.”

Adam earned his bachelor’s degree in English with a dual focus in literature and creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 2006. He then moved north to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University where he continued his studies in English, earning his M.A. in 2008 and Ph.D. in 2013.

Shortly after submitting his dissertation, Adam learned of the opening at Lake Erie College and found himself being drawn to the College’s small, collegial liberal arts environment and its commitment to great teaching. “It didn’t hurt that the campus is so peaceful, and many of my friends and family are in Ohio,” he said.

Self-described as “hopelessly idealistic about the power of teaching,” Adam views teachers as the connection between the past and the future. “We’re essentially future-oriented, because we invest in the lives of young people (or sometimes not-so-young people with youthful ambitions), and pass on lessons from the past,” he said. “It’s a privilege to be that kind of intermediary for my students.” Apart from this role, Adam also relishes the opportunity to continuously be learning, not just by engaging with material he loves on a daily basis but by interacting with his students.

In his work, Adam’s primary interests include American literature, narrative theory, and film and popular culture. These interests are reflected in the courses he teaches, including 19th Century American Literature and Film and Television Criticism. Apart from class, he’s published and presented papers on the works of Henry James, John Dos Passos and Raymond Chandler, as well as on contemporary narratives such as Mad Men, Zodiac and Zero Dark Thirty.

Since joining the faculty at LEC, Adam’s favorite thing has been the small classes and the students here who fill them. One of his best memories is of a student who surprised the class one day by ordering everyone pizza, “just because.” “Of course, the only thing better than discussing great works of literature is discussing great works of literature over pizza,” he said. “The students’ energy here makes it all go.”

For Adam, the most valuable lessons he hopes to impart to his students are those of critical reading and effective written communication, though he believes that the study of literature carries many other real-world applications as well. “Studying literature teaches an empathetic understanding of diverse perspectives, comfort dealing with complexity and ambiguity, and the ability to identify and negotiate competing value systems,” he said. “You learn to appreciate the beauty in life and in art. My wish is that my students never stop learning.”