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Marcia Ann Bailey

Operations Manager at U-M Libraries, Class of '87

Why did you choose to become an English Major?

Reading had always been my gateway to other cultures and life experiences different than my own. I was fascinated by how a writer could describe a situation so well that I could feel a part of it. Moreover, I began to admire the ability of authors to carefully choose words to convey emotions, beliefs and meanings.

How have you used your English degree in your career?

I have been fortunate to have two very different careers. The ability to think critically, distill important information from numerous sources, and communicate to a diverse audience was invaluable in my role as a manager at AT&T. These skills have served me well in my current role as an Operations manager in the University of Michigan Libraries. The pace of change is ever accelerating, my English degree has give me a good foundation for understanding and communicating mission critical information to my work teams.

What literature shaped you?

My favorite and memorable reads and discussions during my studies include:

As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

Poetry Survey focusing on Wallace Stevens, T.S. Elliot and Ezra Pound (I hadn't thought I liked poetry but this class was an eye opener in that it showed how language could be used in a precise way to convey complex issues)

The University of Michigan English department was key to my understanding that it is not about how many words one uses, rather how one uses words.