Dr. Simon Ruchti has been teaching for eight years, four of which at West Chester University. She teaches in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Some of her classes include Queer Theory, Women Today and Sexual Identity and Culture. In the past she has taught Introduction to Theater and Race and Gender in American Theater. Out of all these classes she says her favorite to teach is Queer Theory. “It challenges the students to really think, in fact it challenged me to think,” Ruchti said of the class. Dr. Ruchti is also the unofficial advisor to Poesis, a spoken word and performance club on campus.
Doing her undergraduate work at Mount Holyoke studying theater and dramatic literature, she moved on to NYU to study performance studies and earned her PHD in Interdisciplinary arts at Ohio University. She was involved in clubs that equivalent to LGBTQA, and earned high honors due to her outstanding academic achievements.
She also did activism work while in college. Dr Ruchti says her biggest academic accomplishment is finishing her dissertation on Drag Kings, John Wayne and Mormon men, and their performance of masculinity. She describes her biggest life accomplishment as “the coolest thing ever” when she had her son Patrick, who is now two years old.
One of her goals in life is to write a book. She explained that she already has parts of it written, but that she’d like to complete it someday. She explained that the book is about creating performances in a way that challenges what it means to be normal. The book would be used to create and analyze movies, music and plays. Dr. Ruchti already has a few things published; an article called “Body Worlds,” an essay on Mormon men’s masculinity and a book review on queer phenomenology.
The one thing Dr. Ruchti loves most about West Chester University is the students.
“I love how they are all so goofy…they get excited about learning.”
She explains how students sometimes pretend to not be excited about learning new things, but she can tell on their faces that they are really excited inside.
She describes this as “fun to watch.” Dr. Ruchti’s advice to students is to “get the most out of your college education.” She challenges us to challenge our professors. “Don’t take what they say as the final word. Question, question, question what they say; after all it’s not set in stone.”
Some students wanted to share with the student body some reasons why Ruchti should be featured in The Quad. Virginia Smith, a fourth year communication studies major, explains that not only is Simon the “coolest professor ever,” but also that “this campus would be a less interesting, less intellectual and quite frankly bland without Simon Ruchti.”
Virginia has taken three classes with Ruchti and explains she loves Ruchti as a professor because “she treats her students like intelligent adults. It is rare that Ruchti makes me feel like I don’t know enough to participate in class or make me feel like I can’t ask a question.”
Another student, Kacey Doran, a fourth year Women’s and Gender studies major, has taken Queer Theory and Race and Gender in American Theater with Dr. Ruchti.
She explains she took these classes with Ruchti because “The content of Ruchti’s classes is interesting, she is incredibly engaging and helpful, I feel safe to make mistakes because the environment she provides is welcoming, and I learn more in her class than I ever thought possible.”
Kacey loves Ruchti’s “amazing sense of compassion and humor, even at the worst of times.”
Kacey explains that she thinks Dr. Ruchti should be featured in The Quad because “It’s the least she deserves after everything she does for her students, and she’s easily the most interesting professor on campus.”
Kacey also thinks that everyone should take at least one class with Dr. Ruchti before they graduate.
Dr. Ruchti has done tremendous things for this campus and should be recognized for those things. She cares about her students and is compassionate about her job. She is someone everyone should take the time to get to know. Her office is located on the first floor of Main Hall, for students who would like to stop in
Rebekah Balmer is a fourth-year student majoring in women’s and gender studies and sociology . She can be reached at RB649636@wcupa.edu.