Michele Small

Professor of English and Modern Languages

Office:Wheeler Hall 426
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Earned and Honorary Degrees

PhD, University of Minnesota
MA, State University of New York at Albany
MA, University of Nice, France
Fulbright Scholarship and Travel Grant, State University of New York at Albany
Licence d’Anglais, Faculté des Lettres, Université de Nice, France:
Certificate of American Civilization and Literature, with distinction
Certificate of English Philology, with distinction
Certificate of Practical Studies in English, with distinction
Certificate of English Literature, with distinction
Certificate of Lettres Étrangères d’Anglais, with distinction

Why Northland?

A child of the tropics, I am certainly not a lover of snow and ice, and yet, I am still here, in Ashland, Wisconsin, after more than four decades, because nowhere but at Northland could I have pursued my numerous zones of interest and created and taught over the years so many different courses. They have ranged from Exploring Alternative Futures and Systems Theory to courses in the standard English curriculum, to the new literature courses dealing with other cultures, to teaching the French and Spanish languages.

I need enormous intellectual stimulation and love my students, my courses, and my research: they fulfill me completely and keep me healthy and happy. So, in spite of all the challenges, aggravations, and bumps along the road, I am still here, teaching at Northland and loving every part of it! When the planet is your home and you do what you love, does it really matter where you live!


Spanish Program Website
ENG 211 Humanity and Nature in Literature
ENG 217 Contemporary Third World Literature
ENG 228 Literature of the Arab World
ENG 233 Women of the Third World (Spring seminar)
ENG 234 Seminar in Science Fiction
ENG 241 – CliFi: Climate Fiction
ENG 313 Literature of the Western World through the Renaissance
ENG 372 Nature in Latin American Literature
ENG 387 The English Language
ENG 415 Chaucer
MLG 105 Beginning Spanish I
MLG 106 Beginning Spanish II
MLG 205 Intermediate Spanish I
MLG 206 Intermediate Spanish II


Besides the classical offerings of a traditional English program in my areas of specialization: Humanity and Nature in Literature (Eng 211), Literature of the Western World to the Renaissance (Eng 213), The English Language (Eng 387), Chaucer (Eng 415), I have developed and taught many new courses which reflect my interest in other cultures: Contemporary Third World Literature (Eng 217) which includes men and women authors from Africa, Latin America, the East Indian continent, etc.; a spring seminar, Women of the Third World (Eng 233) which is a focus on women writers and women's issues in the developing nations of the world; Literature of the Arab World (Eng 228) with novels and short stories from many countries in the Arab world and weekly movies, each related to the book or area under study.

So, the essence of my life is the constant reading and reviewing of books―and I love to read! On the side of my couch, at home, there are three piles of books―in English, in French, and in Spanish―that never go down. As some books are read and put away, others take their place: books for research, award-winning novels from my French relatives, or wonderful “stuff” that I have picked up in Latin America.

Beyond the study of other cultures through literature, I have another very strong area of focus: this one related to the environment. I was an instructor at the State University of New York at Albany during the Earth Day celebrations in 1970 and this green interest, which has always been part and parcel of who I am, led me to continue my career at Northland College.

My latest area of research is a newly created course, Eng. 241, CliFi: Climate Fiction, in the emerging field of the literature of climate change which complements in the Humanities the work on climate change done in the sciences at Northland. Through fiction (short stories, futuristic scenarios, and novels) the various forms and impacts of climate change, all over the world, are examined in the physical environment, the human communities, and the lives of individual characters. This course, a literary expression of my training in Future Studies, allows me to blend the future, the nature theme, women’s issues, and a cross-cultural perspective on a global situation which concerns all human beings on this planet. I could not wish for a better project for me, professionally, in these challenging times.


A bi-national citizen (French & American), I was born in the island-nation of Vanuatu (known, before 1980, as New Hebrides) in the South Pacific. After the age of six, I spent my formative years in Madagascar and have lived in and visited many other places in all the continents. I belong to a “global family” with relatives all over the planet. Since we are part of that minority of global nomads who move around constantly, I consider the planet my home.

So, besides reading, I love to travel. The moment school is over, I am off going to Spanish-speaking countries, Spain or Latin America, to continue my research and maintain my language skills since I am the Spanish instructor of the Northland College Service Program in Spanish, but also to Europe to visit European relatives, or to other parts of the planet to reconnect with the “colonial” part of my extended family.