Department of Language, Literature, & Communication Faculty

Dr. Jennifer A. Hughes
Chair, Department of Language, Literature, & Communication

Phone: 434-791-7129
Office: Frith Hall 317

Jennifer A. Hughes is an Assistant Professor of English, and is Chair of the Department of Language, Literature, and Communication at Averett University.  She received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Emory University, her M.A. in English from the University of Virginia, and her B.A. from Cornell University. She joined the faculty at Averett in 2013.

Dr. Hughes specializes in early and nineteenth-century American literature, and much of her work is in the field of humor studies. She has articles and essays appearing in The African American Review, A Concise Companion to American Fiction 1900-1950, The Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, and Southern Frontier Humor: New Approaches.


Dr. Catherine Clark,
Assistant Professor of English and French

Phone: 434-791-5764
Office: Student Center 115

You can’t do it. It’s simply not possible to spend more than two or three minutes with Dr. Katy Clark without getting swept up in her enthusiasm, her intelligence, her world perspective.  It’s a wonderful state of mind, Dr. Clark’s, where all things are connected, where everything is interesting and worth exploring.  She certainly has lived an interesting and diverse life.

Consider: A Texan by birth, she teaches both English and French.  She has taught in Paris and in Normandy.  She also has taught at Elon University and at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Before her graduate studies, Clark struck out on her own, with a backpack, and spent three months traveling across Europe to learn French firsthand.  She studied French formally at the Sorbonne (in Paris). The only American in her class, she rented an apartment on the Left Bank and walked to class.  She holds a black belt in taekwondo.

Not exactly a stodgy, pipe-smoking university professor.  She has chosen to teach at Averett because she likes the feel of a small, private school. “Being a graduate student at a large school was fine for me, but as a teacher [at UNC] I had students whom I connected with, but then never saw again once the class was done. At Averett, I have some students repeatedly — sometimes in English, sometimes in French — and the relationships we develop with our students are what allow us to be effective teachers.”

“When I was a student, I took an interdisciplinary course with two teachers who taught me how things connect,” Clark says. “Those teachers were extraordinary. They expanded my world view.”  This is what Dr. Clark now does for her students, daily, at Averett.


Doctor of Philosophy, Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Master of Arts, Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Bachelor of Arts, English and French, Salem College

Certificate, Cours universitaire d’été (CUE), Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne, Paris, France

Graduate studies, L’École Française, Middlebury College, Vermont

gazda1Antoinette Gazda,
Instructor, Department of English

Phone: 434-791-7101
Office: Danville Hall 105B

There might be a boring English, World Lit or other college class somewhere in America, but it won’t be taught by Antoinette Gazda.

Look at that face. It is captivating … the face of an actress who now teaches.

Verbally she gives real value to every carefully chosen and beautifully articulated word. Her timing is perfect, her expressions full of life and meaning. You will not look away.

She cheats a little with the face, in that she was born with a lot of its appeal. When you’re of Hawaiian, Spanish, French, Native American and Puerto Rican ancestry, you’re automatically going to look and sound interesting.

“I AM interdisciplinary,” she says, exhibiting constantly captivating intelligence, insights and self-awareness. “My dissertation, my face, the world … it’s all interdisciplinary. We are the face of the future!”

Truly she sees connections in all that we do — among disciplines, among peoples, in all of literature. And her enthusiasm for what she teaches is both infectious and nonstop, as is her energy.

“I would love to travel to places that would allow me to walk in the footsteps of the people I teach and have studied,” she says. “I want to go to Walden Pond, to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. I want to walk where Booker T. Washington walked, go back to Hawaii to see the Kilauea Volcano the way Mark Twain saw it. I want to walk in Machiavelli’s steps in Italy.”

Global, interdisciplinary. And very, very student-oriented: “Anyone who is thinking of enrolling at Averett should know that they cannot hide here. We will know you, we will stay aware of your progress and we will be there to help … on every step of your journey.”

In fact, she adds, “I let all of my students know that I see them and I want them to do the work and succeed. Also, I tell them that I am holding onto you. You can do this. We will do it together. If it doesn’t work out in the end, it is because YOU let go. I will not let go.”

The result? “They learn to reach beyond their grasp. They learn, ‘I can do this!’ And then they can see — and go — even further.”


Master of Arts, Liberal Studies with a concentration in English, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Bachelor of Arts, English/History with a minor in Religion, Averett University

Certificate, Writing Tutor, International College Learning & Reading Association

Dr. Jeremy W. Groskopf
Part-Time Instructor, English and Communication

Phone: (434) 791-5767
Office: Frith 317

Jeremy W. Groskopf is an instructor in the Department of Language, Literature, & Communication, teaching courses in film and media. He received his Ph.D. in Communication (Film & Media Studies) from Georgia State University, his M.A. in Film from Emory University, and his B.A. from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Dr. Groskopf specializes in silent-era cinema and advertising, but he has taught courses on sci-fi cinema, women in film, surrealism, and video games. His book project Profit Margins: The American Silent Cinema and the Marginalization of Advertising is contracted to be published with Indiana University Press.

hoffman2Dr. David Emerson Hoffman,
Professor of English /Journalism /Communications

Phone: 434-791-5774
Office: Frith Hall 314

Have you ever wished you had a teacher who really liked to teach? Here is an exact quote from Dr. David Hoffman: “As long as I’m in a classroom, I’m happy.” And he means it.
He joined the faculty at Averett about two days after dirt was invented (a long, long time ago), and he never wants to leave.
“Last fall I went on a sabbatical [a paid leave for study/travel] — kind of a rehearsal for my eventual retirement — and it did not go well. Boy, did I miss the Averett students.”

He used his time wisely — he attended and presented a paper at a conference in New Orleans; he spent some time at the beach and took a lot of photos, and he traveled to Europe for a couple of weeks. But thinking back on it, he admits that he just flat out missed a classroom and its students.

In fact, a bad teacher unknowingly shaped his life: “When I was in the 10th grade, I was very much involved in science. I even had my own little laboratory at home for experiments. But my science teacher that year really turned me off, and I started drifting toward the humanities. My English/Speech teacher was just outstanding. By the time I went to college, I knew I wanted to teach.”

And teach he has. First in high school, then in college. “I’m living the dream, actually,” he says. “I always say that I have four passions: teaching, writing, photography and walking with Sadie [his English setter] along the river. My wife heard that list; now I say I have five passions.”

A prolific and talented writer, Hoffman has articles published in the local paper often, usually featuring his photography and the lovely Sadie on their river walks (here’s an example: Even those morning escapes provide grist for his classes.

“When I’m not in the classroom,” he admits, “everything I do is preparing for future classes. Going in unprepared is the worst crime a teacher can commit.”

He asserts that the faculty at Averett know their business. “A student who wants an outstanding education can get that here. Our faculty members are very well educated, they know their areas and they are scholars.”

Even more important, he adds, is this: “Our students know that we are here to help … not only when they’re here, but even after they graduate. Some write to me even after they’ve been gone 10 years, and that’s great. We are here for our students.”


Doctor of Education, English Education/Curriculum and Teaching, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Master of Arts, Secondary Education/Journalism/Speech, Marshall University

Bachelor of Arts, Language Arts, Marshall University

Dr. Susan Huckstep,
Associate Professor,
Communication Studies/Journalism

Phone: 434-791-5751
Office: Frith 419

How has Dr. Susan Huckstep managed to avoid getting the nickname Peppermint Patty? The answer is, we do not know. You’d think that after all these years …

Here’s the story. You know those delicious York Peppermint Patties? She hands them out. Like they were candy (which they are). Do something wonderful, she gives you a Patty. Take a test or an exam, have a Patty. Need to be consoled about something? Patty. She even takes a boatload to graduation, stands in line and hands them out to her graduating students.

Truth is, she is a talented, accomplished and respected professor … and much more. She writes, she’s a photographer, and she is a huge supporter of Averett’s athletic teams, cheering them on with great enthusiasm. She is there for her students, wherever “there” happens to be.

Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, Huckstep visited colleges in person during her own final year in high school, and she stopped at Averett on her way to visit a school in North Carolina.

“I was immediately impressed by how friendly everyone was. It really was like one big family. Other schools had athletes separate from ‘regular’ students; not at Averett. Also, I liked that you could walk from the campus to just about anywhere you needed to go — it’s a real comfortable, friendly, convenient neighborhood setting.”

She happily enrolled at Averett and quickly discovered mentors who would guide her for many years. “The people who helped me when I was a student here continued to mentor and help me as I went through graduate work,” she says. As you would expect, she now is filling that role of ongoing mentor herself.

One aspect of education at Averett especially appeals to her — service- learning, where students provide a service to the off-campus community, serve an internship or perform some kind of research.

“Students in a service-learning environment just light up. We do a whole lot of internships, and they’re wonderful experiences.”

Huckstep also works to shape her classes to the individual students. “We get to know our students really well,” she says. “If I know that one wants to be a coach, for instance, or an entrepreneur or whatever, I shape the communications theory to fit that. It becomes personalized.”

One recent case shows both service learning and Huckstep’s encouraging personalization. “I recently talked a student into signing up for Advanced Public Relations, a service-learning class providing PR in the community. He resisted, saying it looks like too much work, others have great skills but I do not, I can’t contribute, etc.

“Yes, I agreed, it will require stretching yourself, but I think you can do it. He stayed and ended up being one of the stars of the class. In fact, he did so well that the community organization hired him at the end of the semester.”

You can bet he also got a Peppermint Patty.


Doctor of Philosophy, Communication Studies, Regent University

Master of Arts, Communication Studies, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Bachelor of Arts, English/Journalism/Communication, Averett University

Additional Master’s level study in Journalism and English

Dr. Marc Muneal
Associate Professor of English

Phone: (434)791-5099
Office: Frith 322

Marc Muneal is an Associate Professor of English, having joined the faculty in 2015. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature from Emory University, and his B.A. from Morehouse College.

Dr. Muneal is a specialist in British literature of the long 19th century, and teaches classes including the sophomore survey of British literature from 1770-present, upper-division courses on the Romantic and Victorian periods, and Caribbean literature and culture. He has publications appearing in Studies in Popular Culture, Nineteenth Century Studies, and Nineteenth Century Contexts. His current project is a scholarly biography of Fanny Cradock, a British television personality.

Dr. Charles Wuest
Assistant Professor of English

Phone: 434-791-7129
Office: Frith Hall 316

Charles Wuest is an Assistant Professor of English at Averett University.  He received his Ph.D. in English Literature from Southern Methodist University and his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Florida.  He has articles appearing in Studies in Philology and Papers On Language and Literature.  His poems have appeared in various magazines, including SubtropicsSouthwordVersePoetry QuarterlyThe Stickman Review, and The Toadsuck Review. His website is