Faculty Stories: Jason Snart

Jason Snart

Program: English

A passion for creative writing and literature, combined with a love of learning, led Jason Snart to make teaching his life’s work.

“It was obvious to me that teaching was a way I could continue to do what I loved about being a student,” he said. “While my title has changed, the spirit of how I feel about the classroom hasn’t. I feel as much as a student participant in the classroom as I do a teacher. I have the same level of enthusiasm for what I’m doing now than I did when I was a student.”

Not long after earning his Ph.D. in English at the University of Florida in 2002, Snart joined COD, where he teaches a variety of classes that includes composition, creative writing and literature. He emphasizes that there is no one-size-fits-all, cookie cutter approach to teaching and aims for an open environment in the classroom designed to encourage students to choose topics that interest them, instead of directing students to merely focus on completing the coursework.

“I try to challenge students—and encourage them to challenge themselves—in an environment that supports risk-taking and creativity,” he said. “I work to set things up so that students have the opportunity to be invested in what they are doing for the sake of what they are doing, instead of just trying to get a grade. When students have the opportunity to drive their own education, they often are more committed. That is when you see students dig in and do real work.”

For Snart, one of the most important and gratifying parts of teaching is seeing students have breakthrough moments in the classroom.

“It is not necessarily the ‘B’ student becoming the ‘A’ student,” he said. “The real breakthrough is when you see a student’s realization that they have gone above and beyond what they thought they were capable of doing.”

In 2021, Snart was named the College-Wide Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member.

“Given how many great faculty there are among my colleagues, I’m humbled and even a bit intimidated,” he said. “These are big shoes to fill, not only those of past winners, but also in terms of the sheer talent I see around me at COD every day.”

Snart believes in the College’s mission of providing open access to students from a wide range of backgrounds. His job involves undoing students’ self-perception.

“So many different kinds of students come through the door and many of them have never pictured themselves as a college student,” he said. “When students like that self-realize as college students and see what they can do, it can impact their life well beyond my class and far into their future education and even their career. My job as a professor is to scaffold opportunities for that to happen.”

Learn more about the English program at College of DuPage.