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Q & A with Michael Mackey

Meet Michael Mackey - Professor & Chair of Humanities, Literature and Philosophy

Background

Degrees & Certificates

  • Bachelor or Arts - English, minor History | Colorado State University
  • Master or Arts - English | Colorado State University
  • Master of Divinity | Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Q&A

What do you do at CCD?

I teach four disciplines: literature, humanities, philosophy and English. In terms of philosophy, I largely teach religious studies courses. I also serve as the program chair for humanities, literature and philosophy.

 What awards have you received?

I was Faculty of the Year for our center back in the mid 1990’s.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy multiple aspects of my job. First off, I love the disciplines I teach. I am passionate reader who loves to learn and understand how we as humans have used our art, storytelling and religion to help make our lives make sense, both at an individual and communal level. There is an abundance of things to know in each of these disciplines, and, together, they inexhaustible! I will never run out of things to learn and that excites me!

Secondly, I also love introducing students to this material and being present as they come to understand what an immense treasure we have built together. There is nothing like being in a classroom that is alive with people learning together. It’s intoxicating and great way to spend a life!

Finally, I truly enjoy gathering and nurturing a group of scholars and teachers to study this material and engage students in its exploration. There is something deeply satisfying about carefully building and nurturing an academic community of friends, colleagues, and scholars. I have known some of these people for over 20 years now. The relationships that we have built over that span have enriched my life beyond measure. I am truly grateful to have been able to spend my life in this place, with these folks, doing this work. There is no place I would rather be.

 When you’re not working, what do you do?

I like spending time with my family. My wife and I have been married for over 30 years and we are the proud parents of a daughter who is just about to graduate from high school. She will be attending CSU next year as a third generation Ram! Beyond that, I also love to travel, read, hike, fly fish and follow the Broncos!

What moment at CCD stands out as the most memorable?

I have been here for nearly 25 years, so it is hard to pin down one moment, but I suppose the days when we have hired new full-time colleagues are some of the moments that stand out. For example, when we were finally able to hire Kurt Pond full time after all the years he spent as an adjunct; that was a special moment. The look on his face is one that I don’t think I will ever forget!

Who had the greatest influence on your education and/or career path?

That’s an interesting question. I suppose there are several. Dr. Patty Cowell and Dr. Rosemary Whitaker were two phenomenal English teachers I studied with at CSU. Dr. Ralph Klein was a professor of Hebrew Bible at LSTC. Dick Fleck was my first Dean at CCD and the gentleman that hired me. All are passionate teachers, kind, decent human beings, and skilled administrators. I suppose I have modeled myself on them in some key ways.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Wow. I don’t know. Here is one gem that has stuck with me—“The days are long, but the years are short. Enjoy the ride!” I suppose as my daughter gets set to leave home and strike out into the world of higher ed, that one rings more true every day.

Which three people (living or dead) would you invite to dinner, and why?

For someone who has spent a lifetime reading history, literature, art and philosophy, this is a tough one. However, assuming that language is not a barrier, I suppose I might choose Shakespeare, Socrates and the Buddha. They are all extraordinary figures who have delved deeply into what it means to be human and explored it from distinct but, I suspect, ultimately complimentary points of view. I’d love to hear stories from each of them. I’d also be fascinated to see if the image I have intuited from reading from them and about them is at all accurate to who they might be. It’d be a fun conversation! When can you set it up?

What or who can’t you live without?

I’m not sure, but certainly my family—my wife of 30+ years and our extraordinary daughter would be a good start. They have formed the core of my emotional life for decades. I think I would also want lots of books and access to nature. There is something deeply appealing in the cycles of nature for me. I find it healing, grounding and sustaining.