Mayfield takes helm as chair of Division of Languages and Literature

Dr. Arch Mayfield, professor of English at Wayland Baptist University, is now serving as chairman of the Division of Languages and Literature at Wayland.

Mayfield, who began teaching at Wayland in 1973, replaces Dr. Don Cook, who stepped down to concentrate on teaching and writing and who, incidentally, was Mayfield's Sunday school teacher from 1958-61.

A native of Weinert, Mayfield came to Wayland in the spring just two courses shy of earning his master's degree from Hardin-Simmons University. Filling the shoes of a retiring professor, Mayfield completed his degree the summer after that semester. He went on to earn a doctorate in English from Texas Tech in 1988.

While at Wayland, Mayfield has regularly taught classes in freshman composition, fiction, British literature and American literature, which he considers his specialization. He also teaches advanced-level English courses.

Mayfield considers his time at Wayland valuable and hopes to continue the tradition of excellence the division has long enjoyed.

"I hope we can continue to make an effective contribution to the liberal arts part of the university mission statement," he said.

"One thing I try to emphasize is that literature is an outgrowth and interpretation of life. If you keep that connection, it keeps you seeing that what you're studying fits into your education."

Cook, who first came to Wayland in 1964, holds quite possibly the record for the longest tenure as a division chairperson. He took the helm of the division in 1968 and has seen it through various transitions.

After those years in leadership, he said he enjoyed the chance to take it easier.

"I welcome the opportunity in my remaining years at Wayland to concentrate more on teaching - my first love - and writing and to step aside and allow Dr. Mayfield, who is eminently qualified, to chair the division," Cook said. "He is respected and admired by the members of our division and the entire academic community."

A graduate of Hardin-Simmons, the University of Texas-Austin and Texas Tech, Cook said he had opportunities over the years to move up to bigger institutions, but enjoyed his role at Wayland.

"The environment here is very pleasant, almost ideal. I have enjoyed the support of truly dedicated faculty and administrators and take a measure of pride in working closely with good people whose concern for growth has been tempered with a genuine concern for quality," he said. "I am pleased to have played my small part in the success of the Wayland venture."

During his time at Wayland, Cook has taught most English courses in the catalog, with a fondness for advanced grammar, poetry, linguistics and Shakespeare. He has served on many faculty and administrative search committees, received several university service awards, published a collection of religious poetry and sponsored a men's Christian fraternity. Cook was appointed the Danforth Associate for Wayland in 1970 and was nominated three times for the Piper Professor award, selected once as Wayland's designate.