Simone Pilon

Chair
617 747-6329

"I try to have a very open classroom in the sense that I like the students to feel very comfortable to participate. My background is in French, so I want a classroom where students feel very comfortable speaking and realizing that it’s okay to make mistakes, and that’s part of the language learning process. My main goal is to try to have something creative that keeps them engaged and at the same time is organized so that they know what they’re doing and what is expected of them.

"In the last few years, I’ve really been interested in how we talk to students and their parents and all constituencies about the importance of the liberal arts, about the relevance of them. I think that today students and their parents are very focused on what an education’s going to provide, and not necessarily in terms of learning but in terms of what they’ll achieve post-graduation. Will they be able to find a job? Will they be able to support themselves? And it’s very understandable that people are very focused on that sort of outcome, this idea of 'what will I get from this degree?' So one of the things that I’ve really been interested in, in the liberal arts in general, is how do we talk about that relevance? How do we talk to people about the importance of the liberal arts and the relevance of liberal arts, and the fact that this is something important to study?

"The students are here to study music, and liberal arts are not necessarily why they came, and yet, I found the class engaged in discussions and willing to share ideas and willing to relate the class discussion to their experiences and to their thoughts, and that’s been very exciting for me, to see how engaged the students are. That level of engagement is really very high and, in my experience, I think that’s relatively unusual. I think part of it is that the students are so passionate about what they’re doing, and they’re so excited to be here, that they’re engaged."

Career Highlights
  • Ph.D., Québécois Literature, Université Laval
  • M.A., French Literature, McGill University       
  • Honors B.A., French Literature, University of British Columbia
  • Prepared a student edition of the canonical French Canadian novel, Maria Chapdelaine, by Louis Hémon (European Masterpieces, 2010)
  • Recent publications include "Why Study French?" in The French Review and an article (with Elizabeth Knutson) titled, "Crossing Frontiers: Materials on Religious Diversity in the Maghreb."
  • Leader of short-term and semester-long study abroad programs to Africa and Europe