Noel Kaylor’s life has stretched across the globe as he has traveled and taught in numerous countries during his academic career.
Kaylor, a professor of German and English at Troy, studied for his bachelor’s degree in France. He studied for his master’s degree in Germany. He has taught and given presentations in Vietnam, Poland, South Korea, Chile and in numerous universities across Germany. His travels are an essential part of his job as a professor.
“Travel is important to anyone who teaches,” Kaylor said. “At the university level, research is essential to anyone who teaches. If you have not been to where the story takes place, you don’t know it.”
Traveling to where literature was written or events took place is essential to Kaylor because he believes that it is through experience that one can discover truth.
“Truth is what you can observe and prove,” Kaylor said. “Anything you cannot observe or, with evidence, prove, throw it out.”
While serving as an army specialist in the Medical Corps during the Vietnam War, Kaylor encountered the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche through his literature. After the war, he made it his goal to read Nietzsche’s works in their original language. This desire led him to move to Germany to study for his master’s degree where he learned German.
Over the past year, Kaylor has worked extensively with Inha University to create the “Inha at Troy: A Southern Experience” program, even traveling to South Korea to plan the program’s specifics.
““What we did with the Korean program is the way I have approached my life. You don’t read about it without doing. I learned German to read Nietzsche. Then I went to Germany. That’s what I do. I do my reading and I go.”
The Korean program followed much of this “reading and doing” mindset. As an excellent example, participants read “To Kill a Mockingbird” in Korean and visited Monroeville and met an individual who knew the author of the novel, Harper Lee. Many see Kaylor’s assistance as vital to the success of the program.
“His extensive knowledge of the field, his knowledge of the local area, his expertise in literature, his personal contacts, and his familiarity with Korean culture and with Inha University all lent a great deal to the success of this program,” said David Kent, English as a second language program director.
Inside the classroom, Kaylor teaches students to actually seek truth in their text not from other sources. This practice does not make him the right teacher for all students.
“He expects the best from his students,” said Cathy Hutcherson, English professor. “Those who want an easy class or easy credit miss the benefit of having a caring professor who helps them learn to think more critically and independently, and they probably don’t appreciate his classes.”
“Dr. Kaylor gave me a glimpse of the beauty of other cultures, and a hunger for exploring them. Dr. Kaylor always challenged me to be better at writing, and he showed me how. He challenged me to earn his respect, and once I did, he honored that,” said Susannah McQuitty, a junior English major from Franklin, N.C.
Kaylor’s office is located in Smith Hall Room 272, and he encourages any students interested in conversation to contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org.