As an educator, Sydney Boyd described herself as endlessly curious. Meeting new people and helping them explore new ideas through critical thinking are what she loves about teaching writing. There’s so much more to the writing process than just writer’s block.
“To write something and then come back to it months later, you're a completely different person, because you've managed to develop all these new ideas,” Boyd said. “I love that writing can capture that development of critical thinking and just blossoming in the world as a human.”
Starting this fall, Boyd is Wells College’s Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric in the English department. Boyd has her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in English and music from the University of Idaho and Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she taught after she graduated. Boyd was the assistant director for academic affairs at NYU Washington, D.C., an adjunct assistant professor of liberal studies for arts and sciences at New York University, and a founding faculty member of English literature at Bard High School DC Early College. Boyd will teach specialized courses in rhetorical studies and professional and technical writing for first-year students.
Many courses Boyd taught at prior institutions focused on critical writing, historical literature, and music. Boyd said she started as a violinist in her undergraduate years in college.
“I got more and more interested in books about music, and I ended up studying the way that literature and music interact,” Boyd said.
Her portfolio includes music criticism, writing reviews on operas and symphonies and interviewing musicians or composers for publications like Houstonia Magazine, Houston Chronicle, Bachtrack, and Music and Literature. While teaching and working at Rice in its Humanities Research Center, Boyd organized a performance of “Inuksuit” by Pulitzer-prize winning composer John Luther Adams, a percussive and interactive live performance of 45 musicians within a grove of oak trees on the university’s campus. Using it as a teaching tool, Boyd said music has a way of being in everyone’s lives whether they realize it or not.
“For a lot of us, there are songs that we grew up listening to that remind us of really important memories and milestones, so music has a way of making us stop and think a little bit more intentionally about who we are in that place at that time,” Boyd said. “When we start paying attention to those things that are subconscious, a lot of really wonderful, new ideas can come out of that.”
Boyd said Wells is a warm, welcoming community. To students who want to get started writing, she advises taking any writing class to share their ideas and hear other’s stories.
“If you have the best and greatest idea in the world, it's not going to make any difference if it lives in isolation,” Boyd said. “I love the opportunity to be able to sit in a room and talk to young, curious minds about critical ideas and what makes the world valuable today.”