Meet Dr. Edward Whitelock

Faculty Spotlight

Meet Dr. Edward Whitelock; Department Head of Humanities and Fine & Performing Arts and Professor of English.

Whitelock grew up in the working-class town of Upland, Pennsylvania. He states that he had no high aspirations for himself, nor did too many others. Everyone expected him to eventually work at either the shipyard (like his father), the oil refinery or the auto plant. His father, however, pushed him to get an education. He ended up attending Millersville University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, earning not only his bachelor’s and master’s degrees but also his doctorate.

Whitelock came to Gordon State in August 1998. As a first-generation college graduate, he was drawn to Gordon for its access mission and commitment to first-generation students like himself (his father, who was born during the Depression, was unable, even, to graduate high school due to his family’s circumstances). Now, Whitelock loves helping baccalaureate students in English and Interdisciplinary Studies reach the finish line of graduation and teaching Colloquium courses. These courses allow him to guide students through deep studies on anything from the American Transcendentalists to the history of rock and roll.

Whitelock says the field of English specifically attracts him because, in his own words, “literature is central to human existence. Before there was written language there were stories told orally and passed down through generations. Literature exposes our best and worst elements and it serves as cultural history more honestly and permanently than, say, statues, which is why some view it as dangerous.”

Whitelock hopes that during his classes, all his students develop independent thinking skills and become less prone to accept the word of any authority, including himself, without question. Ultimately, he states that teaching here and being part of the Highlander community means contributing positively to the future of our students and our broader society. He mentions that “we live in a time when selfishness, arrogance, and ignorance are celebrated,” yet he says that “the character of a Highlander is in opposition to each of those characteristics.”

One of the most enjoyable professional experiences Whitelock has embarked upon at Gordon was a collaboration with colleague Dr. David Janssen that resulted in the 2009 publication of their book Apocalypse Jukebox: The End of the World in American Popular Music. Yet, his proudest moments at Gordon involve being nominated by students for three Gordon Highlander EDGE Awards. Aside from his work here, Whitelock has written professionally about popular music for most of the past ten years and has amassed a large personal music library that he claims makes Spotify redundant. He also enjoys cooking (and playing loud music while doing so) and spending many weekend mornings at estate sales looking for odd kitchen gadgets to add to his collection.