Andy Farkas: professor, author and classroom influence

Classroom mentor: Assistant English Professor Andy Farkas has a book of short stories, "Sunsphere" coming out in March, and his novel, "The Big Red Herring," is set to publish later this fall. 

Professor Andrew Farkas, or Andy as he prefers to be called, is an English professor at Washburn University. After teaching at eight other colleges and universities for 15 years, Farkas came to Washburn University two years ago to teach English, specifically creative writing.

The creative writing program here is really fantastic,” said Farkas. “We have so many creative writing teachers and so many opportunities to teach different creative writing classes.”

Farkas received his bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and two masters degrees from the University of Tennessee and the University of Alabama. He earned his PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a focus on fiction writing.

“Because my focus has been fiction writing, that’s my favorite class to teach,” said Farkas. “I especially enjoy the advanced fiction writing workshop course that I teach. We have so many creative writers here at Washburn; it’s really exciting as a professor.”

Feedback from students reflects Farkas’s excitement for writing and teaching in the classroom. Junior political science major Caleb Soliday spoke about his first impression of Farkas’ advanced composition class.

“I was expecting a boring English class about grammar and essay writing. However, Andy brings an interesting take on English with his section on movie genre writing rather than research papers,” said Soliday. 

This influence on his students is something that Farkas also feels passionately about.

“I get to influence students by introducing them to works and ideas they have perhaps never encountered before,” said Farkas. 

As an English teacher, it is apparent that Farkas is passionate about the subject and his work as an English professor. For many people, writing is a way to express their ideas and feelings. Having a supportive environment in which to do this is key and one of Farkas’ goals for his classroom.

“English courses give students the opportunity to express themselves on paper and in the process gives them the opportunity to learn more about themselves,” said Farkas. “I prefer to run discussion classes. Consequently, I always try to make the students feel comfortable, so they feel free to share their ideas.” Farkas shared one of his philosophies for English. “As creative writing goes, always be suspicious of rules other authors claim apply to everyone all the time… including this one.”

As for his influence outside of the classroom, Farkas will be coming alongside Washburn University as they increase their participation in the Kansas Book Festival.

“The festival is a chance for Kansas writers to come together to both promote and sell their books,” Farkas said. “I’m really looking forward to getting more involved with this festival as my career at Washburn continues.”

Farkas is also an author of experimental fiction. This year, He will be releasing a book of short stories called “Sunsphere,” to come out in March, and a novel titled, “The Big Red Herring,” to come out in either October or November. Links to the two release websites are http://www.blazevox.org/index.php/Shop/new-releases/sunsphere-by-andrew-farkas-527/ for “Sunsphere,” and http://www.kernpunktpress.com/ for “The Big Red Herring.”