Conville selected as instructor of year

Bryon Conville serves as the Taylor Library director and an English teacher for the Co-Lin Simpson County Center. Conville was recently named the 2017 Humanities Instructor of the Year for Co-Lin.

The Mississippi Humanities Council celebrates the occasion by supporting Humanities Teacher Awards to one humanities faculty member at each institution of higher learning in the state 29 total. Only the president or appropriate dean can nominate the faculty member, and the nominations must be received in September.

The Mississippi Humanities Council is a private nonprofit corporation funded by Congress through the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide public programs in traditional liberal arts disciplines to serve nonprofit groups in Mississippi. The humanities are the study of history, literature, religion, languages, philosophy, and culture.

The Mississippi Humanities Council mission is to create opportunities for Mississippians to learn about themselves and the larger world and enrich communities through civil conversations about history and culture.

Conville is a graduate of Auburn University, and he received his master’s in library science from the University of Alabama and a master’s in education from William Carey University. He has been a member of the Co-Lin faculty for 12 years. Conville explained that he began working with the Simpson County Center in 2005 when the facility first opened. He and his wife moved to Mississippi from Charlotte, NC. Conville and his wife Alison, are the parents of two sons, Daniel and Michael. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar and banjo, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and camping.

 He said, “We moved here because my wife is from Mississippi so we wanted to move back. Once I got this job as the librarian with Co-Lin Simpson County Center we did.” He described the experience of being able to start a library from scratch, and building the book collection as fulfilling. Conville said, “I am the only librarian here so I get to do a little bit of everything.”

 After running the library successfully for four years Conville decided it was time to add teaching to his list of duties. He began teaching English classes in addition to his librarian duties in 2009. Conville teaches English Composition I and II and British literature. He received the Howell C. Garner High Performance Award in 2006 and was selected as the Simpson County Center’s Faculty/Staff Member of the Year in 2015.

He is also a graduate of the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy in 2017. Conville explained that Vice President Dr. Dewayne Middleton nominated him for the Humanities Instructor of the Year Award in September, and that he was chosen. In addition to receiving the award Conville explained that he has to do a presentation on the humanities. Conville said, “I am putting together a presentation which is looking at the similarities between heroes journeys in various popular films and books.” His presentation is titled “Monomyth: The Hero’s Journey through Literature and Film”. The monomyth is a template developed by Joseph Campbell that describes stages and a narrative pattern in tales that involve a hero who goes on an adventure. Conville said, “Joseph Campbell identified common stages that all of these stories have. You can see the similarities in narrative structure of series such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Arthurian Legends, and even the Lion King.” According to the theory of the monomyth the hero starts in a mundane world and is then drawn into a magical world beyond their everyday life. They then go through a series of trials and emerge victorious. Along the way the hero receives aid from a mentor or supernatural aid of some kind.

Conville explained that story tellers for eons have unconsciously been following the same pattern. His fascination with this concept came after reading Joseph Campbell’s work “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” which describes how all heroes undergo the same journey. Conville said, “It was one of his criticisms, the retelling of the same story.” He went on to explain that joseph Campbell was influenced by Carl Jung who described people as having a collective unconscious and archetypes and how they are recognized through story telling. He laughed and said, “It gets mystical almost supernatural. They told me I had to do this presentation on the humanities and it’s open to the public. It’s not geared towards teaching a class so it can be more entertaining that what I usually can do.”

Conville was ecstatic to receive the award, and is looking forward to sharing his love for the humanities with others. He said, “It was a pleasant surprise for me to receive it. I certainly wasn’t expecting it and I was honored. I get to put together an interesting presentation.” He expressed thanks to Dr. Dewayne Middleton, Dr. Ronnie Nettles, and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Conville’s presentation entitled “Monomyth: The Hero’s Journey through Literature and Film” will be held on Wednesday, November 15, at 12:15 p.m. in the multipurpose room at the Simpson County Center. He will be honored by the Mississippi Humanities Council’s at their Annual Awards Banquet in the spring.