A conversation with Dr. Charles Garrity, of Wroxton College

Interview by Dan Landau; photo by Art Petrosemolo

Charles Garrity, Wroxton College’s lecturer-in-residence, is a well-known figure at Wroxton Abbey. His classes, “The Psychology of Everyday Persuasion” and “Communications: Culture and Media in Britain,” are both rooted in social psychology and always feature offer fascinating discussions.

FDU: Social psychology and communication seem very different, yet you teach both subjects?

CG: The two subjects I teach are not so different as they might appear. Our understanding of the world and our place in it comes from a number of sources, including family, significant others, and more broadly, the media. How and what we learn needs, on occasions, to be updated institutionally and personally. I attempt to provide the forum for students to do this.


FDU: How should students prepare for a class with you?

CG: The only thing I wish students to do is, be prepared to be challenged! 


FDU: The toughest part of your job is…

CG: Getting students at different levels of development and subject knowledge to delve below the surface of things, to look at the taken for granted aspects of life and society.


FDU: The most rewarding part of your job is...

CG: There are many rewarding aspects to teaching, many of them delayed, e.g. receiving a letter from a former student thanking me for encouraging them to approach an issue or subject in a particular way whilst a Wroxton, way that has proved to be surprisingly useful in the “real” world.

FDU: What is it like to teach a whole new class of students each semester?

CG: Teaching a whole new class every semester has its positives and negatives. On the negative side, it means we each begin to know each other when it is time for students to leave. The tutorial system is a great aid to getting to know someone personally and academically and as Resident Tutor, I also see a different side to the residents, so when it is time to go, it can be I supposed like parents seeing their children leave for university.

On the positive side, there is the sense that more American students can have the opportunity to experience study abroad in such a wonderful setting and gain an understanding of other cultures in a welcoming environment. 

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