Susan Yager


Office:329 Ross
527 Farm House Ln.
Ames IA


Courses I’ll Teach in 2020-21

Engl 250H, Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition (Honors)
Engl 225, Survey of British Literature to 1800
Engl 393, History of Children’s Literature
Engl 420, History of English

Courses I sometimes teach—Engl 260, Introduction to Literary Study; Engl 373, Studies in Medieval Literature; Engl 523, Introduction to Old English Language and Literature; Engl 531, Allegory, as well as graduate and undergraduate Chaucer.


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
B.A., M.A., Catholic University

Research Areas


About my teaching

Chaucer was a required course at my undergraduate institution. I fell in love with medieval literature and never looked back. My interest in pedagogy increased during the nine years I served as Associate Director of Iowa State’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, and continued to grow as I worked as Faculty Director of the ISU Honors Program. I strive to keep scholarly teaching at the core of all I do, and hope to continue learning about teaching – especially about computers as an aid to literary study and pedagogy – throughout my career.

Current Research

Although I’m a medievalist, I’m interested in children’s literature and topics in higher education as well as in Chaucer’s language and poetry, medieval studies pedagogy, and medievalism. Other interests include humor in literature, the rewriting or remaking of earlier works, and publications from the Second World War.

Recent Publications

I recently wrote two chapters for Critical Insights: Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. James M. Dean (Salem/Grey House, 2017), and a personal memoir, “A Teacher’s Teacher,” for “A Wilderness of Dragons”: Essays in Honor of Verlyn Flieger (The Gabbro Head, 2018).

As faculty director of Iowa State’s Honors Program, I published on effective ways to teach high-ability students on the autism spectrum and on teaching the Harry Potter series to Honors students. Forthcoming is an essay on the sounds of Chaucer’s poetry. My current projects include a study of Chaucer’s presence and influence in the twentieth century and another essay on Harry Potter.

I also co-edited Interpretation and Performance: Essays for Alan Gaylord (Chaucer Studio Press, 2013) and contributed to the second edition of MLA Approaches to Teaching Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, ed. Peter Travis and Frank Grady (MLA, 2014).