Paul Sawyer, Professor & Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow
Posse Five Faculty Mentor
Paul Sawyer, professor of English, completed his PhD from Columbia University and joined the English department at Cornell in 1975, with a specialization in Victorian literature. His book Ruskin's Poetic Argument traces the works of an influential and prolific Victorian author, who combined a passion for beautiful objects, social justice, and the natural environment. He's also published essays on Martin Luther King, Jr., on Gandhi, on the Vietnam War, and other topics reflecting his interest in the relationship between literary study, social justice, and teaching of writing. His teaching at Cornell includes "The Culture of the 1960s," courses in contemporary American fiction, and the seminar "Freedom Writes." Since 2000 he's taught literature and writing in two local prisons as a volunteer for Cornell's prison Education Program; he also teaches the experiential learning course for undergraduate volunteers in CPEP. From 2006 to 2016 he was director of the Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines. He's a winner of the Weiss Presidential Fellowship. His first year as mentor of Posse 5 has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his career.