Dr. Thomas Foster
Thomas C. Foster, professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Michigan – Flint, retired from active faculty status on December 31, 2014.
Professor Foster received his B.A. degree with high distinction from Dartmouth College in 1974, his M.A. degree from Michigan State University in 1977, and his Ph.D. degree from Michigan State University in 1981. From 1981-82 and 1983-87 he served as temporary assistant professor in Michigan State University’s American Thought and Language Program, and in 1982-83 he was an assistant professor at Kalamazoo College. He joined the University of Michigan – Flint faculty in 1987 as assistant professor.
For twenty-seven years Professor Foster was a popular instructor in a wide array of courses for undergraduates and graduate students. His courses ranged from introductory courses in classical literature and literary genres all the way to upper-level and graduate classes on modern and contemporary British literature. Hundreds – if not thousands - of students owe at least part of their understanding of some of the twentieth century’s greatest writers to Professor Foster. He served on numerous department and university committees, and was instrumental in the establishment of the English Department’s Master of Arts in English Language and Literature in 2007. He then served as the program’s first director, designing numerous policies and procedures for its continuing success over the five years of his tenure.
Aside from his fine work as a teacher and an administrator, Professor Foster was also a tireless researcher and writer. He was the author of many academic articles and of eight books, some written for academic audiences and some for the general reader. His How to Read Literature Like a Professor became a bestseller, and Professor Foster spent many hours talking with high school classes who had read the book, visits that made him a de facto ambassador for higher education.