The professor's room: JJ Seggelke
An occasional series that explores the inner sanctums of academia – because clever people have interesting spaces.
October 29, 2018
JJ Seggelke splits his time between the classroom, where he is an English composition lecturer, the MSU Denver Writing Center, where he is assistant director, and a fourth floor office in the King Center with a sliver of a mountain view.
Seggelke’s space is filled with personal pieces that also reflect his research areas, which include pedagogy, language and identity, gender and popular culture. For instance, a printed copy of the humor essay “Covering Teen Wolf: One Coach’s Guide” by Pasha Malla hangs above his desk.
“It’s written from the perspective of a high school basketball coach about how you try to win against the team with Teen Wolf on it,” Seggelke said. “It’s probably the funniest thing I’ve ever read, so if I’m ever having a crappy day, I just read it.”
The essay hangs alongside a packed bookshelf, plenty of photos of his two kids and a collection of art and memorabilia that tell a very interesting life story.
- The Gaslight Anthem is one of my favorite bands, and I went to this concert just a few days before I got married. It was a great show and it’s sort of cool, unconventional memory of my wedding.
- A student who is an incredible artist made this piece for me. As part of a class assignment I asked students to draw a picture based on a reading — expecting them to come to class with stick figures and such. She came back with this awesome piece. After class I sheepishly asked if I could keep it.
- These wall hangings are from a Chinese temple you had to hike up to. They represent the four seasons, but I gave one to somebody else as a gift. When you got there, however, there was a gift shop, so it must not have been too far off the grid. It seemed like we walked forever to get there, and the temple itself had this mystical feeling to it. That’s why the gift shop thing was so striking; such a contrast.
- My wife helps the kids make these crafts each year for Father’s Day. I love them mostly because my daughter is super proud of them, which is fun, but also because my wife starts out with these big Pinterest ideas, then gets frustrated because they don’t turn out the way she thought they would — which is also fun.
- This is probably my favorite photo of my kids right now. I took it right after my daughter basically tackled my son, and they both erupted in giggles. Then he started pushing her off of him, laughing still. I have a good feeling that their relationship is going to carry on like that for the rest of their lives. It makes me smile.
- I have two older brothers and we grew up watching Jean Claude Van Damme movies. Around Christmastime one year, one of my brothers was on eBay — probably after one too many whiskeys — and bought me an autographed picture of Van Damme. I’m actually skeptical about the whole thing, because my brother also took a marker and added, “To JJ, live your dreams.” I don’t know if the Van Damme signature is legitimate, but it’s pretty funny.
- I was woefully underqualified, but I taught English in China for a year after I got my bachelor’s degree. One of my students gave me this calligraphy poster. I don’t know what it says, but he said it was a poem from Mao Zedong.
If your faculty colleagues surround themselves with outrageous objects, alluring artwork or noteworthy knickknacks, please email email@example.com with the subject line “Professor’s Room” to see them featured (or to nominate yourself).