Dr. Jeannette Webber
Annual Faculty Lecturer 1999-2000
Jeannette (Jinny) Webber came from Glendale, California, to UCSB as a 17-year old freshman with a 10-month old baby and a husband on a football scholarship. She majored in English with a minor in history for fun-in case she couldn't finish college due to family and work responsibilities.
But she did complete her B.A. (1963) and went on to earn an M.A. (1965), with two daughters born while she was in graduate school. After receiving her degree, she worked as a lecturer in composition at UCSB for three years. In 1967-68, she was granted a Fulbright fellowship to teach on the island of Cyprus. It was during her year on Cyprus, birthplace of Aphrodite, that her fascination with mythology began. That interest led to a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from UCSB (1986), and forms the basis for her lecture today.
Jinny Webber's tenure at SBCC began in 1969. Over these 30 years, she has taught just about every composition and literature course offered by the English Department, with a special focus in recent years on World Literature, Homer to Dante, and on Shakespeare. Among the courses she developed is Contemporary Women Writers. Because there was no good college text on the market, she and Joan Grumman edited Woman as Writer, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1978.
She chaired the English Department from 1979-85 and 1997-98. Besides serving on the Representative Council and the Academic Senate, Professor Webber has chaired the Sabbatical Leave and Planning and Resources committees, served as an administrative intern on Matriculation, and sat on a variety of Senate and English Department committees. In 1980, partly as a result of an English Council conference she attended, she set up an English placement system, forerunner to today's Assessment program.
A highlight of her SBCC career came in 1983, when she and Joan Grumman were asked to develop the initial Cambridge program, protytype for SBCC's Study Abroad semesters. Besides piloting that program, she has directed Cambridge several times since. Working in England has not only given her a chance to introduce students to wider cultural and academic worlds, but also offered personal enrichment and travel opportunities which have inspired her research and fiction projects. She has written two historical novels, one set in Shakespeare's England and one in Bronze Age Greece, so far unpublished, as well as contemporary stories with an historical twist.
In 1997, she delivered a paper at the Modern Language Association Conference, "Doris Lessing's Prophetic Voice in Shikasta: Cassandra or Sibyl?" which she expanded for publication in Spiritual Exploration in the Works of Doris Lessing, Greenwood Press, 1999. She has taught an occasional course at Pacifica Graduate Institute of Mythological Studies and for SBCC's Continuing Education Division.
SBCC has not only provided Professor Webber with a stimulating and rewarding career, but has also benefitted her children, Eric Dawson, M.D., Kristen Glass, and Michelle Smith, who began their educations here. She anticipates that her grandchildren, Brittany and Morgan Glass and Spencer and Summer Smith, will do likewise.