Staff Profile - Ruth McClelland-Nugent
By Zoe Tolson
Dr. Ruth McClelland-Nugent, often referred to as “McNuge” by students, says she prefers this title to Dr. Ruth.
“That,” she quips, “suggests knowledge that I don’t have.”
However, Ms. McClelland-Nugent has been teaching since she earned her PhD from Dalhousie University in Canada in 2000. In 2005, she joined ASU’s History, Anthropology, and Philosophy Department. In her brief time at Augusta State, she has channeled her research and teaching interests into various special topic classes. This semester, she is leading a travel class bound for Sweden called Sex and Power in a Cold Climate. She also periodically offers a class on witchcraft trials and magical beliefs through the ages.
“My classes cover a lot of very complex topics,” she explains, “gender, law, medicine, religion. But we do it in a fun way.”
This dovetails with her view that college should prepare students for various career paths after graduation. “Because,” she warns, “you never know what life will bring. Ever.”
Last summer, she taught a class covering the home front during World War II in film and will offer a related one this summer. Next spring, she plans to teach a History of Canada course, indulging her love for the country where she and her mother did their graduate work.
“I still really consider Nova Scotia home in some ways,” she says.
Describing her transition to campus, she says she is “very impressed with the way Augusta State builds community,” citing busy social spots like the Allgood Hall atrium. She also considers Augusta “a nice town to end up in,” for it avoids the extremes of some university situations, like being isolated or having a high cost of living.
Though she is often serious in manner, there is just as often a twinkle in her eyes. Citing video games like World of Warcraft as “research” for understanding students, she teases, “I think I became a college professor, so I’d never really have to grow up myself.”
Name: Ruth McClelland-Nugent
Position: Assistant Professor of History
How long at ASU: 2 ½ years
Family: Both parents are retired college professors.
Hobbies: Growing herbs, making soap and flavored vinegar, playing D&D, and collecting swords and comic books
Best ASU Experience: Being nominated for the Outstanding Teaching Award in her first year, teaching an Honors section of HIST 2111 Little known fact: Her beagle mix, Nellie Gwynn, is named after Charles II’s favorite mistress.
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