Employee Spotlight

Heather Neff

Heather Neff, Ph.D.


English Professor and Director of McNair Scholars Program

Years at EMU

25 years (Eight years as McNair Scholars Director)

Why You Like Working Here

Above all, I love the students. I’m here because of them. Every student has a unique story. Many have faced unbelievable economic and personal challenges. I find that the students have extraordinary perseverance. I love working graduation because my greatest pleasure is to stand at the door as the students file in and congratulate them.

Favorite EMU Moment

My favorite day of the year is Undergraduate Symposium. I find that the atmosphere is electric. Students have such pride, even though they’re terrified. Their families get see their young person, doing extraordinary work and surrounded by professors who are super proud of them.


I’d like to have a time turner like in Harry Potter so I could never grow old but not be young again. I’d like to be able to stretch time.


Without a doubt, watching the students grow. They typically come in very much high schoolers. We watch them take on so much responsibility both personally and academically. By the time they leave, they are brilliant, young adults. Although I have watched this process now for many years, it never gets old.

Surprising Fact

I’m tough on the outside but I am unbelievably sensitive underneath.

Next Goal

A retirement in a warm place! I’ve been at EMU 25 years, I’m 61 and it’s absolutely time for me to think about a graceful departure. Once I get an idea and am able to set that date, then I can really, really teach hard because I’m thinking: "Hey, this might be my last chance so bring it." I love that feeling.

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