Web Instructor, Folk Studies
Theresa Osborne is a 2004 graduate of the WKU Folk Studies graduate program, where her focus was on public folklore. She has been teaching an online section of Cultural Diversity in the US for the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology as an adjunct part-time faculty since 2005.
Born and raised in central Kentucky, Theresa moved to mountains of southeastern Kentucky in the early 1990's. "I fell in love with the people and then place, and I decided to make my home here. But when I decided to go back to graduate school I chose Western. I first came to WKU to study journalism. I was impressed with the caliber of the faculty and the quality of instruction." After completing her graduate studies she was offered the opportunity to teach an online course as an adjunct. "I jumped at the chance. I consider it to be an honor to be a part of Western's faculty even in a part-time position. I came to Western as a non-traditional student. I had spent several years living and traveling in Europe. I also worked for several years as a community journalist. I think I bring a unique and different perspective and set of experiences to my online students."
In addition to her work at WKU, Theresa has been involved with a community performance project called Higher Ground for the past seven years. "This project allows me to use the skills I gained from Western's Folk Studies program. Our theater productions are all created out of stories gathered from local people and address the actual issues and problems that face each of us on a day to day basis, while celebrating what is unique and valuable in our culture." The Higher Ground project was the subject of a KET documentary that continues to be aired periodically. Theresa is also a professional storyteller. "I have a sons, daughters, grandchildren and an egg-sucking dog. They all provide me with material for my stories."
For the past three years she has worked in partnership with Phyllis Sizemore the curator of the Kentucky Coal Museum in Benham, KY, to produce a weekly radio show called History Alive. The show airs on WMMT and its online radio program. "Phyllis and I both have a love of local history as told through the stories of local people. With this in mind, we began to record weekly radio shows with local people telling their stories and, in the process, the stories of our place. These programs are informal discussions that often result in laughter and sometimes tears. Our goal is to always show through these interviews that our history is alive and held in the hearts and stories of everyday people. To learn about this history, in most cases all you have to do is ask them to tell their story."
In her spare time, she and her family make regular trips to Belize Central America to continue mission outreach work they began there 13 years ago. "While I love my mountains here in Kentucky. I have a second home and family in the people of Belize."
Theresa is a Kentucky Community Scholar and member of the Kentucky Oral History Commission.
Courses I teach:
Cultural Diversity in the U.S.