Sarah Perrier reflects on changes to the university as well as new position as director of the new CIE

Written By Rachel Ross, Co-Features/A&E Editor

In 2008, Dr. Sarah Perrier first joined the Point Park faculty to teach Creative Writing classes, a program that she helped in establishing along with colleague Dr. Karen Dwyer. Now, Dr. Perrier has assumed a new role, as Director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence, where she aims to, “support faculty, staff, and students directly and indirectly to make sure that everybody is developing a strong sense of belonging here on campus.”

Dr. Perrier appreciates that her new position gives her the opportunity to support both students and staff in the present, and make sure that they have the necessary tools to succeed in their education, or their career respectively. 

Dr. Perrier said, “…I get to work with people on things that really matter to them, in terms of helping support the quality of their day to day life, as well as the education they’re pursuing and how they will move forward past their four years at Point Park if they’re students, or forward in their careers if they’re faculty and staff. I really think a lot about how we can give back to each other by supporting each other in the moment and not after the fact…”

The Center for Inclusive Excellence has been around “in one form or another” since Dr. Perrier started at Point Park, at that point being referred to as, “The Center for Teaching Excellence.” Dr. Perrier explained, “The shift from one name to the other really signaled a major shift in how the center conceived of the work it did. ‘Inclusive Excellence’ is the jargony term maybe, but it goes back to the idea that we can’t be excellent until we’re inclusive…”

Inclusivity is the ultimate goal for Dr. Perrier in her new role as director. 

She explained, “My goals at CIE, no matter what we go on to rename ourselves…my goal is to make sure that we are as inclusive as we can be, and that we are really addressing the barriers to student success, to faculty success, and to staff success through whatever policy changes we should advocate for, for whatever practices we need to ask come into practice or whether we need to think about what it would mean to make education more accessible for people.” 

In addition to her new role, Dr. Perrier is still teaching classes at the university, specifically her “very favorite class to teach,” being Poetry 1, 2, 3, and 4 Workshops. She very much enjoys working with students in this capacity as well, and having the opportunity to watch their work develop and grow. She said, “…I find it so energizing and exciting to get to talk about how people transform what’s in their head into language on the page, that they can then share those experiences with other people…”

Dr. Perrier is very passionate about writing and English Language Arts, having worked for a PhD in “English Language and Comparative Literature,” with a dissertation in Creative Writing, for which she wrote a book length collection of poetry and critical essay on contemporary American poetry. 

Outside of work, Dr. Perrier enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, and taking photos of her cat.