Did you always know that you wanted to go into teaching?
No. I got involved in teaching because I was interested in researching textiles. I just decided it would be really interesting to understand why people are still using and weaving textiles in Africa, especially in Nigeria. We don’t do that here, it’s not part of our ritual. So I decided to go back to graduate school. I wasn’t thinking really about teaching per se, I was thinking about research. I ended up coming to the University of Michigan, (and) I was still doing research, but then I started teaching these really big classes, (which) I hadn’t done before, and it got really interesting. The class I have right now is really just great.
What do you like to do outside of your work?
Garden vegetables. I have to say, my vegetable garden is pretty nice. I have it in my backyard in Ann Arbor. (I grow) tomatoes, beans, asparagus — it’s serious. And it’s organic, which is really nice.
What’s an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know?
I’m an aficionado of commercials … I don’t watch (television), I watch commercials. The other thing is, I like Pixar movies like “Wall-E.”
What advice do you have for your students?
You should just follow what you want to do. In this economy, I know that sounds kind of scary, but you should really follow what you want to do first and see if that works out. This is what you are going to be doing for your life.