Dr. Eric Covey: Making skeptics out of students

By Emily Simanskis, The Miami Student

Dr. Eric Covey is a paradox.

His head has little hair, but he sports a full beard. 

He considers himself a skeptic but doesn’t want to be seen as a pessimist. The only other label he’ll allow is feminist. 

He’s an avid bird watcher but will only name the favorite bird he’s seen this year — a Common Loon. He doesn’t like to pick favorites.

He’s a high school dropout who attended community college for 10 years. He has a Ph.D.

He wears a long-sleeve button-down with a color coordinating bowtie but rolls the sleeves up to his elbows on the days he teaches — every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

He’s engaging while teaching his American studies classes, but his voice injects the enthusiasm that his facial expression lacks. He doesn’t smile often.

When he went to school for his doctorate, Eric knew he wanted to teach. But when sending in close to 500 job applications after graduate school in Austin, Texas, he didn’t know that he’d end up commuting three days a week from his apartment in Cincinnati to Oxford as a temp professor.

Eric thinks that learning is fun, but while teaching he also aims to make skeptics out of his students. He wants them to be able to exchange ideas and answer questions together.

When he teaches, his forearms blur from the color of the numerous tattoos that cover the skin up to his elbows. He got his first one when he was 18 and the rest after he was 30.

But the stories behind them are too many to tell, especially since he’s been to more countries than he can count on two hands. He acknowledges that the best 72 days of his life were spent in Cuba in 2006, and he’s going back to Rome in the winter because he loves Italy.

Eric eventually wants to live in southern California, but for now, he’s waiting until May to hear if he’ll spend another year in Ohio.