Dr West received his BA degree from Berea College in 1964 and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1969. He has taught at Wake Forest since 1969 and was chairman of the Department of German & Russian from 1985-91. He and his wife, Suzanne, have been married 44 years and have two daughters, Sara and Erin.
His teaching and research interests cover the broad area of German literature of the Middle Ages, more narrowly the German Passion Play of the late Middle Ages, and have resulted in two book-length translations (the Saint Gall Passion Play, 1976, and the Alsfeld Passion Play, 1997) and an article on the Expositor in the German Passion Play of the Late Middle Ages (1983). Both translations include an extensive Introduction to the play, notes, and a bibliography, and the Alsfeld translation also includes the German text on the facing page.
In addition to his teaching and research efforts, Professor West spends most of his time guiding students in their efforts to study abroad. Since 1985 he has assisted students in Studying abroad with IES (Institute for the International Education of Students) in Berlin, Freiburg, and Vienna, and from 1998 – 2010 he served as the Program Director of the Flow House Residential Study Center in Vienna, Austria. Along with the administrative duties associated with this position, Dr. West has led semester groups to the Flow House in the fall ’99, fall ’03, and summer ’05. Over the years he has led twelve student travel courses to Germany and Austria. His hobbies include carpentry, walking, biking, and collecting numerous types of music (blues, folk, older rock, mountain, classical, and , and older country).