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Winter 2004

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Centennial spotlight

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Alums come back to campus

Several new faces on Skidmore’s faculty this year are actually not so new to the college—they’re former students now getting a thrill from the other side of the classroom.

Psychology lecturer Susan Rivers ’97 is psyched to be back with her old professors—and she has a new-found appreciation for what it’s like to be in their shoes: “Creating a lecture, planning a discussion, writing exams and assignments—on top of working with students, grading, and conducting research—at times seems a nearly impossible feat,” she admits. She also never realized that “mentors can benefit significantly from working with students”—hers, she’s found, are “full of questions and energy. They force me to think in different, more complex ways, to better communicate with them.”

Caroline Orr D’Abate ’93, a visiting assistant professor of management and business, says she’s “having a blast” teaching students who are “mature, bright, and insightful…and pretty neat people, too.” Being an alumna may give her an edge, she surmises, since she can “understand their perspective pretty well.”

Skidmore faculty, says Beth Gershuny ’89, assistant professor of psychology, have long served as her “prototype for excellence in teaching.” And her students’ “unabashed creativity” continally delights her.

Martha Wiseman, a lecturer in English who received a master’s in liberal studies from Skidmore last spring, says her transition from student to teacher has been a smooth one—although she concedes that “teaching a basic writing course, like English 105,” is no small task.

Rivers, for her part, sees the challenges on both sides now. “The best days,” she says, “are after a class, when I see students struggling with theories and research; I can see them thinking. This could happen in any undergraduate classroom, but experiencing it at Skidmore makes it all the sweeter.” —MTS

 

 


© 2004 Skidmore College