What do you like about teaching at Cazenovia College?
What I like about teaching at Cazenovia College is our small class sizes and the access we have to so many outdoor lab sites. The small labs give students a chance to develop really good teamwork skills and allow us to provide a much richer learning experience than we could with large lab sizes.
What is your role as an advisor?
Our role as advisors is a lot more than just course scheduling. While that’s something that we have to do a couple times a year, it is much more important for us to be effective mentors to our students. We try to help them develop their strengths and weaknesses and figure out where their interests lie and where they’d like to end up after graduation. It’s really about trying to get our students set up to get their careers launched once they finish here at the College.
What is the best thing about your job?
One of the best things about the job is getting to watch students grow academically, emotionally, and even physically in our discipline. We’re able to do that from their first semester right up through their last.
Teaching environmental biology, our outdoor labs throughout the year in Central New York can be a bit challenging with rain, snow, and all kinds of different weather, so we’re able to get students ready to do that work out there in the real world because that’s what they’ll be doing.
Favorite Event or Time at Caz
My favorite days here at the College are Tuesdays and Thursdays because those are our lab days. I try to have lectures be as interactive as I can, but the labs are really where it’s gratifying to work with students and see them develop.
Are there any stories you can share about a moment when you were really proud of a student’s accomplishment?
I’ve had a lot of proud moments along the way, but where it really culminates is when we have students that’ve gone from coming to the College and getting a taste of actually collecting some data out there to being able analyze that data and put together a presentation to share with other researchers in the field at a conference. You see them start to get their self-confidence up to where it should be, and they can understand that they can actually do this, and they don’t need to wait until they’re mid-career to make a contribution to the discipline.
What should parents know about the experience students will have in your classroom?
Parents should know that we’re going to put a significant amount of responsibility into our students’ laps. They go from being a freshman to maybe taking on some club leadership as they come up through, so by the time they get done, they can hopefully take the lead in a team situation and truly collaborate with others.
Advice to Future Students
I think some of the best advice I can give to future students is to go to college and take advantage of as many opportunities as you can both inside the classroom and outside with clubs, athletics, community service, and anything like that.