I have worked full-time at GRCC for 27 years. I was an adjunct instructor before being hired full time to teach Economics in Fall 1993. The college was organized a bit differently, back then — academic areas were in “divisions.” My first few years were in the Social Science Division. Later, we were reorganized into departments and some of the disciplines in the division were separated into the Behavioral Sciences Department (Anthropology, Psychology & Sociology). The other areas of Economics, Geography, History & Political Science were in the Social Science Department, which was where I was located. I was appointed to be the first Department Head of the Social Sciences Department. In 1998, I was asked to serve as Assistant Dean of the School of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Health & Wellness (we had three “schools” back then). So, I took on that role and those responsibilities. In 1999, the academic area was reorganized into the current structure and the school I was serving was split into the other two areas. So, I was relocated as Assistant Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. I returned to faculty in 2001 to teach Economics in the Social Sciences Department. In 2005 I was asked by Provost Velvie Green to fill in for a year as Associate Dean of SAS while a search was conducted to replace a departing AD. So, I took on that responsibility. I returned back to faculty in 2006 and was then asked again by Provost Gilda Gely in 2010 to serve as Associate Dean of SAS for another year with Laurie Chesley’s appointment to Dean. I returned to faculty once again in 2011, and that is where I have been ever since!
My teaching load has remained relatively the same over the years: Principles of Macroeconomics (EC 251) and Principles of Microeconomics (EC 252). I did teach a class in the Physical Education Division one time and I team-taught the first Environmental Science class we offered.
There are so many stories, that it is hard for me to pick just one. I am always humbled when students thank me for teaching them. Teaching is a very rewarding profession, but oftentimes, we do not see the impact on the students until they are many years down the road. Out of all the students I have taught, I do have one from two years ago that I remember quite well, though.
This student was an older learner and took my EC 252 class in an accelerated format. She struggled with some of the concepts and the math was a challenge for her. She came to my office hours for assistance twice a week and we worked through the class bit by bit. She ended with a B. The following semester, she was in my EC 251 class, but this time in the full semester format. This pace was much easier for her to manage, but she still came to my office twice a week and we worked through all the information — sometimes going over the same concepts three and four times. She could have dropped the last test and received a B+, but she came to take the test even though the date was on her birthday (she let me know her birthday to prove she was older than me!) I asked her why she had come knowing she really didn’t want to be there that day. Her response was indicative of how she and a lot of our students approach their academic work: “What would my grandbabies say if they learned that I had a chance to get an A-, and I stayed home and didn’t try to get that higher grade? So, I’m here to try and improve my grade!” Which, she did! On her way out the door that day, she said to me “Thank you — you have been an angel professor for me!” I assured her that she had done the work and that she deserved the grade she had earned. But that type of comment always makes me feel humbled but also proud to work with students in the pursuit of their goals. In this case, the student’s goal was to not only transfer to get a four year degree, but also to serve as a role model for her kids, grandkids and others in her community.
For many of our students, GRCC is their first, best option, but for more than a few, we are their last, best option. So, my goal was to help them to see that they can achieve their goals and I am happy to facilitate that!
I am also proud to have been a part of a number of search committees and to have played a role in evaluating so many full-time and adjunct faculty members. I was fortunate that this profession allowed me to gain insights into how others teach and to be able to learn from them a better way to teach my classes. I am thankful that President Calkins asked me to be the Assistant Dean in areas with which I was not familiar. I met so many people from across the college that even now, 22 years later, when I encounter those still working here, I am able to have really genuine conversations. Too often, we only converse with those in our departments and the colleagues we see regularly, but if we are given the opportunity to expand that circle it allows for a much broader and richer experience!
It took me a while to feel I belonged at GRCC. I was a student at GRJC in 1973-74 (it’s where I met my wife!). More than a few of the faculty members from that time were my colleagues when I first came on board in 1993. So, that coupled with the fact that I had been a high school teacher for 16 years prior to coming here made me feel that I may not have measured up to the other faculty members. Eventually, I became more confident that I was able to teach the material in a way that helped the students to learn the concepts and achieve their goals. There are still days in which I stand in awe of my colleagues and the work they do and I am proud to have been called a GRCC faculty member! I will close out my career at the same institution where my higher education academic journey started…and that seems fitting to me!
I’m not entirely sure what I will do in retirement – I do know that I will need to find something to do to fill my time in order stay active both mentally and physically and to continue to be engaged with others. I do not plan on teaching anymore, as I feel I have given all that I could — but I am not ruling out doing something in the world of education. I am sure there will be more than a few golf dates as I have typically not played on weekdays during the academic year so that will be a novel experience for me! I have also been asked to continue on some of the community boards and committees, and I am looking forward to that. My wife and I had planned to travel with family and friends, but since she has passed away, I have put those plans on hold. We have 7 grandchildren with another on the way this summer! So, I know there will be some fun times as grandpa as well as going to their school activities, plays, games, etc.