January 30, 2009

A University President Returns to Undergraduate Teaching

The idea of a college administrator or professor enrolling as an undergraduate student or even living in college dorms is uncommon, but both events have happened. In 2004 Roger Martin, former Harvard University Dean and President of Randolph-Macon College, enrolled himself as a college freshman at St. John's College. Rebekah Nathan, a university professor at a large state university, wrote My Freshman Year, which retold her journey back to being a student and living in a college dorm. Both Martin and Nathan have great stories describing their transitions and findings.

What about a university president going back to teach an undergraduate course and providing updates of her experience? Karen Gross, president of Southern Vermont College, is taking part in this exact idea. Just last week President Gross published her first article that reflects on her return to the classroom. In the article Gross describes some of the inspiration, rationale and obstacles involved with teaching at the university level. Some of the thoughts and experiences that Gross shares are interesting. Here is a short excerpt from the article: "Not surprisingly, the decision to teach was the easy part. The pragmatic needs kicked in immediately — well before the start of the semester. And they had to be balanced with the complex life I lead as a college president."

Go ahead and read the article to keep up with Karen Gross' endeavor back into the classroom.

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