Dear Orange Friends:
Last week I sat in at the back of a lot of classes, including Introduction to Managerial Accounting (Whitman); Race, Gender, and the Media (Newhouse); Principles of Instruction and Learning (Education); and Introduction to Family Development (Falk). I will be sitting in on other classes in all colleges over the course of the semester, and teaching my own course in negotiation to students from many schools.
It is asking a lot of a teacher to have the Chancellor (sometimes accompanied by the Dean) sit in the back of the class. I do this each year to remind myself forcefully of what a university is all about, and also because I learn a lot. I am deeply grateful to the students and to Professors Joyce Zadzilka, Charisse L’Pree, Tiffany Koszalka, and Matthew Mulvaney for welcoming me.
In each class, I saw an excellent and rigorous teacher who cares about the students. I saw teachers who worked hard to embody best practices—and those most effective in enabling learning—in what they do. Each class was both hard work and enjoyable.
It was also salutary for me to see how exhausting it can be to rush between four or five classes in one day. This entails a lot of travel as well as trying to keep track of multiple assignments, quizzes, texts, participation rules, and papers—as well as a host of Syracuse opportunities for extra activities (public lectures, symposia, concerts, films, student groups, etc.) that complement the subject of each course. Often when I am responsible for one course, I can forget sometimes that my students are juggling so much more.