Personal education, part two: Helping Hands
RELEASED: May 11, 2006
DANVILLE, KY—We surveyed Centre College students to obtain examples of the "personal education" side of the "personal education/extraordinary success" Centre promise. The response was overwhelming. Here, in the second of a multi-part series, Centre students talk about how their professors and staff friends lend helping hands —often when they least expect it and sometimes in less-than-flattering moments.
Thompson Galetovic, freshman, Knoxville, Tenn.
As much as I've heard about how personal and extraordinary an education from Centre College is, the degree to which this is true still continues to amaze me. It seems as though I can actually do anything, and my professors will still do their best to support me in every effort that I present to them. This quality extends even to guest faculty. I know this because I've had the good fortune of working with Herman Farrell, a guest playwright/director. He put forth a great deal of effort to help me as an actor, but one of the defining examples of the difference between other schools' faculties and those at Centre College is this: Herman understood that the performance my cast-mates and I are in (Summertime) can sometimes be tough to understand. So, to help us better understand the ideas behind the script, he scheduled a lunch meeting with the play's AUTHOR (Charles Mee) in Louisville. Now on a day off from school, thanks to him, I had a chance to meet one of today's great playwrights and have a great meal. Then Herman offered me a ticket to the opening show of Mee's latest performance! Sitting next to him in this extraordinary performance, I understood another reason I'm glad I go to Centre.
Jenny Anderson, senior, Nashville, Tenn.
Two of my classmates and I decided to walk over to Dr. (Beau) Weston's [National Endowment for the Humanities Associate Professor of Sociology] house at 9:30 p.m. the night before the final. We were welcomed in, and even discussed the final... it turned out that one of the questions we asked was one of the essays.
Laura Zanewicz, senior, Crestwood, Ky.
Dr. (Phyllis) Bellver [assistant professor of Spanish] is an advisor for Alpha Phi Omega [coed service fraternity]. She's always willing to help and eager to get involved. I also had the privilege to travel with her to Spain. I think that going abroad with a prof is one of the best experiences. You really bond and learn more about each other.
Thiri Myat, sophomore, Myanmar, Burma
Last fall term, I missed (assistant professor of chemistry) Dr. (Jeffrey) Fieberg’s 8 a.m. chemistry lab and he gave me a call, but the phone didn't wake me up. So he left a message that I could still come to lab even though I was late. He called me again around 10 a.m. and I got that call, but by then lab was nearly over. So, he let me attend another lab session in the afternoon so I didn't miss that class for that day.
Also Ann and Suzie, my work-study supervisors from Centre’s post office, have taken care of me a lot. When I'm sick, they call me and ask me what I need. When I lived here last summer they took me a lot of places, even to the grocery, as I don't have car and no friends were around to take me to the places I needed to go.
Derek Tingle, sophomore, Louisville, Ky.
I don’t really have any stories about hanging out with my professors outside the classroom but one thing that I truly can attest to — my professors’ doors are always open. Regardless of whether I have an appointment, they’re always open to help with any questions that I have. And the vast majority of the time, my professors are in during their designated office hours and also at other times for quick visits. All in all, the professors here are extremely accessible which a good tool to have at such a challenging college.
John Patterson, junior, Lexington, Ky.
This past CentreTerm I was enrolled in the Crusades class taught by Dr. (Amos) Tubb [assistant professor of history]. The main project for this class was to be a video that a group would put together on a certain Crusade. The documentaries were supposed to be in the style of the History Channel, but needless to say they weren’t even close. The really hard part of making these videos was editing them using the Grant computer lab. Well, the night before my group's video was due, we were all in the lab stressing out over our video. At this point we had put 10 hours worth of work into simply editing the video. Right at midnight a DPS officer comes into the lab saying that we must leave as nobody is allowed in the buildings past midnight. The officer agreed that if our professor would call the DPS office we would be allowed to stay in the room and work on our video. So at 12:15 a.m., we called Dr. Tubb at his house. Obviously, like any sane person, he did not answer on the first call, so we just called him again. On the second call he picked up and responded very cordially that he would call the DPS office and allow us to continue our work.
In my college career I never expected any professor to ever go out of his way to make sure I completed a project on time. Actually, in my entire academic history I have never encountered such a willingness to help a student. Dr. Tubb's dedication to educating his students astounds me and in turn has motivated me to put forth more effort in working with professors as well as in my classes.
Pete Millon, senior, Perrysburg, Ohio
My sophomore year I had a history class at 8 am with Dr. (Clarence) Wyatt [Pottinger Associate Professor of History]. There was one stretch when a student missed two classes in a row. Considering that this class was a Tuesday/Thursday class, the kid had basically missed a full week of class. The following class session, he was missing once again. Dr. Wyatt took attendance, and then informed everyone that we were taking a field trip. The entire class followed him to the student's room in a fraternity house and watched as Dr. Wyatt proceeded to go into his room and wake him up for class. Needless to say, it was the last time he missed that class.
Lisa Purdy, senior, Villa Hills, Ky.
During the spring semester of my sophomore year I was hospitalized after being injured playing softball for Centre. I spent a week at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center and then underwent surgery at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. During my time at the hospital I was amazed at the sheer number of visitors I had. My room was constantly full of people, and these visitors weren't limited to my friends: they included many of my professors and other staff of the college. Dr. (Joe) Workman [associate professor of chemistry] brought me a very funny card, Dr. (Steve) Asmus [Dowling Associate Professor of Biology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology] and his wife came to visit and brought beautiful flowers, Sarah Scott-Hall and Ann Young brought a wonderful assortment of gifts from the student life staff, even the president's wife, Mrs. Roush, came to visit with some candy.
The caring nature of Centre College went way beyond these gifts. While I was in the hospital athletic trainer Lesley Barsotti was a tremendous help to my family. She even went as far as giving my mother a key to her home to have a place to take a break from the hospital every now and then. This act meant a great deal to my mother during a stressful time when she needed a place in town to relax for a few minutes.
When I arrived back on campus the generosity of Centre College didn't stop. My mother and I met with Dean Ward [vice president of academic affairs, dean of the college, and professor of English], and he assured us that everything possible would be done to help me get back on track, and he was right! Dr. (Jan) Wertz [assistant professor of psychology], my advisor, arranged a physics tutor for me since I had missed a great deal of class. Also both Dr. Asmus and Dr. Workman were extremely gracious and patient in allowing me to make-up class work I had missed. The help didn't stop outside of the classroom. Since I wasn't able to drive for two months following the accident Ms. Barsotti would drive me to all of my doctors appointments, and even took me grocery shopping.
There can be no better college or university in the country than Centre when it comes to a personal community atmosphere. That phrase is definitely not a gimmick, but a fact here.
Katherine Everett, senior, Bowling Green, Ohio
During spring finals of my sophomore year, the Kentucky pollen was thick and I had horrible allergies. I took some Benedryl before I went to bed so I could perform well on my final for Psych 110 the next morning, but it worked so well that I slept right through my alarm and into the final! Thankfully, Dr. Wertz knew I was missing and called me so I could make it there in time. Only at Centre would a professor in an intro-level class notice a student was MISSING THE FINAL and give her a wake-up call!
Melissa Hope, senior, Granbury, Texas
Finals week of my freshman year I became sick, staggered to Parson's Student Health Center, and then went back to my room to get healthy, attempt to sleep, etc. Later that afternoon, I awoke to the soft voice of Professor "Herr" Klimke on the phone saying "Anja ? " I was completed disoriented. I thought "hummm...uhhh... Who's Anja?" Herr Klimke repeats "Anja? [translate into German] Aren't you going to come take your final?” Again, I was just sooo confused...thinking, "Who's Anja? What's he saying?" Eventually I became more mentally alert and realized, "Oh..Anja, that's my German name. And that's my professor calling my room!" I then responded, "Ich bin krank." [auf Deutsch: I am sick]. Of course Herr Klimke wished me well, and I made up my final later that week.
But this was certainly an eyebrow raising experience for a baby freshman: to realize that a professor would notice a student’s absence from a final and then actually call the student's room just to make sure he or she hasn't overslept. This proves that Centre does have professors that care and look out for the well being of students.
Derek Smith, junior, Louisville, Ky.
I remember that when my family was going through a tough time over the summer before my sophomore year, Bob Nesmith (admission office) gave me a call to check and see how things were going. He called me several times at home to see if there was anything he could do to help me out. I was concerned about the tuition for that year, and he talked with people in the finance office and we were able to work something out so that I was able to afford the tuition. He called several more times to check on how everything was going and showed genuine concern and compassion for my situation, as did all the people in the finance office. If it was not for the concern and active involvement of Bob Nesmith, I would not have been able to attend Centre that term.
Mary Burchett, junior, Winchester, Ky.
I was having a really bad day and went to lab completely unprepared. My professor, Dr. Asmus, could tell that I was really upset and called my room later that day just to see if I was alright.
Jackie Soenneker, sophomore, Clarkson, Ky.
One of my several work-study jobs is as lab assistant to the Intro to Computer Science class. I was at work helping a guy with his program when he accidentally ran over my big toe with his swivel chair. Since I was wearing flip-flops, he got me pretty good and I was the not-so-proud new owner of a deep furrow-like impression across my toe from the wheel and a small scrape, which began to bleed a little. I didn't think anything of it until I started getting really dizzy and my vision started darkening considerably, so I laid my head against the wall and closed my eyes, intending to collect myself and move on with my life.
Suddenly I was under the table that I had formerly been sitting on and Dr. (Joseph) Oldham [assistant professor of computer science] was asking me if I was all right. I had no idea what had happened, having never passed out before. Dr. Oldham got me out from under the table and helped me down the hall to the office of another of our computer science professors, Dr. [Christine] Shannon [Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science and Haggin Professor of Science]. Dr. Oldham, who's apparently picked up nursing training somewhere along the line, took my pulse and, though he said it was ok, he and Dr. Shannon decided that I should be taken over to Parsons to be checked out.
Since Dr. Oldham needed to get back to his class, Drs. Shannon and Michael Bradshaw [visiting professor of computer science and mathematics] walked me over to Parsons. On the way over, Shannon and Bradshaw kept up a comforting stream of conversation, which included Dr. Shannon telling me some funny stories about times she had fainted. We arrived without incident and a nurse took me in, looked me over, and decided that between pain and blood, the wheel-meets-toe incident was enough to freak my nervous system out to the point of fainting.
When I went back out to the waiting room, not only was Dr. Shannon still waiting there, but Dr. Oldham and the guy that I had been helping when I passed out had both come over to see if I was okay. For me, seeing that the three of them cared enough to come over and wait for me to get out was truly heartwarming. Somehow I sort of doubt that many professors at huge colleges would have had the time and/or inclination to care so much about one student. Our professors really care, which is one reason that I love Centre so much!
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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