Personal education, part one: Home cookin’
RELEASED: April 27, 2006
|Students mix learning and eating at sociology professor Beau Weston's home (left), and at English professor Mark Lucas' annual Wart Hog Barbecue
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 first of a multi-part series, Centre students talk about how their professors open their homes (and dining tables) to them—sometimes with plans made well in advance, often on a moment's notice.
Carolyn Combs, senior, Bettendorf, Iowa
Dr. Stephanie Dew [associate professor of biology] invited us into her beautiful home before each test for a get-together during spring of my junior year when I was in her cellular metabolism class. She would hold study sessions the night before the test and prepare snacks (sausage balls, yum) so that we could ask questions about material in an informal setting. This always helped me relax before the tests and also helped all of the BMB majors to become quite close.
Jared Williams, senior, Waynesville, Ohio
One of the most memorable moments I've had with a professor outside of class was with [Boles Professor of Economics] Dr. Bob Martin, with whom I've had many classes throughout my time at Centre. He invited all of us over to his house one weekend for a barbeque, and afterward we sat around and discussed graduate school, movies and anything else that was on our minds. It not only provided a wonderful retreat from the daily norm at Centre, but it also gave me a newfound respect for Dr. Martin. It's very easy for a teacher to claim to be truly in tune and concerned, but to go above and beyond in such a way goes to show the true commitment that Dr. Martin has to his students. He cares, not only for the students themselves, but also for Centre College, and his passion for knowledge, in class and out, has given me inspiration throughout my Centre career.
Yves Nkulikiye, sophomore, Streamwood, Ill.
I've been to the home of J.H. Atkins [Assistant Vice President and Associate Professor of Education] for Thanksgiving dinner. All members of the diversity student union and international student association were invited. It was good, good food, and all the other good things that accompany dinner.
Tina Maples, junior, Scarborough, Maine
I had a wonderful experience with Stephanie Arnett, a visiting instructor for the sociology department who taught a course on Race and Ethnicity. Halfway through the semester she invited the entire class (about 10 of us) over to her house for dinner and a movie. She cooked us spaghetti and she had even prepared a dessert. Then we all sat down to watch the course-relevant movie, CRASH. It was a great way to get to know Stephanie and interact with one another outside of the classroom.
Farley Stephenson, freshman, Florence, Ky.
Over CentreTerm 2006, I, along with the rest of my class, was invited to eat with Dr. [Michael] Hamm [Boles Professor of History] and his wife at their home. The experience was enjoyable; we all sat around his living room and just talked with him about various things. Through our talks we got to know Professor Hamm better and got to hear about some of his trips in past years and also were able to meet his wife. Professor Hamm showed us many of his "prized" things and we had an all-around good time. It was definitely an experience that I won't forget, especially because it was during my freshmen year and that sort of interaction was something I didn't think would happen until the later part of my undergraduate career.
Matthew Howell, freshman, Louisville
We'd just sat down in Latin class one rainy Friday in April when Dr. [Jane] Joyce [Luellen Professor of Literature] commented on a reception she had had the previous night. Conversation veered toward the surplus of food remaining in her home. I suggested that I could use a little exercise (her home is within walking distance) and so off the class went to enjoy a casual afternoon of Ovid and bleu cheese dip at the Joyce household. Reclining there with a pineapple, orange juice and club soda, translating Latin, made me feel as if I were a highly regarded intellectual among peers instead of a lowly college freshman with the munchies. The relaxed atmosphere and spontaneity of it all really embodied what I had expected of a Centre education. The food didn't hurt either.
Kyle Longton, sophomore, Louisville
In the Classics Department, the language classes are understandably small. Last spring, Professor [James] Morrison [Cantrell Professor of Classics] had all six of us over to his home for a ping-pong tournament, an Italian dinner, a slide show, translation and a didgeridoo demonstration. In the fall, seven us walked over for dinner, this time with a badminton tournament. Professor and Mrs. Morrison always welcome us, usually beat us in the sports, and keep us laughing.
This is the perfect time for this subject because of something that happened just last week. On Thursday night after a lecture, Professor Joyce had a reception for the speaker and several others. On Friday afternoon, she walked into our class and said, "I wish I could just transport us all to my house. I have all this wonderful food left over from the reception last night." Well, the three of us (the entire class) looked at each other and Matt Howell said, "I don't mind walking." Despite the rain, the four of us walked the short distance to Dr. Joyce's house. While snacking on her delicious bleu cheese dip and chips, mixed nuts, and chocolates, we translated a passage from Ovid's Metamorphoses in her cozy living room. It was the perfect Centre experience.
Michael Douglas, senior, Hustonville, Ky.
Since we returned from Mexico in fall 2004, Dr. [Phyllis] Passariello [Professor of anthropology] has made a point to reunite us from time to time with a dinner party at her house. We all get together, enjoy the amazing cooking of Phyllis, and best of all, reminisce about the amazing three months we all spent together. Moments like this reflect perfectly the special relationships that Centre students develop with their professors—all of which are uniquely intimate and lasting.
Kevin N. Duke, junior, Ft. Thomas, Ky.
My freshmen year during CentreTerm I was taking a freshmen studies course called "A Study at the Academy: Plato's Theatetus, Sophists and Crito" with Dr. [Robert] Colter, assistant professor of philosophy. During the last week of class, Dr. Colter invited us to his house for a barbeque. We met his children and his wife and enjoyed some great food. We were surprised with a lecture, but all-in-all it was worth it and I knew from then on that Centre was not at all the impersonal place that I had always believed college to be.
Chris Williamson, freshman, Morganfield, Ky.
Last fall Milton Reigelman [Cowan Professor of English] invited my entire Humanities 110 class to his home for a wonderful stew that he and his wife had prepared for us. It was really a good experience to just sit back and relax with Dr. Reigelman and his wife over a hot bowl of vegetable soup. The soup was tied into the course really well, and I thought it was one of my best experiences of the fall semester. I don't really remember much of the conversation; it was just mainly about where we were from, why we chose Centre, and what we had enjoyed the most so far about the fall semester.
Roy Lee Wigginton II, sophomore, Bloomfield, Ky.
Last fall, just before the stressful time known as finals week, I walked the two blocks to the home of one of my professor's. Dr. Sarah Goodrum [assistant professor of sociology], whom I have had for several sociology courses and who is now my advisor, chose to have our final exam review at her home. She had prepared quite a spread. While the fruit, cheese, and spinach dip contained in sourdough bread were all good, the pigs-in-a-blanket were my favorite! We sat around in her dining room, discussing questions we had about the exam and other aspects of life in general. She created a warm and inviting environment that not only gave us a chance to not be in the classroom and eat, but to get to know her on a different level.
While this experience was quite memorable, it's not unique—several professors and staff members have opened their homes and invited students on various occasions. I feel this practice creates that close connection that fosters the life-long friendships between Centre's faculty and their students.
Brian Kretz, senior, Perrysburg, Ohio
Last semester I was taking my seminar class, Law and Policy with Dr. Sarah Goodrum. We only had six students in the class, so the atmosphere was extremely personal. Dr. Goodrum spent a lot of one-on-one time with each of us, guiding us the entire semester so we could write strong papers. She decided to invite all of us to her house for breakfast one morning. We all ended up going and eating great food and just having a good time talking with her outside of class. Besides having this breakfast, I spent many hours with Dr. Goodrum in her office in hopes of improving my research and my paper. She helped me contact various people who weren't associated with Centre. I did my research on the Northpoint Training Center, so Dr. Goodrum helped me get in touch with correctional officers there. She has always been more than willing to help me with anything, at any time. She cares a lot about her students and her job, which makes taking her classes that much more enjoyable. Dr. Goodrum has helped make my Centre experience a great one. I appreciate all of her hard work and dedication.
Chelsi Warner, junior, Lexington, Ky.
After every show that Dr. Tony Haigh [professor of dramatic arts] directs, he always invites the cast and crew for "tea and stickies." This basically involves going over to his house and sitting around after eating a delicious meal prepared by himself and his wife and watching movies and drinking tea. It is so personal and comforting. He also frequently lends out his house for student productions of films and the like. It's one of my favorite aspects of Centre life; having professors so personally dedicated to their students that they'll bring them into their home and simply chat about life. Not about school, not about Centre, just life. How refreshing!
Sara Watson, senior, Paducah, Ky.
I'm a drama major and our department is like a family. So, automatically we are close with our professors, who've become my parents (kind of) in these past four years. I think some of the best times I've had has been with Tony Haigh. He has tea and stickies at his home after every show he directs for the whole cast and crew, as well as a junior/senior dinner I also know that his door is open whenever I need it—and I usually do—even if it's to go in and sit down and chat for a while about nothing. I've called over to his house before, needing to talk to him about things and he invites me over for a cup of tea and we talk. It's these kinds of encounters that have helped me through my time here at Centre since I don't get to see my family very often.
Shannon Mockler, senior, Westfield, Ind.
Ian Wilson [assistant professor of German and humanities] and his wife, Mindy (who also works for Centre as the Internship Coordinator) always host an end of the year cookout. That in itself is quite personal, that I've been to my professor's house several times, but Ian outdid himself in the "getting to know your students" department. I guess at some point during the semester I mentioned that I am a vegetarian and when I arrived at the cookout at the Wilson's apartment, they had bought veggie burgers for me ... knowing that I wouldn't be able to eat the Bratwurst! Most of my friends don't even know I'm a vegetarian...but my professor does! Ian is also always up to date on my love life (he always knows who I have a crush on) and he's dedicated a bunch of time to helping me pursue my crazy ambition of going to graduate school in Germany.
Jenny Anderson, senior, Nashville, Tenn.
One of my favorite memories of Centre will always be from my freshman year. That year I joined the mock trial team, and one night our advisor, Dr. David Hall [associate professor of religion and philosophy] had the entire team (about eight of us) over to his house for dinner. I was astounded that he'd cooked for the entire team—and the food was amazing. The conversation, however, was even better. At least five of us stayed at his house until close to midnight talking about everything from world politics, Christian theologians (after all Dr. Hall teaches "History of Christian Thought"), to anything that could be thought up. Now that I'm a senior, I've had many meals with Dr. Hall and the mock trial team, either at his house or out when at tournaments, but I'll always remember that first time to a professor's house. This is one of my favorite stories to tell prospective students—it shows that Centre professors are not just professors but mentors and—even more important—friends.
Dan Kamykowski, junior, Estill Springs, Tenn.
For my class, "The Theme of Love in French Literature and Film," Karin Ciholas [Van Winkle Professor of Language] invited us, as well as the German class on the same theme, to her house for a dinner and discussion. Professor Ciholas was aware that I lived in my fraternity's house on campus and when dinner was over and we were all leaving, she gave me the left-over brownies and said "Give my compliments to the Beta house," (in French, of course).
Christina Logsdon, junior, Mt. Washington, Ky.
Dr. Goodrum is not only a great sociology professor, but is very personable, too. Her lectures are quirky and intelligently structured and I've enjoyed a number of her courses. This past spring, toward the end of her "Sociological Research Methods" course, she invited all of her students to her home for our last class. It was fun to get to see where she lives and even better because she made us some snacks, Martha-Stewart-style. She answered our questions and helped us prepare for our final and it was a great experience just being outside of the classroom.
Jim Brehm, junior, Cincinnati, Ohio
Dr. Donna Plummer [associate professor of education], had all elementary education majors that were entering student teaching over to her home for a celebration dinner of reaching that point in our college careers. Her husband joined us for great beef stew and an incredible dessert. It was another opportunity to come together as an education department and share all the struggles and excitements that come with being an education major at Centre College. This personal relationship is truly what makes the Centre College education department respected throughout the state.
Rhiannon Ledgerwood, freshman, Stony Brook, N.Y.
As part of his Humanities 110 class, Dr. Reigelman invited us to his home to partake in a fine Roman stew. We went during common hour and drove out to his home where we were well received by his wife. We all grouped in his living room and we started discussing... (well I don't remember what, but I'm sure it was it educational.) We then went and sat and ate the Roman stew. When we asked what type of meat was in it, Dr. Reigelman said squirrel. I'm still not sure if he was joking or not. It was good stew.
The best thing about Centre is the professors. They honestly care about you and how you do in class. They're very accessible and they're there if ever you have any questions. I had hoped that the professors would be engaging when I came this year, which they are, but I never expected to be invited to a professor's home or to be so happy that I traveled the many miles between New York and Danville, Kentucky.
Lyndsey Ryan, sophomore, Louisville, Ky.
Over this past CentreTerm I took a French Cinema class with Patrice Mothion [associate professor of French]. Towards the end of the class he invited us to his home in Danville to have a "French Night" with about 25 different cheeses to taste from all over France. I love Patrice. Since he is from France, this experience will help me when I travel there for the upcoming semester this fall. It was a lot of fun and everyone had a great time while we were eating cheese and listening to amusing attempts at French rap and other French music.
Matt Nestheide, sophomore, Edgewood, Ky.
The first week of [my] freshman year, Dean Johnston [Stodghill Professor of Mathematics] invited us to his house. Not only did he invite us to his home when we could have met in a classroom, but he served us ice cream. We talked about the book, A Man For All Seasons, and just hung out in his living room. It was just amazing to me that he, not only a professor but a dean of the college, would welcome us into his home. This event, so early on in my experience at Centre, simply reaffirmed the notion that I had made the correct choice in deciding where to go to school.
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