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Those Who Teach

You would think that a first-year like myself might find difficulty in writing holistically about my experiences with faculty and professors, having only been at the school for a few months. At other colleges and universities across the country, that might well be the case, but here at K, things move faster – and that includes the process of getting to know the intelligent, committed individuals who drive our education forward.

One of the first faculty members all first-year students come to know is their academic advisors. I was assigned to Dr. Sugomori, a math and Japanese professor – a stark contrast from my intended majors of English and history! But any concerns I may have had regarding potential incompatibility between the two of us were quickly squashed upon our first meeting. Despite not being a part of the fields I was looking into, Dr. Sugimori was immediately committed to helping me understand requirements and find the right classes to pursue my intended majors. She also expressed sincere interest in how my first semester at K was going, and was visibly delighted to learn I had started writing for The Index – she even vowed to start reading my articles each week!

In addition, one of the first professors I came across in a classroom setting was Dr. Sinha. Within her Classical Hollywood class, I was initially impressed by her seemingly-endless knowledge in any and all subjects relating to film, as well as her ability to articulate these topics, both in the context of the past as well as in the present. But after a few weeks in class, I found myself even more moved by her considerate nature, as she was more than willing to make an appointment with me during office hours when I was unsure about an assignment. Even a few weeks after Classical Hollywood had ended, Dr. Sinha cared enough to return my final essay at my request, and readily agreed to be a reference as I applied for on-campus work.

And of course, no blog post about faculty would be complete without mention of the incredible Dr. Boyer-Lewis, a history professor here at K. I chose to take her Women’s History class at the enthusiastic recommendation of a friend, and I am grateful every day that I did. I find myself surprised at how quickly an hour and fifteen minutes seems to pass with a professor who has so much passion for what she teaches. What’s more, Dr. Boyer-Lewis, like Dr. Sinha, was quick to recognize any potential I may have had, generously offering advice when I approached her about an externship in the field of history and eagerly offering herself up as a recommendation, giving me the confidence to pursue further experience and education, even outside of the classroom.

And in all of this reflection, I think of days in the not-so-distant past when I, too, was a prospective student. I remember searching sites like Rate My Professor religiously to see what current K students thought of the faculty members in my potential fields of study, and thought it had to be impossible that the College’s average professor rating was 4 out of 5, with a number of them earning near perfect scores in every category. But nearly two semesters in, I now understand quite clearly what it is that compelled those former students to write such glowing testimonials of the professors they have learned so much from.

Trust me when I say, when it comes to the faculty at Kalamazoo College, words – whether spoken, written on a blog, or posted on a site – can only say so much. The rest truly must be experienced for itself.

– Addie Dancer ’20