Who was your favorite teacher and why?
FRANK E. CUMMINGS III: “Ray Hein (emeritus professor of art). He was teaching at Long Beach State when I met him as a freshman. He was one of those teachers, who, after class, would go to his studio and work on his own work; the kind of person who didn’t mind if students poked their heads in and asked questions. I was in there a lot, asking a lot of questions. He was my primary mentor.”
ZVI DREZNER: “I had many good teachers in my college studies and I cannot think of one that really stood out. The ones I liked were those who explained the material clearly.”
JANE V. HALL: “I have been blessed with many fantastic teachers. My high school Shakespeare teacher is the standout, however. She lived, breathed and acted Shakespeare in a way that called all of her students to pay attention and learn what all the fuss was about. She would stand on her desk and recite passages to bring the less intrigued students into the fold. She figured out what would ‘hook’ each of us and used that to help every student realize the power of language and of story. Forty years later, several of us from that class are still talking about her, and her influence on us.”
STEVEN N. MURRAY: “I have three favorite teachers. The first is Michael Neushul, one of my professors at UC Santa Barbara when I was studying for my master’s degree. He was an ‘idea man’ in that he structured his teaching around investigations and experiments. He was so excited about his work and always made time to see students. The second is Ian Ross, another professor at Santa Barbara who provided students in his classes with 24-hour access to the labs, living specimens for students to work with and the best equipment he could find. This allowed us to conduct all sorts of observations and experiments. Finally, my Ph.D. adviser, Peter Dixon, who came to the U.S. from the United Kingdom, was a favorite because he was so well organized and thoughtful. He had a way of synthesizing his thoughts and working one-on-one with me. Interestingly, one of my favorite professors was very organized and methodical and the other was very unorganized, but very enthusiastic. I see the influence of all three of these teachers in my own teaching style.”
NANCY L. SEGAL: “My graduate thesis adviser at the University of Chicago, Daniel G. Freedman, was by far my favorite teacher. He loved new ideas so long as his students could explain why they were interesting and important. He also encouraged students to think for themselves and to choose topics that were professionally engaging and personally meaningful.”
RAPHAEL J. SONENSHEIN: “There were numerous great lecturers I remember from college, but one professor, Paul Ylvisaker, took me under his wing and brought me to Newark City Hall, where I learned about the excitement of mayors and city leadership. He remained by mentor until he died several years ago.”
HALLIE YOPP SLOWIK: “I had the good fortune of having many extraordinary teachers over the years: John Wilson, my high school English teacher; Carmen Nieto, my high school Spanish teacher; John Elfert, my high school mathematics teacher; Ash Bishop, my first graduate school professor; and Harry Singer, my doctoral mentor. Interestingly, they were all quite different from one another. They had diverse personalities, came from very dissimilar walks of life, and had vastly different approaches to teaching and interaction styles with students. However, there were four characteristics they had in common: a tremendous expertise in their fields, a passion for their subject matter, a dedication to and respect for their students and colleagues and high expectations of themselves and all their students.”