Fall 2006 Edition
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New Perspectives

How do Willamette's 15 newest faculty members describe their personal teaching philosophy?

Laura I Appleman

Laura I Appleman

assistant professor of law

"My personal teaching philosophy is to enable students to think outside the confines of the black-letter law, to explore the policy and philosophy that frame the discourse of criminal law and procedure."

Anthony Coleman

Anthony Coleman

assistant professor of philosophy

"I believe a teacher should expose students to new ideas, teach them how to think critically and encourage intellectual honesty and humility."

Keith Cunningham-Parmeter

Keith Cunningham-Parmeter

assistant professor of law

"The practice and study of law are creative endeavors. Higher-order thinking is not triggered by simply reading a statute or spitting out a legal rule. I try to teach my students that successful lawyers are most effective when they evaluate novel legal options and synthesize evolving legal standards creatively."

Jeffrey Dobbins

Jeffrey Dobbins

assistant professor of law

"To communicate and encourage intellectual excitement, practical skills and a professional sensibility upon which the students can draw in a fulfilling lifelong career in the law."

Andrew Duncan

Andrew Duncan

assistant professor of chemistry

"My teaching philosophy is centered on three objectives. One, emphasize concepts over facts; once you understand a concept, many facts become self-evident. Two, to elicit an interesting answer, ask an interesting question. Three, encourage students to become independent, curiosity-driven thinkers."

Andries Fourie

Andries Fourie

assistant professor of art

"Education should foster a spirit of intellectual inquiry and curiosity, an openness to new ideas and a sense of social involvement. I try to fuel my students' curiosity by challenging them to respond to new influences."

Alex T. Jordan

Alex T. Jordan

Lausanne post-doctoral fellow in biology

"I believe in providing an atmosphere for teaching, growth and enrichment beyond just the textbook and coursework, giving students something they can apply beyond the classroom. Learning needs can be met best by one-on-one mentoring."

John Lasseter

John Lasseter

Lausanne post-doctoral fellow in computer science

"The classroom is a community in which each member is responsible for her or his own success and for contributing to the success of others through active participation. Further, no course can be taught in isolation; each is part of some larger body of knowledge whose attainment constitutes the underlying mission of a liberal arts education."

Erin McNicholas

Erin McNicholas

assistant professor of mathematics

"As bell hooks stated, 'The classroom remains the most radical space of possibility ... urging all of us to open our minds and hearts ... so that we can think and rethink, so that we can create.' I strive to create an engaging atmosphere and a place where students can explore new ideas."

Tobias Menely

Tobias Menely

assistant professor of English

"I encourage my students to find pleasure in stories and poetic language, to read and write as a way to cultivate the self and encounter otherness. I also push them to sharpen their skepticism and recognize how ideology works through an image, narrative or metaphor."

Peter T. Otto

Peter T. Otto

assistant professor of mathematics

"To share with my students my enthusiasm and love for the beautiful subject of mathematics while also recognizing and addressing the different mathematical needs of students as part of their undergraduate education."

Wendy Petersen Boring

Wendy Petersen Boring

assistant professor of history

"The seminar is a seedbed, as the Latin root for the term suggests, where ideas take root and are invited to grow. To maximize the growth potential, the classroom should hold together a series of paradoxes: It ought to be rigorous, with lively discussion and complexity, and it must be inviting, nurturing and contain space for rumination."

Amy L. Ramos

Amy L. Ramos

Lausanne post-doctoral fellow in psychology

"As an instructor and researcher in cognitive neuroscience, I find great pleasure in sharing my experiences with students. In the classroom, I encourage them to devise their own opinions and ideas and to be critical about new research findings. Optimal teaching takes place only when students are actively practicing the learning process."

Olympia Vernon

Olympia Vernon

Hallie Brown Ford Chair in Creative Writing, assistant professor of English

"A moment between student and teacher is a large stone; with patience, understanding and words of great wisdom, the stone is eventually chiseled into the shape of ageless power."

Judith Wise

Judith Wise

assistant professor of law

"I have high expectations of my students to signal that they can and should expect much of themselves. I want my class to provide an opportunity for students to explore law more broadly than any given future position will likely permit."