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Features — 02 May 2013

By Joshua Van Laan

Recently The Pleiad had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Kendra Schiffman of the Anthropology and Sociology Department to chat about her experiences at Albion College.

Why are you leaving?

My position was a temporary position, and they need someone that has a different specialization than I do. So I’m going to Beloit College. I actually got a year longer than I expected. Usually visiting professors are temporary.

What will you miss the most about Albion?

The faculty and the students. I’ve loved working with the faculty here because I feel like it’s very collaborative and people I enjoy talking to and are full of great ideas. They’ve definitely challenged my teaching, and I feel like my teaching has improved a lot because of their high standards. I’ve learned a lot from them about how to teach well, and I guess coming here I was surprised how much professors talk about their students because its not the culture I came from in graduate school. They’re extremely devoted to their students and, of course, I’ve gotten to see some students go from intro levels to multiple levels and have sees them advance. It’s always exciting to see them go on and do great things and just to see their development. I really love to be a thesis advisor and just see students progress, and I enjoy interacting with students one-on-one outside of classrooms. And some students I just started to get to know and have to leave, so I’ll definitely miss that. I will also miss Belinda Hale. She does an excellent job and has made my time at Albion a truly remarkable experience.

What was your favorite moment at Albion?

I don’t have one.  I have too many. I just feel like there’s so many great interactions I couldn’t pick, and there’s been great interactions outside of class, great moments in class, different dynamics with different classes — I can’t pick just one.

Additional Comments

I was obviously excited to come here, but my experience has been a gift here. Faculty have been generous, and Albion has an amazing faculty that is full of really incredible scholar teachers who go out of their way for the students, and you see students that rise to the challenge and really invest in learning about the world and going out to change it, improve it, you know. I feel like I’ve grown as a result in all kinds of way, not just as a professor, but personally. I will always look back at this experience as being so formative to me. Last year was one of the hardest years of my life, and I feel like this year I’ve been able to enjoy it more instead of feeling like I had so much to learn. And I still have a lot to learn, but if feel like I was able to establish the relationships with students and faculty that I’ve been able to enjoy so much this year, so that’s been really nice. I just feel like this has taught me a lot that I will be able to take with me.

Photo courtesy of Albion College

 

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About Author

Josh Van Laan is currently a sociology major from Clinton Township.

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