BY JOSEPH TROCHEZ
Drew University’s Two-Year College Teaching Certificate program has returned to County College of Morris this semester for its third run.
Six Drew students and six CCM professors are enrolled in the mentorship program that CCM Professor Bill Day founded three years ago. He laid down the groundwork and established how the program would run. This year, CCM English Professor Dr. Phillip Chase, has taken over the role of coordinator.
The certificate program is offered to arts and letters doctoral students at Drew University wanting to explore teaching at a two-year school, as a two-part program.
The first part took place last spring as a course teaching the theory of being a professor at a two-year school. The course was first co-taught at Drew, by Chase and Drew Professor Sandra Jamieson. According to Harry Baumgartner, a Drew student, in order to continue to part two, students needed to earn a B or higher in the course.
Part two, which is taking place this fall semester, has the students who passed the theory course shadowing professors at CCM in the student’s field of study. They will attend each class and by the end of the program will have taught one or two of the classes.
“You get the theory to prepare you, and then you sort of hit the road,” Chase said. “And you get to see where the theory meets reality.”
Chase, besides teaching the theory course with Jamieson, is also in charge of organizing events for the students during the semester and pairing each student with a professor. Chase said he wanted professors who were experienced, patient with their intern, and would act like a good role model in teaching. He said that the personalities match between mentor and mentee. “I’m the matchmaker,” Chase said.
The coordinator said he learned what made the students tick in the spring, which helped with the selection process. Once he locked down a match, he acted like Wendy and Peter Pan by sewing a shadow (a student) to their designated mentor.
Chase said the program is important not only for the prospective professor, but also for CCM’s staff.
“This is a learning process for both the students and the mentors,” Chase said. “I look at this as not just an opportunity for the students. The CCM faculty who have the opportunity to participate in this are actually getting to develop as well.”
Chase said he thinks that for some professors, teaching has turned into second nature so they don’t get the chance to reflect. Working with their shadows will give them that opportunity.
Baumgartner, who will follow Professor John Apwah’s Major British Writers class, has been through many walks of life but is bringing his life full circle by returning to his first passion. He has a bachelor’s in English from Rutgers University. He earned his MBA at Centenary College and earned his Law Degree at Seton Hall University.
With all these accolades, Baumgartner finds himself back to pursuing English and a career in teaching.
“I don’t think there is any greater profession than teaching,” Baumgartner said. “I think the rewards are immense; the challenges are great. You can truly make a difference unlike most other professions.”
His fellow classmate Elizabeth Myers would most likely agree with him, being in her own unique situation. She is shadowing Professor Laura Gabrielsen’s Children’s Literature class and teaching a writing class on her own at Drew University.
“I’m in this strange position of teaching the first class and being able to say to my supervising professor, ‘I did this and don’t want to, or hey, I did this, and it really worked. Do you think this will work here?’” Myers said. “So that’s been incredibly
Myers achieved a master’s in young adult and children’s literature. She said she first found her love in this field taking these classes at Brookdale Community College. She said she would love teaching either course at the community level and inspire students in the same way she was inspired.
She said everybody should be granted the chance to learn and grow. Myers said she believes that the learning process never stops.
“Nobody ever gets to a certain point in their life [and says] ‘I’m done’,” Myers said. “Everybody is constantly learning and growing. If you are not, you are sitting still, and that’s no way to live your life. I want to help anyone who has the drive to explore outside themselves.”
Philosophy Professor Ken Shouler’s shadow, Cordelza Haynes, along with her fellow arts and letters doctoral classmates, know the importance of teaching.
“Teaching, for me, is an opportunity to engage students in a new level of community,” Haynes said.
Regarding her future students, she said she hopes one day her lessons will transcend beyond the classroom. Haynes is working on earning her doctorate in religion, which is one of the fields she would like to teach along with ethics and philosophy.
Haynes, said she only sat in one of Shouler’s classes so far but was impressed with the way he was able to engage with his students and hopes she can attain that level of engagement.
“He’s an energetic professor and clearly is in touch with the material and enjoys his material,” Haynes said.