Today, we began the new semester, and I can feel the change in the pace of life on campus. The summer was especially busy, but there is always new energy in the air at the start of the fall semester. The freshmen are busy getting their rooms organized and finding their classrooms. The upper-class students have been helping with orientation and getting themselves ready for the new year. The athletes on our fall teams are running laps on the track, hopefully getting in shape for the season. The theater department already performed a wonderful play this past weekend. Faculty members are putting final touches on courses and, as I write, some have taught their first classes. Staff members are extraordinarily busy assisting students.
As part of this new cycle, I just returned from checking out the classroom for my Introduction to Law course. Someone recently commented that not many college presidents regularly teach semester long courses and asked me how I find the time to teach. It is simple -- I make the time! Since arriving at Nazareth, I have taught a variety of law related courses, including Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Introduction to Law. My students have been upper-class members, and I have been impressed by their thoughtfulness, their writing skills, and their refreshing interest in the broad underlying issues we study together.
Why do I make the time? The reasons are in part personal and perhaps a bit selfish. First, I love teaching. Also, it allows me to remain involved in my academic and scholarly interests. But, there is a more fundamental reason. College presidents spend a great deal of time on the business side of operating a college. So too, we devote a large part of our time and effort on external affairs-- telling the college's story, friend-raising, and fund-raising. Teaching and learning, however, are at the center of the Nazareth experience. As president, I feel a need to stay connected to that core. So, twice a week I very much look forward to the walk across campus to my beautiful classroom in the newly constructed Peckham Hall.
One of the many pleasures of working at a residential college is that there is a rhythm to campus life. The new cycle has begun.