Should a professor behave this way?

DrTom with some of his favorite peeps
DrTom with some of his favorite peeps
Just a little hip-hop before a lecture
Just a little hip-hop before a lecture
This is unbecoming a prof
This is unbecoming a prof
DrTom and Valerie were unbeatable at beer pong, until THOSE guys came along
DrTom and Valerie were unbeatable at beer pong, until THOSE guys came along
The last field biology class I ever taught, 2007
The last field biology class I ever taught, 2007

For nearly 30 years, I taught a course at Cornell University titled Introductory Field Biology. The course was a lot of work for students and staff, but we had a lot of fun along the way. We experienced 3-hour field trips and a couple of weekend field trips together, so by the end of the term, we knew each other pretty well. The semester always ended with the traditional field bio party. Many of those students became life-long friends.

But field courses like the one I taught at Cornell have become more and more rare at American universities over the past few decades. They are expensive courses to teach, because of the fees for buses, and there are liability issues. Students can fall and break a leg, or have an allergic reaction to a bee sting, or get bitten by a mammal or a snake captured during field exercises. The staff and the students sometimes have to deal with abrasive personalities within the group, and weekend trips require time away from other social and academic obligations. In short, there are real costs to offering such courses. Based on my own observations and comments freely offered by students over the years, it is worth every bit of it.

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Comments 4 comments

Laura Mc 6 years ago

These pictures make me very happy!

PS the sprawled out drunkenness was the result of the Natty Res party being held on my birthday at our house... there were no excuses not to get ridiculous!


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Life at DrTom's 6 years ago from Ithaca, NY Author

Laura, I remember it well. Lots of fun. Hope you are well.


Jessie C 6 years ago

Yous da bomb docta Tom!


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mquee 6 years ago from Columbia, SC

Interesting hub, that goes to show that anyone teaching on any level can make it fun and educational at the same time.Good hub, Doctor.

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