Digging Deeper with Enthusiasm and Brilliance
Members of Kenyon's board recognize great teaching each year with the Trustee Teaching Excellence awards, but it's often the students who make the nominations. Who better than students and former students to sing the praises of the 2008 winners, Associate Professor of History Glenn McNair and Professor of Anthropology David Suggs.
McNair, who won the junior award (for a professor in his first ten years at the College), joined Kenyon's faculty in 2001. He teaches courses on African American history and researches the relations between African Americans and the criminal justice system.
Suggs, who won the senior award (for a professor who has been at Kenyon for at least ten years), teaches courses on cultural anthropology, including ethnomedicine and human sexuality. Last year he chaired the anthropology department.
On Glenn McNair:
"Professor McNair leads class discussion in a way that encourages students to participate and step out of their comfort zones by forcing them to look at historical issues from multiple angles. We know why segregation in southern schools was unjust. Professor McNair forced the class to go deeper: What advantages did this serve the white community? The black community? Professor McNair has made me a better writer, a better speaker, and, most importantly, a better thinker."
-Hannah Blair Schieber '08
"I do not believe that I would be the same student or person if I had not had the amazing experience of learning from Professor McNair."
-Brittany M. Clair '08
"Professor McNair is as well known among students for his unforgiving mark-downs for grammatical errors in term papers as for playing old soul and funk alongside the lectures that reveal our grandparents' and parents' days as vivid, raw, and often shocking."
-Laura Garland '10
On David Suggs:
"Suggs rocks. I always thought he overestimated my ability (and still do), but his expectations made me push myself harder than I would have and do work of a higher quality than I thought I could have."
-Eric Grodsky '91
"Dave has both an enthusiasm and a brilliance for anthropology that makes his students see all the potential the field holds--everything great an anthropologist can and should be. He has an incredible sense of humor that has at least a few of us furiously scribbling down every other word out of his mouth in a vain attempt to capture how fun and funny each class is. He'll also teach you how to make an amazing pie crust or fish in the Kokosing."
-Nicole La Fetra '09
"Dave is the person who really convinced me to become an anthropologist, and he is a model that I constantly look to in my own career as a professor of anthropology at a liberal arts college. His teaching in the classroom is firmly rooted in his field research and his scholarship. When he starts to talk about an encounter with an elder in Botswana as an example of gerontocracy, you are immediately transported to the site and you live the example through him. Dave's classes are so captivating that you almost don't realize how much anthropology he's just covered. To this day, I look at my notes from my introductory class with Dave for inspiration for my own classes."
-Julian Murchison '95