Teaching at Champlain: New(er) Faculty Perspectives

We asked some faculty members who are in their first or second year at Champlain to share their perspectives on teaching, working with Champlain students, and more. Thank you to our contributors!

Jessie Hough

Assistant Professor, Game Production Management
Faculty Since Fall 2022

Head shot of a smiling woman with fair skin, auburn hair, and blue eyes, wearing a purple top and silver necklace

I am continually blown away by the Game Studio students here at Champlain. So many Seniors in my Capstone section exhibit talent and readiness that make them candidates I would have hired at any of the AAA Game Studios I worked for in the past. They are thoughtful, kind, and I know each of them will make a positive difference in the game industry when they graduate.

Mariam Khader

Assistant Professor, Computer and Digital Forensics
Faculty since Fall 2021

Champlain is a welcoming and supportive environment. As a professor from a different country and culture, I found the community here very welcoming, respectful, and understanding. I have a passion to learn new things that will be an added value to my students’ learning experience. In order for me to learn, I needed support, and I found that support here at Champlain through different resources.

A woman with light skin and dark brows, wearing a flowered top and a beige headscarf, stands in front of a river with an arched bridge in the background

Coming from a traditional university, where classes are more theoretical and hardly have any practical parts in them, I found teaching here involves more engagement with students. You get the opportunity not just to give a lecture and leave, but actually to sit and work with each student. This allows me as a professor to better know my students and their capabilities and find ways that I can support them in the areas where they need my support.

Luke Parker

Adjunct Faculty, Core Division
Faculty since Fall 2022

A main with fair skin, reddish hair and beard, and glasses holds a baby while standing in front of bookshelves

Champlain students have challenged me to push my pedagogy in new directions.  Since I began teaching I’ve been acutely aware that it is all too easy to rely, by design or default, on traditional classroom modalities: presentation, discussion, and activity in which the instructor is the focal point for communicating knowledge.  In my experience as a student from elementary through graduate school, this format was practically universal regardless of subject matter.  It worked just fine for me, as I suspect it did for many faculty in higher education, even as I could see that it hardly served every one of my peers.  In my own teaching, then, I have aimed for accessibility and universal design, alongside an emphasis on students’ activity as the focal point for growing skills and knowledge. 

I know that I have yet to fully realize this goal, but have still found myself surprised by the questions or confusions that students present.  Equally surprising has been students’ readiness to coach one another when my exercise or explanation may not hit the mark for someone.  The takeaway for me has been to emphasize collaborative learning, and to make it more central to course work and evaluation in the future.  Parenting has taught me that education and growth are a function of communal rather than individual activity, and Champlain students have likewise pointed me in new directions for applying that truth in my own teaching.

Alena Shisheliakina

Adjunct Faculty, Core Division
Faculty since Fall 2022

My experience of teaching at Champlain College has been exciting, challenging, fascinating, and intellectually stimulating.

For me, with international academic and personal backgrounds, the main challenge is to find culturally familiar examples that work for students. It has taken time for me to learn who Champlain students are, how they think, and what motivates and excites them. Simultaneously, my international background is a great benefit to my students. They have been dealing with understanding my perspective, my academic background, and my identity.

Head-and-shoulders image of a woman with fair skin and chin-length brown hair with a river and park in the background

As Anna Tsing says about the frontier, it is a zone that is unmapped and unregulated, a zone of not-yet; a zone where friction happens, bringing awkward but creative communication.

When I push students’ intellectual boundaries with my international academic and personal background, I push their areas of unknown further, creating a new intellectual frontier for them to reach. Sometimes it is awkward, sometimes it is creative, and sometimes both. But it is an intellectually stimulating and fascinating process for me and my students.

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