Part of what makes Erskine so special–part of that unique feeling on campus that no one can quite explain–is the faculty. Every professor at Erskine could most likely make more money and gain more prestige working elsewhere but they choose to be here. I know many instances of professors leaving higher-paying jobs (or turning down enticing offers) elsewhere to be here. This is so striking because it shows just how much these individuals truly care about us, their students.
While at Erskine, I have had the most contact with the psychology, foreign language, and music departments. Professors in almost every department, though, have deeply impacted me in both similar and varying ways. I have never seen a teacher as truly excited about math as Dr. Gorka and I have also had the benefit of his excellent advising regarding study abroad. I have learned–and retained–more world history in the past few years than I have the rest of my life combined. Dr. Granados’ classes have both frustrated me and massively improved my ability to communicate in Spanish, as well as fostered a genuine interest in Spanish literature. I talk to her as a professor and as a friend. Our current acting president, Dr. Christie, has also been my acting director and my English teacher. I know of no one else who could make the book Moby Dick as interesting as he did in his American Romanticism course.
I have spent hundreds of hours in the music building singing as part of a choral ensemble, in voice lessons, in practice rooms, and as a performer in many concerts and musical productions; and I have attended many other musical performances by amateurs and professionals. Thanks to Erskine’s music department, I have had a music scholarship for four years even though I am not a major or minor. Singing with the Choraleers for four years, as well as Chamber Singers and Bella Voce, has afforded me the opportunity to sing and worship at dozens of churches around the southeastern United States. Some of my favorite memories of college were made during Choraleers retreats or trips. Singing sacred music with a choir and conductor who actually believe the words we are singing is a far more powerful experience than singing the same music with a secular ensemble. And Dr. Nabholz’s daily witty comments and retorts never fail to make us laugh.
The professors in the psychology department have been my encouragement, my biggest supporters, and sometimes my biggest frustrations. Drs. Elsner, Showalter, Sniteman, and now Dr. Van Scoy are truly some of my favorite people on campus. They have celebrated my achievements with me, given me countless words of motivation and advice, and helped me find my footing when I stumble. I have read thousands of pages and spent countless hours studying for this department, but it is [almost] never boring. These professors see potential in me that I never would have found or believed on my own, and they are part of the reason that I consider the psychology lobby/lab my second home on campus. If I get accepted into a graduate program, and survive, it will be due to the thorough preparation they have given me.
I know of few universities where professor can connect your name to your face, let alone know your family, hometown, major, and campus involvement. I not only learn from these extremely intelligent individuals, I eat meals with them, know their families, and have called them at home or on their cell phone. They remember to ask about my health when I’ve been ill or hurt or how a major assignment or exam turned out when I’ve been stressed. More than a couple of professors kept up with me and my travels and experiences abroad via Facebook and I don’t find that weird at all. Erskine may have more than its fair share of stellar professors, but I would not change that for anything.