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Putting the Professors in the Hot Seat

When you come to visit Grove City College, you may meet some wonderful people who say they will be there for you for the duration of your studies at Grove City College – and they are not kidding. They will tell you they are here to make sure you grow as an individual in both your spiritual and academic life. They will tell you all the cool things you have the opportunity to learn about and they will say they have been praying for you. Who are these people? None other than the professors.

To better explain why these professors are so fantastic, I have critically reviewed some I have had over the years to show you how each one is different and challenging, but always acting with your best interest in mind. Warning: this is going to be a long post.

Hot Seat #1: Dr. Messer – English

My first experience with Dr. Messer started at 9 a.m. on the first day of classes. Side note, Dr. Messer is the head of the English Department and winner of the Professor of the Year Award in 2015 (intimidating). I was in the required Writing 101 class all freshmen have to take, and I was extremely nervous to be in my first college class AND have it be a subject I am not the best at. Dr. Messer seemed pretty cool in his introduction of himself in front of all 13 IMG_0971(2)students, but what got me was he said it was required for all of us come to his office for 15 minutes before the week was over. I thought that was a little weird and out of my way – why would a professor want to see his students so early in the semester? Oh, little naive me. Upon meeting Dr. Messer in person in his office, I came to realize he requested those 15 minutes because he wanted to know who I was so he could better understand why my writing and class performance was the way it was.

The remainder of the semester I was continually impressed by Dr. Messer. Since he had met me before and knew a little bit more about my hometown and family, I felt extremely comfortable going back during his office hours to ask more questions. I knew I was not the strongest writer, and I blatantly said that during my meeting – so it was no surprise when I knocked on his door two weeks later asking for help on my persuasive essay. It is hard to put into words how helpful Dr. Messer was in a class I felt extremely like a fish out of water in. The best part about him as an instructor was he knew his faults. This was his first semester teaching Writing 101 so he was honest with us and said, “I am new to this too.” One of our assignments entailed writing on a topic within our major of study using library book resources. Do you know how many books are written by entrepreneurs? Not very many. As an Entrepreneurship major, this task was difficult so I said to him one class, “What would you like me to do? There are no entrepreneurship encyclopedias to look at.” He accommodated yet challenged me by saying, “Base your research on what you can find, but I have never studied entrepreneurship so impress me.” I did.

To this day, I see Dr. Messer around and he always says hi to me and asks me how I am doing – he still remembers my name a year and a half later.

Hot Seat #2: Professor English – Entrepreneurship

I met Yvonne English on Junior Crimson day a long time ago when the academic departments had open houses. I already knew I wanted to be an Entrepreneurship major but I had no idea what kind of academics that involved or what kind of professors I would have to deal with. I walked into the Entrepreneurship suite and my dad (to this day) said my face lit up. I was star-struck and high on cloud nine. What brought me back down to the real world was IMG_0957Professor English. She warmly welcomed me, offered me a free t-shirt (bonus!), and asked me my name, why I was into entrepreneurship, and all that typical small talk. Once she started explaining the program, she sold me on Grove City.

Fast forward to today, Professor English and I are buddies. I have had several classes with her and in each one she pushes me a little bit further outside of my comfort zone. She in no way, shape, or form babies her students. As Entrepreneurship majors, we have to know the material because it is real life, and if we fail on an idea in the real world there is no professor to hug us and say we can have a curve on our grade. Professor English takes tough love to a whole new level because she wants her students to succeed. Before she was a professor, English worked with several startups and accelerators so the topics she is teaching us in class she knows from experience.

I always go say good morning to her in her office – I feel like the day is not complete until I see her. This past semester I had another professor in a generic, required course that was really pushing my buttons and I would tell English about him when I would visit her. One morning, this professor and I just had a breaking point. I acted disrespectfully towards him and felt very bad about it, but did not know what to do. So when I wandered into English’s office I told her what was going on, and honestly, shed a tear or two because I was so upset at what happened. She handed me a tissue box and said, “I will help you write your apology email.”

I have stories upon stories of the nice things English has done for me (like buying me donuts or taking me to Rome in the summer) but that would be an entire blog post in and of itself.

Hot Seat #3: Dr. Tedford – Orchestra

My sister, Maddie, graduated last May as an early education major and during her time on campus she was the principle cellist of the orchestra. I met Dr. Tedford through Maddie. I was a timpanist (the big drums in the back of the orchestra) for all four years of high school and Maddie wanted me to play with her so she introduced me to Dr. IMG_0279Tedford in hopes he would win me over. But I am stubborn and refused to join. The story does not end there, Maddie and her roommate, Abby, were babysitters for Dr. Tedford’s two (now three) little kids. Naturally, the two got attached and Dr. Tedford created a strong bond with Maddie and Abby. So strong, in fact, when Maddie comes up to the area now to visit her boyfriend she will stay in the Tedford home. Whether they are there or not they always welcome Maddie for a visit.

What does this have to do with me? Maddie, naturally, would talk about me with Dr. Tedford and the subject of my photography came up in conversation. Dr. Tedford at the time was looking for a photographer to take photos of the orchestra so he emailed me asking if I was available for about an hour to take photos of the orchestra. I, of course, accepted. As time passed and he continued to ask me to take pictures he was so impressed with my work he hired me as the music department photographer for the band and orchestra. I have a special place in my heart for the orchestra because of Maddie and my past life as a timpanist so I have had an absolute blast being Dr. Tedford’s music photographer.

Maybe other school’s music conductors would do the same sort of thing to hire a student as a photographer – but Dr. Tedford is different. Every time I see him during rehearsal, he asks me how Maddie is doing, how my parents are, and if I am ready to listen to some music. The established relationship makes my job even better.

I believe majority of what makes my college experience great is the people I have come to know and love. These “people” include the amazing professors who have taken me under their wing and make it their goal to help me grow as a student.


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