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The warm presence of Hamilton professors

February 26, 2012   

If there is one thing that cannot be overstated about Hamilton College, it is the overwhelming generosity of the professors. The 9:1 student faculty ratio encourages an easy and free communication between teachers and students, a characteristic that should not be underestimated.  Being a professor at Hamilton is no small deal, and you can be assured that most every teacher is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the subject he or she teaches. Professors deserve their positions, but this never makes them unapproachable.

Indeed, the expertise of Hamilton professors makes encouraging interested students one of the greatest joys of being here. I do not presume to speak for any one specific professor, but I can tell that they all revel in the one-on-one relationships that they are able to build with students. I recently had an informal meeting with my professor of poetry, Jane Springer, and I came away quite inspired, feeling like I had effectively communicated with someone whose opinion on poetry I admire a lot. In truth, these moments feel like an integral part of my education, one I feel like I would be without at a larger school.

Recently, Lucy Ferris, author of the new book The Lost Daughter, came to visit campus. She is one of the many esteemed writers who have come to campus this semester. She took the reigns in my Study of the Novel class, and we discussed publishing and her experiences as a writer and educator (which included a stint as professor of creative writing at Hamilton back in the 90s). One student asked her what her impressions of Hamilton were, and she responded with a particularly interesting point. She said that the community here is more close-knit than what you would find at any large school, and is ever more “communal” than other small schools that are next to larger college towns.  Because Clinton is such a small town, the professors do not simply disappear after 5 o’clock. They are a regular sight on the Hill and are easy to reach. This point was well taken and furthered my appreciation of the kind of community that Hamilton fosters so well.  It truly is one of a kind.