Student Chelsea Blankenship and Professor Shana Goffredi

Teaching is at the heart of the Occidental experience. Our faculty offer students a rigorous, personalized experience that draws on their own academic passions. Hear a few of them reflect on what they love about their role as educators.

A high-touch, personalized classroom experience is the signature of an Occidental liberal arts education. Hear what our students say about why they love about their professors so much.

Sabrina Stierwalt

“There is a lot of creativity in teaching. You can’t just understand something one way. You have to understand it three, four, or thirty ways as every student has their own perspective.”

Sabrina Stierwalt
Professor Ross Lerner

“Teaching is meaningful to me because it’s a microcosm of knowledge production as a collective endeavor. It requires both labor and pleasure, discipline and waywardness. Teaching literature, in particular, also assumes that the language of others can get inside of us and rearrange us; that remains endlessly fascinating to me.”

Ross Lerner

“Teaching inspires me to aspire to a better self, as it challenges me to find effective ways of engaging with students with diverse backgrounds, identities and goals. Supporting students’ intellectual journeys and witnessing their personal transformations has been a rewarding experience for me.”

Yurika Wakamatsu
Art History

“I love to share my knowledge of mathematics with others and feel especially elated when my students reach out to me after graduation telling me all the wonderful things that they are doing.”

Treena Basu

“People are often very fixed in their contemporary moment. Most of my teaching works to give new perspectives on the present and to show that the present is as historical as the past is. I believe this helps students to understand both the limits and the possibilities of a moment.”

Alexander Day
History, East Asian Studies

“Teaching allows me to continue learning—I love the opportunity to embark into new areas of exploration with students.”

Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa
Religious Studies
Professor Emmanuelle Despagnet-Ayoub

“I really enjoy sharing my knowledge with students; what a reward when you see a smile on their face after understanding a concept. Learning how to scientifically communicate with different backgrounds is also really rewarding.”

Emmanuelle Despagnet-Ayoub