Often, when good things happen we say that the stars have aligned. That may or may not literally be what’s happening in the sky at that moment, but whenever it does happen, CCV-St. Johnsbury students will get to see it. Literally.
We all have skeletons in the closet, but CCV instructor Luisa Millington brings hers out to share with students.
“I have analyzed more than 3,000 human remains because Rome is a very unique situation,” said Millington, who is a native of the Italian city. “Rome has volcanic rock that is very acidic, so what happens is the acidity decomposes the flesh very quickly but preserves the bones, which is why we have so many necropoli around Rome, and every necropolis has hundreds and hundreds of human remains that need to be studied.”
In a world in which many of us navigate via Google Maps, CCV-Springfield instructor Brad Houk has taken a different route, and his students are more than happy follow him.
“I like to create maps that make a difference concerning social issues,” Houk says.
If there’s one thing faculty member Shawn Kerivan has artfully mastered, it’s the power of living creatively.
“The way I teach my classes and lead my life is from the point of view of a creative writer,” says the Stowe-based author. “I try to find the creative approach to everything first and find the energy there.”
Kerivan teaches at CCV in Morrisville. He started in the Learning Center’s writing lab eight years ago and moved quickly to teaching foundational courses, then English Composition, and after a couple years it morphed into “basically every writing course available.”
In a nation with a third of its adults considered obese, almost two million people being diagnosed with diabetes each year, and innumerable diet fads that all seem to contradict each other, what you choose to put into your mouth—a huge determinant of health—can sometimes be confusing.
“It’s really important that people know something about nutrition, it is incredibly foundational for health,” says Emily Samet, a part-time faculty member at CCV Springfield who teaches the subject there. “It’s the reason I love to teach it.”
In addition to holding a master’s degree in nutrition from Bridgeport University in Connecticut, Samet is a clinical herbalist and yoga instructor, as well as a student of the School of Evolutionary Astrology. She originally got into nutrition by way of herbalism and focuses on a science-based, holistic approach to the subject. She stresses the importance of the interconnectivity of our mental and physical health, and says her love of yoga helps to round out that approach.
Melissa Elwell insists that being a people millionaire is one of her greatest strengths as a teacher.
“I literally called in every favor I had and said ‘I want top of the line fingerprint kits, I want top of the line laser systems, I want stringing kits so I can do blood splatters.’ That’s the people millionaire thing,” the CCV Bennington instructor said of her prep work for the forensics class she teaches. “I really believe that my students deserve everything you would get at a major university.”
And while it may be true that having lots of connections makes for great classes–Elwell has had author Archer Mayor visit class and called on judges to open up court rooms for use–in actuality there are likely other factors at play. For instance, one could say students are drawn to her classes because they feel like the real world.
“Most people’s experience with imagery is in advertisements in magazines, and photos in newspapers, and in their own family photos,” says Kurt Budliger. “They see these great pictures in magazines, and then they see their own photos, and they don’t match up.”
For Budliger, a professional photographer working in the Northeast, this is a situation that can be corrected, and it’s a key element of his teaching at CCV.
“To be a great photographer is not so much getting the key to the secret lock, it’s time on task, it’s just hard work,” Budliger said. “You just have to devote yourself to making photographs everyday, all the time, to developing your eye and developing your vision.”
No college can guarantee you’ll land the perfect job right after graduating, but Dan Davis doesn’t pull any punches when he says studying with him for four semesters will give you a leg up.
“Everyone I know who has network administration positions is looking for skilled employees and not necessarily finding people with the skill level their wanting to find, so there are lots of opportunities,” Davis said. “And even if someone doesn’t go into network engineering specifically, say they go into server administration or something else, this is an awesome foundation to have that puts them heads and shoulders above peers who’ve been in the IT industry for ten or fifteen years.”
In the real world, experience matters. In the classroom, real-world experience matters.
“Having worked in two different states in two completely different environments, I’ve seen the urban issues as well as the rural issues,” Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley says on teaching students about the causes of crime and how to deal with it. “I bring to the class real-life examples of how this causation works. I can render some fact-based opinions as opposed to anecdotal or strictly text book opinions on things and I can give real-world examples.”
With twelve academic centers, hundreds of online courses, and programs designed specifically for businesses and high schools, it’s well understood that CCV serves the communities of Vermont in many ways. But what some may not realize that CCV’s faculty bring community expertise into the classroom to enrich the student experience, and Hanley is just one example of that.
Diana Stone is the co-owner of Stone Underground Construction and a CCV graduate.