Welcome to Queens College. I hope you had a most enjoyable summer. I would like to extend a special welcome to the members of the class of 2010. You are joining our community at a very exciting time, and I know that your presence will make the college an even more exciting place to be.
Once again this year we have hired some fine new faculty. They come from Berkeley, Yale, and Columbia, the Universities of Chicago and Pennsylvania, Tsinghua University in China and University College Dublin. Among them are specialists in U.S. military history, African-American literature, ceramics, bilingual education, software design for people with disabilities, South Asian history, and environmental justice.
I remember as an undergraduate spending my first year staring mutely at what I considered to be the nearly god-like professors at the front of my classes. I was certain that they knew absolutely everything and would laugh at anything I had to say. Fortunately, I overcame my shyness and now have fond memories of conversations with my teachers.
I hope you too will take the time to get to know your professors. Year after year the nation’s top college guidebooks quote our students as praising the accessibility of our faculty. There is no better way to feel part of our community or to gain insight into what it would be like to pursue a career in a certain field than talking to your professors. As a teacher for over 30 years, I can assure you that no professor feels god-like, and no professor enjoys watching students silently file out at the end of a class. We want to hear from you as your questions and ideas stimulate us and help us to know if we are doing our jobs as well as we could.
An excellent opportunity to meet some professors is at our annual Faculty Staff Assembly in LeFrak Hall on Wednesday, October 18. Most of our new faculty will be introduced at this event, and many of our other professors will also be present.
I stress the meeting of faculty and students so strongly because I believe in Queens College as a learning community that exists outside the classroom. I know many of you have demanding jobs and family obligations. But I think you will find that as busy as you are, the extra time you spend on campus will energize you and make it easier for you to fulfill your other obligations.
I encourage you to join a club (we have over 100 of them) or a sports team. The college participates in the very competitive Division II, and this year we have added seven new teams for which you can try out (men’s soccer and men’s and women’s indoor track, outdoor track, and cross country teams). Or if you just want to stay in shape, you will enjoy our new recreation center with its state-of-the-art equipment. And we also have quite a few places you can relax with friends, grab something to eat, and take advantage of the fact that we are a wireless campus.
I wish you all the best in the coming year and look forward to meeting and talking with you.