Student quotes | Alumni quotes

Faculty Perspectives

Beyond memorization
Real education has more to do with developing intellectual skills than with memorizing facts. In my experience, students learn more if they are involved, and you couldn't possibly get more involved than with One Course At A Time.”  Craig Allin, professor of politics

Professor Allin was featured in a Wisconsin Public Radio interview on OCAAT in 2011. Listen to the full interview

Craig Allin

Integrating science research into the classroom
While learning about neural communication in my Biological Psychology course, students monitor their brain activity via electroencephalography...Next, students get the opportunity to apply these research methodologies in their own original research proposals which are based on the existing primary literature in biological psychology and behavioral neuroscience.”  Melinda Green, psychology professor

Read more of Prof. Green's thoughts about teaching One Course At A Time

Melinda Green

Role-playing game brings international relations to life
Even before starting at Cornell I thought it would be instructive to play the board game Diplomacy as a simulation in the basic international politics class...On a traditional calendar, I couldn't figure out how to do it. Even if I were blessed with a class an hour and 50 minutes long, we would only meet twice a week and we'd have to put everything else in the class on hold. Here at Cornell, we can have seminar meetings in the morning and do the simulation in the afternoons.”  David Yamanishi, politics professor

Read more of Prof. Yamanishi's thoughts about teaching One Course At A Time

David Yamanishi

The world is their classroom
The best place to learn about geology is in the field or in the lab where students can interact with the Earth...even the most difficult concepts become clearer when you can stare at the rock, touch it, sketch it, follow it through the woods, hammer it, and examine it at length with a hand lens. As long as the field trips are in the syllabus at the start of class, I can schedule field trips of any length, ranging from half a day to several weeks.”  Emily Walsh, geology professor

Read more of Prof. Walsh's thoughts about teaching One Course At A Time

Emily Walsh

Guest artists enable 'master classes'
One of the things my colleagues and I appreciate most about One Course At A Time is the unprecedented access it allows to guest artists...Imagine a four-hour master class for several days, a week, or better yet, an entire block. Most theatre professionals are used to living their lives on six-week rehearsal periods before packing up and moving to the next show, and it's often not too difficult to squeeze in a three-and-a-half week residency in Mount Vernon with a little planning.”  Scott Olinger, theatre professor

Read more of Prof. Olinger's thoughts about teaching One Course At A Time

Scott Olinger

Learning languages where they're spoken
OCAAT has inspired me to lead off-campus courses in locations such as Montréal, Canada, Fez, Morocco, and Aix-en-Provence, France. In a month's time, students make great strides in their speaking and listening skills by living with host families and engaging with local communities in French. Their cultural proficiency improves even more as they are forced to navigate the unspoken codes and customs of the society in which they are placed.”  Devan Baty, French professor

Read more of Prof. Baty's thoughts about teaching One Course At A Time

Devan Baty

Liberal arts are still central
My friend and colleague Charlotte Vaughan and I used to talk about the shift to OCAAT as the shift from skipping stones in a semester-long course to throwing rocks in the three-and-a-half week format...The water is the same, the rocks are the same, but the thrown rocks go deeper. The ripples move outward, intersecting other ripples. And that, after all, is what the liberal arts has always been about.”  Richard Peterson, professor emeritus of sociology

Read more of Prof. Peterson's thoughts about teaching One Course At A Time

Richard Peterson

Digging into literature
I like teaching literature on the block plan because -- especially with really rich texts like Milton's Paradise Lost, Allen Ginsburg's Howl, or Virginia Woolf's The Waves -- we can really dig in and sustain intense readings of these texts. Students get the opportunity to inhabit the literature: they can feel its textures, breathe its rhythms.”  Shannon Reed, English professor

Shannon Reed

Courses anywhere in the world
"With OCAAT, students have a chance to actually experience other cultures where we can reinforce what they're studying. I take students to Trinidad and Barbados and to the Island of San Salvador in The Bahamas."  Alfrieta Monagan, anthropology professor

Alfrieta Monagan

Language immersion = immediate results
“By the end of their first week of foreign language study at Cornell, students are able to give an oral presentation in the target language. And students can complete the normal ‘two-year’ equivalency of language required by most colleges in just four blocks at Cornell. There are exciting opportunities as well for more in-depth language study through independent study classes, off-campus internships, and several courses that are taught abroad allowing for total immersion.”  Carol Lacy-Salazar, Spanish professor

Carol Lacy-Salazar

History without boundaries
“Cornell history courses incorporate movies, travel to the Newberry Library in Chicago, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, and the Meskwaki Tribal Reservation — all because of the flexibility of OCAAT. With OCAAT we can immerse ourselves in our subject, and from different perspectives examine books, articles, letters, speeches, and more.”  Phil Lucas, history professor

Phil Lucas

Student teaching with support and feedback
“Only on the block plan at Cornell College can students be placed in public schools half of the day and in the college classroom the other half of the day discussing what was observed and the theoretical connections. These practicum opportunities allow our students to progress with meaningful and immediate feedback from faculty and practicing classroom teachers.”  Kerry Bostwick, education professor

Kerry Bostwick

Finals in the museum
"In Twentieth-Century Art, students take a daylong final exam in nearby museums, considering works of art they have never seen in class. When they can think on their feet and respond to unknown images with informed comments, I have succeeded as a teacher."  Christina McComber, art history professor

Chris McComber

Flexible labs, well-rounded scientists
“In many science courses, lab and lecture are integrated; students move back and forth between the lab and the classroom, with breaks dictated by the material rather than by the clock. And at Cornell, a chemistry major in an English course or a political science course can devote his or her time and energy to that course. The result is more than just an ‘exposure’ to the liberal arts.”  Cindy Strong, chemistry professor

Cindy Strong

Intensive acting studio
"With OCAAT you essentially have the structure of an intensive acting studio, with students’ time dedicated exclusively to their acting projects. I love having the students all to myself for a month, and am always thrilled with the progress that a truly disciplined student is able to make in that concentrated period."  Jody Hovland, theatre professor

Jody Hovland

From lecture to lab to off-campus opportunities
“OCAAT provides the opportunity to work individually with students during times other than scheduled class sessions. It also allows us to take students off campus to observe professionals working in our field or to gain valuable practical experience in a variety settings.”  Steve DeVries, kinesiology professor

Steve Devries