Cocuzza responds; the joys of being a professor

Each week, the editors will choose an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education. An interview will be conducted with several CAS professors. The responses will be posted in this section in a straightforward Q and A layout.

This section is opinion based.

The editors of This Week In CAS are asking that you, the professors of CAS, use this as an opportunity to look outside your department and consider what your CAS colleagues  think about the issues of the academy.

Q: In a recent article published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Professor Marybeth Gasmen said: “Often times, I think that we faculty members give students the idea that being a professor is a drag.” Gasmen went on to give many reasons why she enjoys her career as a professor – including: “the opportunity to teach subjects about which I feel passionate;” “the opportunity to shape many of the policies and practices about which I write;” and “my relationship with students and former students.”

Here is a link to Gasmen’s article:

In response to Gasmen’s ideas, share a few reasons why you enjoy being a professor.

A: If I said to you that from now on you get to do the thing you most love every day, then how would you feel? I imagine you would say, “Great!” Right? Now if I asked you, “What makes it great?” Trying to put that into words it becomes more difficult. The obvious answers are: “It is rewarding,” and “I have the freedom to express myself through the work” and “it is wonderful to see the light bulbs go off when students make an important academic discovery…”

While the aforementioned are all true,  I have a great sense of accomplishment everyday. Having come to academia later in my life, there is a great sense of accomplishment and joy I bring to work everyday. As a professor, I have a job where I am allowed to care about the success of others and the future of my department. There is something to be said for touching the life of another person in some small way if/when it happens. I have a job where I am encouraged to learn something new everyday, be creative and share moments of discovery. I get to interact with colleagues both in and out of my department whose own work and spirit helps me to better put my own life in perspective.  AND finally…the best thing is… that tomorrow I get to do it all over again.

Peter Cocuzza

Department Chair and Associate Professor of Theater and Dance

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