Tuesday night, I tried to go to a play reading in Langroise. But as occasionally happens, there actually was no play reading on Tuesday. There were however, sabbatical presentations across the way in Jewett that made for a good substitute.
Sabbatical presentations are basically reports on what a professor has done with their year or semester away from the classroom, and at C of I, they are almost always given immediately following a wine and cheese reception. The audience for the presentations also tends to be almost exclusively composed of other professors. So walking into the Jewett foyer full of professors drinking wine out of little plastic cups in preparation for talks on sagebrush, the Protestant version of nuns and monks, and capital punishment and burial in the Roman empire is something I would consider a unique C of I experience.
At the appointed time for the presentations to begin, everyone filtered into the auditorium and took their seats. I took a seat towards the back, and the resulting view allowed me to survey all the professors in attendance. There were a few things that struck me then.
One is that had the roof caved in or a bomb exploded, most of C of I’s brainpower would be wiped out. The second is that professors are a lively bunch when they all get together, and they could probably throw some great parties. The third is that professors sat where I would expect them to sit. For instance, the political economy department sat around each other, but not exactly with each other, my favorite literature professor took her own row off to the side, and the history professors were all in a row. The Henbergs sat right up front, and the business professor that I always run into in Langoise took an aisle seat in his own row. But aside from getting ample material to analyze the social habits of C of I profs, I was struck by how many of the professors I know, and how many of them know me.
I’ve always been aware of the fact that C of I is a small school with very accessible professors, but sometimes I forget how exceptional it is to know my professors as well as I do. I doubt that there are many colleges where could I walk into a room full of faculty from departments ranging from physics to literature to business and have them recognize me and know my name. Add that to the fact that I like almost all of my professors, and all I wanted to do was find a way to crash the faculty Christmas party.
But whether I can find a way to get into the faculty Christmas party or not, I came away from the sabbatical presentations with a renewed appreciation for my C of I professors, not to mention a lot more knowledge about capital punishment in Roman society.
Megan is a junior Literature in English major from Boise, Idaho.