The Other Side of Faculty
When you first walk onto the beautiful Westminster campus, you get the feeling that you should have your clothes clean, your shirt tucked in, and your shoes tied. That is, until you see some of our professors, who could fit right into a game of “Where’s Waldo?” They are occasionally difficult to distinguish from the graduate students. Professors here (although nearly all have PhDs) are not called doctors, but by their first names…which gives you the comfort of having your shirt untucked. Once you see the professor who teaches you how to manage a classroom managing a football field as a referee, you feel as though you could just roll out of bed and come to class. Our professors have amazingly unique hobbies —ones that you would never imagine, such as scuba diving in Utah, home brewing, solar panel construction, and creation of photographic documentaries.
During the week, Tim Carr works in the School of Education teaching students how to nourish and use creativity to stimulate their students, as well as how to manage a classroom. Not only can Carr manage a classroom, but he can manage high school football players who are certainly bigger, stronger, and faster than he is. It’s the excitement of the game that keeps him going. “There are people blocking each other; some are trying to go left, and others are trying to go right I’ve got to watch to make sure that no one is holding, hitting in the wrong spot, or illegally blocking below the waist. Just as I get intent on watching all the linemen in front of me, I need to figure out where the ball is so that I don’t get creamed.” For most people, running from football players while staying close to the action would not be the ideal Saturday; for Carr, it is.
Another faculty member who likes to get her heart racing is Associate Professor of Chemistry Robyn Hyde, who scuba dives in Utah!? Yes, Utah has scuba-diving locations among its many other natural wonders. “When you are underwater, it is such a different environment that your tendency is to touch everything. I have observed many divers tire themselves out trying to touch a fish.” During the “Science of the Sea of Cortez” May Term trip, Hyde saved a curious student from a poisonous fish. The student spotted a beautiful scorpion fish and began to reach toward it. “I frantically started yelling at her, which isn’t very effective underwater. So I grabbed her hands to stop her from touching it. Most likely, the fish would have moved before the student could have touched it, but I wasn't willing to take any chances.”
Mike Markowski, professor of history, experiments with the sun. Through research and experimentation, he has built and fully installed his own solar panels for his home. “Not wanting to use the earth up more than necessary, with all used electronic parts scavenged from here and there, I cobbled together a very small solar setup—charging double A batteries for my Walkman— that WAS a while ago!” Over time, Markowski has collected more and more used batteries to put together a larger system. “I use it to power some small lights in the basement, fans to keep my indoor gourmet lettuce happy, and bedside reading lights, and to recharge larger or smaller batteries.” Even though it doesn’t save a lot of energy, it does help Markowski conserve rather than consume.
Another creative professor is Christopher LeCluyse. His creation has to do with most college students’ favorite beverage: beer. Home brewing gave him the last credit he needed to graduate from Oberlin College. “I was attracted to the hobby because I enjoy cooking as well as a good beer now and then. Plus, creating beer from its constituent parts (barley, water, yeast, and hops) is about as close as a man can come to giving birth,” said LeCluyse. And with brewing, one must be prepared for many trials and errors. LeCluyse recalled his first attempt: he and his brewing partner used bleach to sanitize their equipment and did not fully rinse out the bleach. While they were brewing, the chlorine bonded with the alcohol and created a key ingredient in pesticides. Cheers! Full of surprises, not only can this English professor and director of the Writing Center brew a good beer, he could also be a great contestant on American Idol, thanks to his professional singing career.
Peter Ingle has a hobby not many would want to emulate. He is a luge enthusiast, who finds his biggest thrill on the ice. This interest developed from visiting the Utah Olympic Park and running into his neighbor, a luge coach. Luging typically involves a team of one or two persons who ride feet first on a sled with no shield. If that doesn’t get your heart pumping, how about trying to stay on the shield-less sled at 35–45 miles per hour? That was how fast Ingle’s first run was, which, according to him, “was really slow.” A memory Ingle has from visiting Lake Placid is one that would have scared most people right out of the sport. Peter, with three other lugers from the Wasatch Luge Club, was competing in the Masters National Championship. “When I arrived at the track, it was 35 degrees below zero,” said Ingle, “and we were warned about a previous luger who had broken two vertebrae in his neck the day before on the track.” (While Peter and the team didn’t win in Lake Placid that year, they did win this year on their home track.) This adrenaline-seeking teacher has invited many students to try luging. “It’s the best way to spend 45 seconds,” he said. No students have taken him up on this offer yet, but Ingle remains hopeful that one day he’ll see a student on the track.
While it may be hard to convince students to get onto a luge track, it isn’t hard to get them into the theater to enjoy a film. Provost Cid Seidelman, whom many have come to know for his accurate memory of movie quotes, is an extreme movie buff. Seidelman said, “I have seen a lot of movies—it’s hard to say an exact number—it’s just like asking someone how many miles they have on the cars they drive, impossible to answer.” Seidelman discovered his passion for movies during his twenties, and he has come to see movies as a context for life. Quotes can be adapted and used for many different moments in life.
It is the classic movies, as well as the movies with a good love story, that capture Seidelman. “I don’t like all the new movies where it is just about some teen trying to get some action.” It’s not the critic’s opinion that he’s concerned about either, because he can see a B movie and if it has a captivating love story, that makes it an A in his book. Seidelman’s office has a “Top Twenty Movie List” just in case his modesty kicks in or he forgets his favorites. Some of the movies listed are American Beauty, Fargo, Thin Man, The Graduate, and the all-time classic Casablanca. When asked for a final closing line to complete this story, Seidleman turned in his chair and said “Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!”