I came to college expecting to see a lot more old men with elbow patches and bow ties. In my mind, that’s what professors looked like. As the representatives of academia, I figured professors must feature a full head of wispy grey hair, become know for their strictness, and present lectures to the class every day. In fact, if the film Flubber taught me anything (and it taught me a lot), it was that I could expect to learn from brilliant, absent-minded professionals in the world of higher education. And honestly, I was prepared to encounter some figures a lot less fun than Robin Williams.
Turns out, at Drake at least, there’s rarely a bow tie in sight (unless as a trendy fashion statement). Despite my expectations, many of my professors are (gasp!) female and many (double gasp!) aren’t very old at all. Some of the Drake professors I’ve encountered might be categorized as the brilliant, absent-minded intellectual type, but for the most part, the people teaching in the university are professionals themselves. Because they’ve worked in the field they’re teaching, they give us practical knowledge, not just esoteric musings.
As for the strictness, not so much at Drake. My professors expect a lot out of their students and push them to succeed, but they’re also pretty relatable, understanding humans. And in my three years at Drake, I’ve had a grand total of two lecture-based classes. The rest are collaborative learning processes built on discussion.
But I’m also not saying that I’ve loved every single professor I’ve ever had at Drake. And honestly, it reflects well on the university that I haven’t. There’s a lot of different types of educators here teaching in a lot of different types of ways. Drake recognizes that I learn from certain methods and personalities really well whereas other students may not. With this philosophy, the university serves as a microcosm of the changing face of academia. It’s no longer just old white men, lecturing, but a lot of really interesting, varied people using diverse methods to help students learn. Because of this, I’m getting so many different types of learning experiences, many of which far exceed the confines of a lecture hall or textbook.
So, yes, what I’m telling you is that Drake University is not very much like Flubber. But who knows? Maybe there is some frizzy haired, bow tie wearing, absent-minded professor experimenting with green goop in the depths of Harvey Ingham Hall. Honestly, with the huge variety of educators here, it wouldn’t surprise me.