In an effort to further unite faculty and students at Marist, Professor Sara Dwyer-McNulty, head of the History Department, decided to establish a new program this fall after attending a conference at Amherst College.
Take Your Professor Out (TYPO) is inspired by the Amherst program of the same name, although Marist’s does not yet have the same strict guidelines.
The procedure is straightforward. Any student enrolled in a history course who wants to get insight from their professors, or simply share a meal with them, must first contact Dwyer-McNulty to request a time, date and location – currently you can choose from either the main cafeteria or Healthy Tuesday’s at The Cabaret. Then, you are free to take your professor out on the history department’s budget.
Marist students feel that TYPO is both convenient and beneficial; it has already attracted interest from several students.
As of now, Dwyer-McNulty estimates that six students have taken part in the program and she hopes that “word gets out and that more students take advantage.”
Senior Mary C. Kaltreider, a TYPO enthusiast, has gladly and openly taken advantage of this brand new program, taking out history professor, Dr. Robyn Rosen, three times.
When asked why she repeatedly participates in these professor and student lunch dates, Kaltreider answered eagerly, “’cause I love them so much! Of course, I want to go to dinner with [my professors].”
Her friends jokingly tease her about spending so much time with her professors; Kaltreider just laughs it off.
“This just gives me an excuse to be able to do that and not be totally weird and not have to make it a big thing,” Kaltreider said.
Pamela Chomba, also a senior and history major, was informed about the program by Dwyer-McNulty at a history department event. Like Kaltreider, Chomba was intrigued by the idea because it allowed her to spend even more time with her professors and get a meal out of it.
“I talk to my professors a lot; sometimes I’m in Fontaine all day just because I have a lot of work to do there…TYPO was just an opportunity to go out to eat for free. Because I talk to them already so it’s just ‘ok, we can go out and have food too.'”
Chomba said that during the TYPO conversations, different topics are discussed. “Some of those [discussions] are personal, like, what’s going to happen after Marist, you know. The kind of field work I am gonna go into, grad school.”
TYPO is not just for students who want to talk about a history course they are taking with their professor; it’s a chance to break the ice and see their professors in a different light.
It can also be done in groups. Chomba and Kaltreider take an independent study course with Professor Kristin Bayer, and “TYPO her” together frequently.
“I feel like Mary and I are the only ones doing it now,” said Chomba, after revealing that she had done TYPO about five times this semester alone. “I joke around that it was made for me.”
“We talk about our reading for class and we talk about history and feminism because she is my advisor, and she is a women’s studies professor, and that’s my minor,”said Chomba.
Aside from having a good amount of time to talk with professors about schoolwork, career goals, and internships, Kaltreider said, “you do get to know them in a different way and you do feel more connected to them…they are not some distant figure that [you] have to stay away from.”
To many, the thought of breaking bread with your professor might seem intimidating or awkward, but Kaltreider advises students to “just do it because getting to know your professors is a really good idea and a lot of people don’t really know their professors well enough.”
She continued, “I mean, it’s not that if you know professors they give you a better grade, but they get to know you and your work ethic, and then if you have a problem it’s just so much easier for you.”
Remember that professors want you to seek them out because they want a chance to connect with students, and make a direct impact with their knowledge and life experiences. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t mind the free food either!
— Stephanie Gomez
This article was written for Marist College’s on campus newspaper, The Circle.