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Calhoun's Morality Play
For Cheshire Calhoun, philosophy is the right call.
   
 

How We Teach
When Ira Sadoff (English) wants his students to continue their discussion he sends them to a web bulletin board.

   
 

Q and A
A Q&A with Andre Siamundele (French) ranges from snow, the Congo to King Leopold's Ghost.

   

Q and A
Andre Siamendele
André Siamundele

Assistant Professor of French André Siamundele came to Colby in 2000. He is a Goddard-Hodgkins faculty resident, teaches French, Francophone studies and African studies, and twice has led discussions as part of the residence hall reading program. He talked with Colby about life at Colby.

How do you feel about snow this early in November?
That's the first question? Ha. I love it, since we missed it last year. I remember I went to New Hampshire for New Year's Eve and my friend said, "That's incredible. We don't have snow."

Tell me about your academic background.
For my undergrad, I was a linguistics and literature major. Then I focused more on French literature for my master's back home in the Congo. . . . I got the master's degree in pedagogy, how to teach. . . . Because I went to high school in Canada I wanted to come back to North America. I remember my brothers and sister found that this was kind of crazy to go that far for a Ph.D. . . . I graduated [from Yale] in 1999 and I started looking for jobs. My first job was at Louisiana State University. It was a one-year position.

And how is Colby different?
It's like a small community; I've never been in a university like that. Also the type of interactions you have with students as a professor--I remember when I was at LSU I was on campus twice a week, and when I'm not on campus, you can't reach me. You can leave a message, you can call the secretary. But no one was calling my home and saying, "Can you come? Can you have dinner?"

Tell me more about your formal training in pedagogy.
When I was a graduate student at Yale we start teaching in our third year of grad school. Some of my classmates said, you know, "We're going to start teaching tomorrow? We don't even know how to teach!" They expect because you have a Ph.D. you can go in the classroom and teach, but it takes more than that. It takes preparation, it takes some of the things you do in class. How to react. The psychology of students . . . how to make students participate in a classroom when you can see they're tired.

Did you find a big difference between students at LSU and students at Colby?
Yeah. Yeah. The students at Colby are students. At LSU I had students who were working full time--coming to school and working full time, and that's very bad for learning a language. I'm very happy to be back to the north; they're more like the students I had at Yale. They take it seriously.

How has it been to be a faculty resident, living on campus?
I wanted to do that my first year because it was something new for me. I go and live on campus and I know my students. Living on campus you see students when you want to see them, you don't have to come back to campus. Also there's a lot of things going on in Waterville, but at the same time most of the stuff I do is happening here. I'll work till seven and then I'll go to something at 7:30. . . . Students can send me an e-mail and I can say "stop by and tell me about it."

You taught Heart of Darkness and King Leopold's Ghost in the residence hall reading program. Tell me about that.
I did it my first semester here when [Associate Dean of Students] Ron Hammond told me about the program. He said, "You can read a book you like, share it with students, meet six times to discuss the book." I said "Ha! That's wonderful!" So I picked Heart of Darkness. I'm always fascinated by the idea of traveling. When we travel, in our mind we try to bring something where we're going. But sometimes we forget that where we're going can change us, and maybe when we come back we're a very different person than when we went.


King Leopold's Ghost is history. How was teaching that different?
It's not like a normal historical book where you have to remember dates. The narrative is very good; it flows. So when I read it I said, this book can be like a novel, basically. But this is not a novel, it's a true story of my country. . . . I want people to remember those facts are real. My country went through all these atrocities. That was back in the colonial period, but we can say the same thing about after the independence, too. We [the reading group] just saw the film Lumumba. These things didn't change, they just changed hands.

 


FEATURES:
Dark Days
Students, alumni and healthcare providers talk depression and
the ways they address it at Colby.

Peace in Phnom Penh
Jim Cousins '75 has found refuge, rejuvination in the still-rebuilding Cambodian capital.

A Liberal Arts Resume
What did successful alumni in the business world study at Colby?

8 Mile High
With Eminem on his client list, entertainment lawyer Randall Cutler '91 is all about hip hop.

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