Meet Our Faculty

Core Faculty Members Are Passionate

It's a given that all members of the Core faculty are passionate about teaching, but we thought it would be illuminating to see what else might be near and dear to their hearts. Here, some faculty members tell us a little bit about their own objects of affection.

Betsy Allen-PennebakerBetsy Allen-Pennebaker My impact driver is a butt-kicking power tool that helps me keep up with the guys when I renovate apartments for our property management business. It was a birthday present from my dad, a retired physicist who has taught me everything I know about construction. By example, he's imparted an even more important lesson: If you work a lot with your head, then you need to work with your hands, too. It keeps you humble and grounded. My impact driver reminds me of the patience and love with which my dad teaches me. I try to do the same for my students! It also reminds me that when you give someone the right tools, all sorts of possibilities open up.
Charles Bashaw Charles Bashaw The Coke can symbolizes the "Nature of Things"—unique and alone in its individuality, yet identical to all others of its kind and One with the Cosmos.
Cyndi Brandenburg Cyndi BrandenburgI love food—who doesn't? Cooking is one of my passions, and sharing food with the people I love is a big part of who I am. I think food is so central in my life because it represents a universally common experience, yet it connects me intimately with my family, my friends, my community, and my culture. Bon Appetit!
Alfonso CaponeAlfonso Capone Baseball is a lot like life. There is always something exciting to see, but you need to know where to look.

Patricia DeRocher Holding Her Yoga Mat.Patricia DeRocher As a student of yoga, I engage in the practice of detachment—of not allowing "things" to rule our lives.  But I am admittedly—ironically—very attached to my yoga mat!  It has traveled with me to the Govardhan EcoVillage, just north of Mumbai, India, where I completed my 200-hour Bhakti Yoga Teacher Training.  It has also accompanied me to a yoga class with musician and yogi Michael Franti.  Yoga has been a central part of my life since I was an undergraduate student, and I realized how it helped me to manage my stress during the semester.  Of course, the main idea of yoga is taking its lessons OFF of the mat!  

Erik Esckilsen Erik EsckilsenThe kid who bought this guitar, with money earned flipping burgers in town, wasn't sure he could or would go to college. Now this artifact from the distant past reminds me never to take for granted any opportunity to learn. That's why I teach.
Joanne Farrell Joanne Farrell My tattoo is, literally, a part of me. While the shamrock symbolizes my cultural heritage, each leaf represents one of the four interrelated domains that make up my life: family, friends, place, work.
Linda Goodrum Linda Goodrum (Operations Manager) My diamond engagement ring was passed down through generations in my husband's family, including his great aunt, Stella, and his mother, Gussie. No matter how many times I put this ring on, it reminds me of two wonderful women that I was so fortunate to know and love. I wear it with joy, great pride, and love in my heart.
Miriam Horne Miriam HorneWhether it's used for celebration or comfort, frustration or fun, like language, chocolate can be adapted for any situation. And just like the world can't function without language, I can't function without chocolate! With its power to celebrate and soothe, delight and fulfill, it is perfectly adaptable and represents the balance I strive for.
Mike Kelly Mike KellyThis coaxial cable represents the connectivity between people and ideas that makes teaching an ideal profession. In my classes, I try to bring the ideas and experiences students have had together with a wide range of outside voices that will inform and accentuate these experiences. The metaphor also works well to explain the ways of thinking that are valued in the Core Division—good thinking that is always deeply layered, much like the strands of copper and wire bound together to make the cable useful.
David KiteDavid Kite I grew up near the ocean in Gloucester, Massachusetts, but after college and grad school down South, I came back to New England. I have been teaching at Champlain College for about 10 years now. When I am not busy teaching Philosophy or Core courses, I like woodworking, gardening, and playing squash.
Mike LangeMike Lange You'll find me posing with an orange chair. It's a replica (not full size) of the distinctive chairs from the Union Terrace at the University of Wisconsin. I spent many a summer day with my teachers, my students, and my friends sitting on those chairs, eating bratwurst and watching sailboats glide across Lake Mendota. Good times, good times.
Jeanne Lieberman Jeanne LiebermanAn IHL book and my katana. The intellectual and the physical. The contemplative and the warrior. The dragon. Portals into infinite discrete and combined depths of power, wisdom, imagination, paths of creative spirit taken by the ancestors, still there for discovery. Fighting the good fight. Knowledge and compassion. And always on this journey: animal companions.
Bob MayerBob Mayer Melville's Moby Dick is not only a great interdisciplinary romp through 19th-century American minds, it's also, um, a whale of a tale. As a historian I appreciate the book's evocation of another time and place. As a teacher I love its breadth, its humanity, and its sense of wonder. Oh, and it has big fish.
David MillsDavid Mills, Interim Dean My grandfather was an amateur rockhound. His collection included the geode I'm holding here. I can remember being amazed, as a kid, that the boring-looking rocks and minerals lying on the bench in his workshop could be transformed into the colorful and interesting specimens displayed on the shelves. That possibility for transformation is why I find this geode an apt image for my passions, some of which I no doubt inherited from my grandfather. His curiosity, patience, attention, and effort revealed a fascinating beauty hidden within apparently dull and ordinary-looking rocks. I love moments of revelatory transformation, whether in the classroom, in my creation and enjoyment of art, or in my volunteer work as a community organizer in impoverished neighborhoods. In these pursuits, a rockhound's curiosity, attentiveness, patience, and effort yield rewards that outshine the crystals of this geode.
Rowshan NemazeeRowshan Nemazee There is something about myths and stories of the past that I find thoroughly intriguing. As Persian legend has it, tear catchers were used by women—abandoned damsels, widows, and concubines—to capture the evidence of their grief. My mother left Iran during the revolution with this one carefully tucked away in her luggage. Silence and stillness may permeate its graceful shape and blueness, yet it offers up so many layers of meaning, including the multitude of emotions that define our humanity. After all, tears are not simply spilled during moments of sadness, but in times of joy, tenderness, awe, and compassion.
Kerry NoonanKerry Noonan My friend, Therese, in Los Angeles made this gourd rattle for me several years ago. She never used to think she was an artist, much to my surprise. When I look at it, I see not only its beauty—it also reminds me of the importance of good friends in my life and the amazing creativity of ordinary people.

Portrait of Kristin NovotnyKristin Novotny The mediator Kenneth Cloke writes that "Transformation and learning require awareness and listening." This picture, which hangs on my office wall, reminds me that listening is the bedrock of everything I do as a mother, daughter, friend, teacher, and citizen.

Craig PepinCraig Pepin After a decade away from snow while in graduate school, returning to my native New England allowed me to reconnect with one of my abiding passions. Whether testing my limits in races, exploring deep back country woods, or kicking around meadows with my wife and sons, cross-country skiing connects me to my Norwegian heritage, the natural world around us all, and my friends and family.
Gary Scudder Gary ScudderEight centuries ago, the Chinese philosopher Zhu Xi proposed that "if one makes no progress in his study, it is simply because he lacks courage." I would argue that his words are just as valid today. Further, I believe that one of the most important goals of any professor should be to inspire that courage in our students, and to do that we need to model that courage ourselves. We have to leave our comfortable world behind (whether it is physical or intellectual), and explore a much larger, complicated, and sometimes scary one. So what better meaningful object could I pick than my one possession that I would enter a burning building to rescue: the walking stick that my grandfather made me. It reminds me of home and family, certainly, but it also represents the desire to travel further afield. He made it for me so that I could hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail with my father, and it was one of my earliest challenges. Whether I am tramping around San'a or Zanzibar or Kasgar — or tackling the intricacies of psychology or neuroscience or Persian poetry—I've always welcomed the challenge and happily shared the journey with my students.
Erik ShonstromErik Shonstrom This backpack— which my wife has affectionately dubbed "the biohazard"—has been through a lot. An echo of my roots as an Outward Bound instructor; it bears the scars of time spent in the mountains, deserts and wild places of this country. It also symbolizes what is most important to me: time spent with my family, exploring Vermont and world. It's carried headlamps and maps for adventures in the Greens and 'Dacks, as well as smooshed PBJs and Marvel comics during trips back and forth to the library. Right now it contains a water-stained copy of Middlemarch, a reminder of my other abiding love; teaching students about reading and writing. This old pack reminds me —in the words of Huck Finn — that if things get too "sivilised," I can just toss in a few apples and something warm and "light out for the Territory" to be free. 
Kelly Thomas Kelly Thomas I begin class by ringing the singing bowl. It calls us to be mindful and offers a respite in our often overwhelming schedules, a moment to listen, to breathe. Then we begin, ready to wonder together.
Steve Wehmeyer Steve Wehmeyer"In the beginning was Noise. And Noise begat Rhythm. And Rhythm begat everything else."—Mickey Hart, percussionist for the Grateful Dead. The bodhrán, this bizarre little goatskin drum, has been my passport to some of the most eye-opening, world-shaking experiences I've had. It reminds me never to take any object for granted, no matter how humble, odd, or out of place. For me, teaching and learning are a great deal like drumming. You learn to pick a pattern out of the chaos, a rhythm out of the "noise." Then grab that thread of meaning—that idea, that groove—hold onto it for dear life and follow wherever it goes!
Rob Williams Rob Williams I love teaching, travel, history, writing, and music. Performing "folkgospel grassicana" music as part of a Vermont-based musical trio called the Phineas Gage Project allows me to satisfy all of these passions. Who was Phineas Gage, you ask? He was that 19th-century Vermont railroad engineer who accidentally dynamited a tamping iron through his skull and lived to tell the tale. We play "music for happy brains" to creatively honor his legacy and to have phun.
Kristin Wolf Kristin Wolf As this tattered atlas will attest, I love road trips. This map has taken me places that could make a monotonic GPS device sing—as an active participant in the journey rather than a blind follower to the destination. It's funny how you can hit the road and get lost in some tucked away place and somehow find yourself.
Katheryn Wright Katherine Wright I have a complicated relationship with my iPhone. It makes me feel safe when I'm in a strange place, but distances me from my surroundings. My iPhone helps me find restaurants, organize to-do lists, and make movies. I constantly worry about where it is and if the ringer is turned off. It records my life, but keeps a record of my life. For better or worse, my iPhone changes the way I encounter the world.
Sandy Zale Sandy Zale Animals have emotions, argued David Hume, and Hume, in this as in most things, was correct. This cat is named Bacon. This cat is affectionate; this cat is prudent; this cat is wise; this is an excellent cat. My cat is always happy to see me, and I am always happy to see my cat.