New professors on campus, part II

Justin Berkowitz

This is a continuation of a recent article profiling newly hired tenure track professors at Lawrence University.Within the Lawrence faculty, there are some professors who are entering their final year as a professor here, set to retire after many years of teaching. Others are just beginning their Lawrence career.
One professor beginning his teaching career this term is Arnold Shober, Assistant Professor of Government. Shober received his bachelor’s degree from Bradley University and went on to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
It was in grad school that Shober realized that teaching was what he was interested in pursuing, and Lawrence appealed to him in a large part because of the Freshman Studies program.
“I was attracted to the Freshman Studies program because it would allow me to talk about things that I cannot teach,” said Shober.
One of Shober’s first impressions of Lawrence came about based on his interactions with various faculty members.
“I found the faculty I’ve met to be very warm, friendly, supportive and willing to help me with logistics both inside and out of the government department,” he said.
When he looks back on his own college experience, he vividly remembers loving his chemistry courses because they allowed him to look at the world in a different way, and his American Political Parties professor, who taught him to be critical of books.
While some professors come straight from school in Wisconsin, others come to Appleton by way of New York City, like Assistant Professor of Art and Art History Ben Rinehart.
Rinehart received his BFA from the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and went on to receive his master’s at Louisiana State University. For him, teaching has always been a priority.
“Since 19, I knew I had a passion for sharing information with other people. I have had times where I’ve questioned it, but within the past seven years, I knew it was what I wanted to do,” said Reinhart.
Rinehart comes to Appleton after several years of working as a professor at four different schools per semester in New York City. However, Rinehart wanted to find a full time teaching position and began applying.
One reason for Lawrence’s appeal to Rinehart was the talent he saw in the students.
“The students here were comparable to my best students at Pratt,” said Rinehart.
So far, Rinehart is enjoying his time at Lawrence, citing inconvenience as the most difficult aspect of the transition — coming to a small town and figuring out when different stores are open.
Another professor new to teaching in the Midwest is Martyn Smith, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. Originally from California, Smith went to Prairie College in Alberta followed by the Fuller Seminary and Emory University for his doctorate.
Following his schooling, Smith traveled throughout the Middle East to places like Cairo, Fez, Syria, Greece and Turkey, putting his studies of Islam to use.
So, why teach?
“I had been working at a bookstore, and part of my job was organizing reading groups. It ended up that I was being paid to lead groups. I love to read and then I found out I loved to talk about reading as well,” said Smith.
Smith chose Lawrence largely due to his lack of experience with the Midwest, but also because of Lawrence’s size.
“I’ve always imagined myself teaching at a small liberal arts school where I could really interact with my students,” said Smith.
Smith and his wife Emily, who teaches Freshman Studies, are excited to raise their family in the area.
They also are close enough to Madison to go see Bob Dylan — they dated in part due to their love of the singer.