New professor Elizabeth Blair excited for new bonds
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pa., education and learning has always been a part of Visiting Professor of Education Elizabeth Blair’s upbringing. “When I was a kid I used to swim at the same pool that Mr. Rogers would swim laps at. So once I got to ride up in the elevator, this was when I was three or four I was taking swimming lessons, I got to ride in the elevator with Mr. Rogers, and I was totally starstruck. So that was very exciting and perhaps influential in my desire to work with children and be an educator.”
The inspirational figures didn’t stop there. As an undergraduate at Swarthmore College in Philadelphia, Blair found an amazing mentor in Lisa Smulyan, one of her undergraduate professors. “She’s still my mentor, so I kept in touch with her after graduating and she helped me think about going back to graduate school. She ended up being on my dissertation committee for my dissertation, she’s still a great mentor for me.”
The close student professor bond was, in fact, one thing that drew Blair to Beloit. “Something special about small liberal arts is because there’s not graduate students, you’re more likely to have that kind of relationship with a professor.” It was also a great way for Blair to “com[e] back to [her] intellectual home.” Of course nowadays Blair makes her home in Madison, with Beloit relating quite a bit to what Blair wanted as her ideal fit in a school.
She’s looking forward to “learning more about what the community’s like here, what it means to be a Beloiter.” As an education professor, she also has a vested interest in “thinking about what the relationship is between the college and the city of Beloit especially because my students are teaching or observing in local schools. So thinking about ways we can develop a partnership between the college and the city and the opportunities that the city provides and the community provides to teach all of us more about what we’re learning.”
Hopefully Blair will be able to experience the ways the students at Beloit College are able to connect with the community through the many events hosted each and every week, as well as the numerous other outlets available to members of this community. We know that we’ll learn from her as she teaches us to teach others. The real question is what she’ll learn from us.