Every week, Hiram College News will profile one faculty member. Check back at the beginning of each week for the new profile.
This week, we feature Cara Constance, associate professor of biology.
What made you choose to teach at Hiram College?
I was a Hiram student, and I was a teacher at a school in Massachusetts. I bumped into Brad Goodner who is in the biology department here, and he let me know there were a couple positions open in biology. I jumped at the chance to come back to the school where I started out. That opened up a lot of doors for me and to try and do the same thing for students here.
What would you tell prospective students about Hiram College?
Hiram is a great place to treat everybody as individuals. At Hiram we help you find what you are most passionate about and help you reach your goal, whatever that may be. I feel having this personal touch is a big advantage to other schools where you might just be a face in the crowd.
How would you describe Hiram College?
Hiram is a very small community, very caring, and people are always looking out for each other. I find the students here have a great positive attitude, and I really enjoy interacting with them every day. Everyone is kind of eager to learn, eager to work hard and do what it takes to achieve their goals.
What do you do to motivate your students to study and get really involved in your course work?
The first thing I do is convey how interested I am in the subject, and I am always pretty enthusiastic in the classroom to let them know it is pretty cool stuff. The other major thing I do is make myself available all the time, if anyone wants to see me for any reason, whether it be stuff going on in their lives that is impeding their ability to study or stuff about the class. I make sure we can get together; I work with a lot on students on a weekly basis to make sure they can succeed in the class. I also try to make the stuff in the class relevant to what people see in their everyday lives, in the news. I teach a lot of classes that relate to medicine, so we talk a lot about disease. I try to make it real for everybody.
What do you think about having a 12 and 3 week instead of a one 15-week semester?
I really like the flexibility for the 3-week, having a really intense course with the students. A couple years ago I taught a course in Japan, and having those opportunities to study abroad are really important for people to see new things and new cultures. Aside from study abroad thought I like to have students in an intensive course on science where we can just think about science and do science every single day. I feel like students are more invested in the class and get a lot more out of it in that time frame when it is the only thing they are thinking about.
How would you describe your faculty colleagues?
It is a really good mix of experience and new ideas. Right now Hiram has about 55 percent new faculty on campus. We are a close-knit group. We like to share ideas a lot and try out new things, but at the same time we have the experience of really seasoned professors whose doors are always open for us to come and get some advice and learn from their experiences. I like the mix of having both new and long-term faculty, and again everybody is really kind, funny and willing to help you out.
What has kept you here at Hiram College?
When I first came to campus as a prospective student in 1988 and when I stepped on campus, it really felt like home. After I graduated from here and I lived out of state for 15 years. When I had the opportunity to come back, you know it did feel like coming back home to me. Every day I enjoy coming to work. The campus is just beautiful, but I think the biggest things that I love about Hiram are my students and my colleagues here because everyone makes it a pleasure to come to work every day. Very fulfilling, very energizing, I learn from my students as well as my colleagues daily, and I hope I will be here for a very long time.
What are some of the typical career paths for student’s interested in majoring in biology?
It’s a wide range. We have students go into law, medicine and other health professions, teaching, research, consulting. Our graduates can do any job that requires critical thinking, problem solving and data analysis.