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 Sandy Madar, professor of biology and Director of Strategic Academic Initiatives.
What made you choose to teach at Hiram College?
When I was a graduate student, I basically spent five years teaching human gross anatomy and very much wanted to broaden my portfolio of opportunity and teach more than that, specifically biology because that was what I was interested in. I sent my resume to Hiram College. They offered me a job to teach zoology and animal physiology because there was a professor on sabbatical. Once I got here I recognized how remarkably different teaching at a small residential campus was from my own experiences as an undergrad at a large public institution. … No matter where a student is in their interest and ambition and ability, we can pick up everyone and move him or her forward.
What would you tell prospective students about Hiram College?
What I tell prospective students about Hiram College, is they should find the smallest school that they feel comfortable in as an environment, because of the access that they have to people that are truly committed to serving their needs as a students. We do not have graduate students competing for our time. We do not have the competition of having to be in our research lab 24 hours a day, and we really have the luxury of engaging students in ways I think are not present in many other institution that are larger than us.
That’s not just true for faculty. That’s true for staff. That’s true for coaches. That’s true for people you work for in a campus job, that ability for someone to sit down and take the time to invest in you and what you are interested in is something you just can’t find everywhere.
How would you describe Hiram College students?
After having been here for 18 years, one of the things I think that continues to excite me is the fact that even though 75 or 80 percent of our students are from Ohio, the amount of diversity we have here is really exceptional. … We really have students from everywhere. When you are teaching a class, the differences in terms of the perspectives that you get make those small classes where you are having a discussion, really rich. … Student life histories are so radically different across the board, and I think that intensifies the kind of learning that could go on in a classroom and a small discussion based setting, which is again, is a foundation of everything that we do.
What has kept you here at Hiram College?
The ability to see and immediately act upon things we do that we think will improve the climate for students. The ability to constantly say, ‘We ought to do that,’ and then as long as you can figure out how to make ‘that’ happen in your day or convince a couple others to be equally passionate with you about ‘that,’ then you can really make things happen here.
… We need to maintain campus environments like (Hiram) that will be accessible, so lots of students have this kind of education. I think it is so much more valuable than what students get at places like community colleges or even at really good public institutions, but ones they commute back and forth to. I think there is a lot to be said for that residential experience and how important that is to development as a student. My commitment to that kind of experience has kept me here.