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 Jody Modarelli, assistant professor of chemistry.
What made you choose to teach at Hiram College?
I chose to teach at a small liberal arts college instead of a state institution for several reasons. For one, I feel I’m able to be more creative in Hiram’s smaller, more intimate classrooms. I get to know my students well, and I can do a variety of things that I would not be able to do at a state school. For instance, I integrate into my courses case studies, small group interactions and YouTube presentations. I feel when I lecture I am actually intermingling with my students. That is what I love about a liberal arts college.
What would you tell prospective students about Hiram College?
At a small college, you definitely get more bang for your buck because of the smaller classrooms and the intimate environment. We truly are a community at Hiram. Everybody here is on a first-name basis, which contributes to the intimacy. … What I can say to students about Hiram College is, at the end of the four years, you’ll be able to say, “This college has changed my life.”
What is the quality of student and faculty relationships?
I think faculty at Hiram are far more available than at larger institutions. I have an open door policy, so I don’t have office hours. If I’m not busy with another student, they are welcome to come in at any time. I make myself available outside the classroom. I’ve had students Skype me with questions during a group study session on a Friday night. Some students will text message me if they’re working on a project in the lab and have questions. I had one of my research students who recently graduated tell me that I was her second mom. I think there is a connection between Hiram students and faculty that you aren’t going to get anywhere else.
How would you describe Hiram College students?
If I compare Hiram College students to students that I taught when I was a graduate student as a teaching assistant, I would have to say that students at a liberal arts institution tend to be more goal-oriented and motivated to succeed. They seem to enjoy the one-on-one relationships they have with their professors. They thrive on knowledge, which I really love to see in a student.
How would you describe your faculty colleagues?
I so enjoy my other colleagues at Hiram. We get together more than faculty do at a state school. My husband teaches at a state school and rarely does he get together or have lunch with his colleagues or see faculty outside of the office. Here at Hiram, I have developed a wonderful group of friends, colleagues and mentors
What has kept you here at Hiram College?
Every graduation, I see a group of students – this year it was eight biochemistry students – who walk across the stage, and I feel sad they’ve left. But I’m happy for them that they have futures and are going to go on and do something great. If you look at my office door, you will notice I have quotes posted on it, which students always seem to remember. One saying by Gandhi states, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Another is, “Go forth and set the world on fire.” I just put those out there, never thinking anybody would actually read them, but I have had comments from students about how the quotes have inspired them.