SBCC FACULTY AWARD OF THE MONTH

APRIL 2005

photograph of Lynne StarkeLynne Elisabeth Stark, Ph.D.

Adjunct Instructor in Physics Dept.

15 years at SBCC (preceded by 3 years at UCSB)

Education:   B.S. Georgetown University, M.A. New York University, Ph.D. UCSB.

Lynne’s comments: My education reflects my eclectic interests. My early degrees were in the humanities, in literature and history. As an older student, I was drawn to the sciences, particularly physics and astronomy. I successfully combined my interests by getting my doctorate in the history of science.

Quotations from nomination(s): “Lynne is an excellent asset to the (Physics) department. She gives 110%… The special thing about Lynne is that she knows where her students are coming from, she knows how to reach them and how to get them involved in the educational process. She has great rapport with her students… Not only does Lynne serve our students in an extraordinary way, but she also serves the college community in a broader way by having served as the adjunct faculty on the Instructor’s Association for the last ten years.”

Interview with Lynne:

Teaching Tip: Have fun in your classes. If you are enjoying yourself, the atmosphere in the classroom will be relaxed and students will be more attentive.

Words of Wisdom for Adjunct Faculty: Do not dwell on the inequities in our current system. Work toward constructive change but view yourself as an integral part of the campus community. Attend meetings, participate. If we behave as though we are fulltime members of the faculty, we will begin to breakdown the adjunct apartheid that separates the two teaching communities on our campus.

Jobs before and while teaching at SBCC: I managed a small, letterpress printshop. We printed books for Black Sparrow Press, possibly the most successful small publisher in America. We printed small editions of poetry and literary criticism.

Most Influential teacher: When I was in college, I was tremendously influenced by Dorothy Brown, professor of American Diplomatic History at Georgetown University. She was the first of my teachers who really taught me how to synthesize information, to organize a chaos of facts and find the patterns that connected them. Much later in my career I met Carl Sundbeck here at SBCC. Carl's influence helped to make me an enthusiastic and entertaining teacher. ("Lynne, if you can't keep their attention, they won't learn anything.")

Favorite student excuse: I missed the exam because my roommate blocked my car in the driveway.

Interests/Hobbies: I am a good dancer, and a bad golfer. Dancing is a great escape from too much thinking. I have been dancing for 25 years. Although I still love rock and roll, I especially love to dance with a partner: swing, lindy hop, country and western, even some traditional ballroom. I love the outdoors so naturally I hike, camp and occasionally backpack. I have continued to play and study the piano, a passion I developed as a child.

Reading: "Unfinished Tales of Middle-Earth" by JRR Tolkien and "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson.

Love about my job: My students. Teaching is an interaction - every semester I meet fifty new students and I completely enjoy getting to know them. I do not have children of my own and so these students keep me connected to the future. I don't require that they love science. Many of my favorite students are not "A" students but they are lively, curious, sassy, humorous. I find their energy infectious.

Greatest challenge: My best friend throughout much of my life has been my mother. She is an extraordinary woman. She earned a Ph.D when most women were still in the home. Now my mother has Alzheimer’s Disease. She cannot remember her work. She does not realize I am her daughter. Accepting that my wise mother has now become my confused child has undoubtedly been my greatest challenge.

Don’t know about me: I know astrology. I became fascinated with this ancient symbol system when I was studying the origins of astronomy. It is holistic rather than deterministic. It is a beautiful language, much maligned and misunderstood in modern times.

My idea of perfect happiness: The chance to completely use one's gifts.

Motto: When you come to a fork in the road, take it. - Don Ion (courtesy of Yogi Berra)