Accompaniment in Academic Innovation

When students tell Ann Ciasullo, Ph.D., that they’ve heard professor Jeff Dodd’s classes are challenging and ask if they should take one, she doesn’t hesitate.

“I say ‘he is,’” she admits, “but then I say, ‘you will be making a huge mistake if you don’t take that class anyway.’” Ciasullo is chair of women’s and gender studies and an associate professor of English at Gonzaga. She is also an admirer of the innovation Jeff Dodd’s is doing as a teacher.

“I see the work he’s doing and I think there’s a whole world out there in terms of teaching that you need to go explore,” she said.

Exploration is key to Dodd’s work. He has accompanied students to Zambia and helped provide context to their own global engagement.

“I was a first-generation college student from a lower middle-class background and for me, college was an opportunity to fundamentally transform and change the world that I experienced,” said Dodd. “I am confident that the same is true for many of our students. If we are invested in really educating students for lives of leadership and service for the common good, then that education cannot take place within the bounds of this campus, because it’s not where students are going to live their lives.”

Both in the classroom and out in the world, Dodd is encouraging students to take a more active role in their own learning process. The difference in his methods has made him a favorite instructor among his students.

“One of my favorite things about him is that he really has an eye to see where students are and then engages them,” said Lindsey Hand (’17).


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