Constance "Connie" AndersonProfessor of Anthropology
What brought you to Hartwick?/Why Hartwick?
I wanted to teach at a college in the Northeast that would be small enough so I could know all the other faculty and most of my students, and so I could teach a broad range of courses instead of the same few specialized ones over and over.
Where are you from?/Where did you go to school?
I lived many places before graduating from college, in Ohio and Los Angeles for the longest times. I went to Ohio State University and the University of California, Riverside.
Why is the "Liberal Arts in Practice" method an effective way for your students to learn?
Most college graduates have major career changes three times in their lives, so my students need to be prepared for radical changes of course. The liberal arts provide them with background knowledge of many different fields, which helps them to decide what alternate careers they might prefer, and it provides them with methods of learning throughout their lives, so they can complete their preparation for a new career - and live full, meaningful lives.
What about your work energizes/excites you?
Students who are enthusiastic, and endlessly creative (whether for better or worse!); Hartwick's off-campus programs and faculty research grants so I can continue research in South Africa and share it with my students in the classroom and in the field.
Do you consider yourself a mentor to students? In what way?
I am very much a mentor. All four of my children went to Hartwick; I try to treat students as I wanted the other faculty members to treat my own children. I follow their progress and congratulate their successes, and also suggest ways in which they can overcome failings. I suggest off-campus programs, particularly field courses and Emerson/Duffy projects, to students according to their interests and abilities. I try to demonstrate both sympathy and empathy, despite the age gap, and my willingness to help them with any kind of problem, personal as well as academic. I encourage them to submit papers to be presented at conferences, and to co-author papers that I write; I help them publish their/our work.
What are your classes like?/What is your best place to teach?
My best place to teach is out on the ground in Africa! On-campus, I constantly try to present students with material that will engage both their minds and their hearts, since if only their minds are engaged they are less likely to take action. In Africa, I show them the facts they have learned about their surroundings, expose them to many new facts, and also try to show them ways of getting along with each other, sharing and cooperating, since those are extremely important lifelong skills. Africans have a unique joie de vivre that they can't help but be inspired by.
How do you describe our students to colleagues, friends and family?
Hmmm ... most of them are searching for meaning in life, as well as for friends, experiences, and knowledge.
What research are you doing, how do you engage your students in your work?
I have engaged students in the field in several different research projects over the years, especially in my sport and racism work. My current projects include an explanation of variation in rates of infanticide in different baboon populations, all the reasons why rates of AIDS infection are so high in southern Africa, and the radical difference in acts of violence towards homosexuals in South Africa compared to the US. Students collect data for me during their conversations with local people when they are there in January.
What are your most recent publications, scholarly works, exhibitions, performances?
I have articles coming out this year or early next year on the baboon infanticide work and on the AIDS determinants, as well as a chapter in a book about teaching first-year students.
What is your most valued Hartwick experience?
That one is really easy: winning the Bunn Award!
What do you consider your most important contribution to Hartwick?
Taking students to South Africa, specifically, as part of my general efforts to make them value and value the lives of all humans as they respect and value the lives of Americans.