August 24, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Back to school: "S-weet!"

Today I began teaching classes at Sweet Briar College, and it was nice to get back into the world of academia after an unexpectedly long diversion into local politics. Well, at least the practical experience will serve me well in my field. Sweet Briar is an elite school for women located about 15 miles north of Lynchburg, and one mile south of Amherst. The campus is literally in the middle of the country, and the surrounding landscape is so beautiful that it makes your jaw drop. As I was walking around today, I noticed several exotic spruce trees and other arboreal species I couldn't begin to identify. There are several nature preserves ideally suited for bird-watching, with miles of trails, lakes, and even horse stables -- a true paradise for the outdoors enthusiast!

Sweet Briar was founded just over one hundred years ago, and many of the older buildings are true architectural treasures that have been designated as historical landmarks. The buildings along the north side of the main Quad are connected by covered walkways with brick arch supports -- much like the University of Virginia. The pictures I took today were slightly marred by the hazy, humid conditions, so I may replace the photo below with a better one when the air is clearer.

This semester I will be teaching Comparative Politics, which I have taught before at Virginia Tech and Mary Baldwin College, as well as East Asian Politics for the first time. Of course, I will be making heavy use of my Web site design skills to enhance learning. Right off the bat, I was impressed by the background and interests of several of the students, and I'm looking forward to a very rewarding semester. The members of the faculty I've met are top-notch and very friendly and supportive, as well. The college staff people I've dealt with are likewise very helpful, cheerful, and efficient.

This new responsibility will no doubt curtail the time available for blogging (and explains the declining frequency of blog posts lately, as I was preparing to teach), but I do plan to continue posting on a more-or-less regular basis. For the time being, I do not intend to blog much about academic matters, or to create an academic blog category, but I may decide to do so eventually.

Gray Hall, where the Government and International Affairs offices are located.