John Roth Communication And Focus Are Key

Award-winning Professor John Roth of Claremont McKenna College is keenly aware of the competing faces of summer sessions: an informality mixed in with the intensity of short six- and eight-week sessions.

Dr. Roth—named the 1988-89 Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education—has impressive credentials to back up his advice to Summer Session-bound students.

As a teacher of philosophy at Claremont since 1966, Dr, Roth was picked from more than 450 nominees from U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities for the Professor of the Year honor. The selection was based on a review of materials, including written testimonials from students. (One 1972 graduate offered .his letter of support after retrieving some long-forgotten class papers and re-reading Dr. Roth’s handwritten responses and insights.)

Dr. Roth currently teaches classes on the Holocaust and on American culture. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College and his doctorate from Yale University.

Dr. Roth offers the following to summer students:

1. Use snatches of time that often go to waste. Twenty to thirty minutes is enough time to read a few pages of a text, jot down some notes or just think about assignments.

2. Don’t fall behind, particularly in the summer session, which is so compacted.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, “I’m amazed that sometimes you can look into a student’s face and see that something’s not clicking,” Roth said. “But, for some reason, they’re afraid to ask questions.”

4. Get to know your professors. Take advantage of office hours, and if you are enrolled at a large university, be especially aggressive about getting your professor’s attention.

5. When composing papers, write, rewrite and proofread carefully.

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.