By Stephanie McMillen
Eric Wallman, professor of humanities and philosophy, was the first person in his family to obtain a college degree, and draws a great deal of satisfaction from being in a position to mentor students who are a reflection of his younger self.
“My family wanted me to get a college degree but had no idea of how it was accomplished,” Eric shared. Unsure of where to begin on such a journey, Eric came to Valencia and attributes his success to the many individuals here who helped direct his path.
His first inspiration came from George Brooks, professor of humanities. “Sitting in his class back in 1999, I listened to him explain Medieval interpretations of Christian scripture and how this influenced the subject matter of Medieval paintings,” Eric recalled. “I never knew that you could do such a thing for a career, and from that moment on I pretty much knew what I wanted to study and at what level of education I wanted to teach.”
From Valencia, Eric went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in humanities and a master’s degree in liberal studies from Rollins College.
“Valencia prepared me to succeed later on at Rollins College,” he said. “A number of faculty members gave me advice and insight as I worked toward my degrees and they were there to welcome me as I returned as their colleague.”
So set on a career at Valencia, Eric said he didn’t even apply for teaching positions at other colleges when he went on the job market. “I really felt that the best thing I could do, since I identified most with Valencia students, was teach and mentor Valencia students,” Eric said. “The majority of my students are in the same situation that I was; aiming for a brighter future, with potential, but also unsure of themselves, with scattered priorities, and naïve to many challenges awaiting them.”
Eric began his career at Valencia in 2005, and for three years he taught Prep II Composition courses to get his feet on the ground. Since 2008, he has taught humanities and philosophy on East Campus.
His proudest accomplishment to date has been leading, coordinating and planning the National Endowment for the Humanities Institute in Russia in 2012.
“Seven Valencia faculty members along with myself attended a series of seminars focused on Russian humanities, essentially, and then traveled to Russia,” Eric explained. “In some remarkable an unexpected ways, the experiences and insights found their way into our course curriculum, influencing our courses and assignments in ways we never expected, just exponential impact.”
Eric is currently getting involved with the Study Abroad and Global Experiences office and is editing a new course reader used in the 20th Century Humanities courses on East Campus.
Recently completing the pre-tenure process for the Teaching and Learning Academy, Eric was recognized with the Model Portfolio award. Read more about this accomplishment in Congratulations to the Tenure Class of 2013.
In his free time, Eric enjoys traveling, photography, writing and personal enrichment activities. While in college, Eric started a routine of traveling to Europe to see and experience what he was studying as a humanities major. Most recently, he has begun to study the Russian language and plans to use it in his explorations of the former Soviet Union in the coming years.
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