This edition of the Exchange features Nivedita Bagchi, assistant professor of government and political affairs.
Q: How long have you been employed at Millersville?
A: Since fall 2008.
Q: Why did you choose to teach here?
A: I liked the fact that Millersville cares about and emphasizes teaching. I want to get to know my students instead of having more than 100 anonymous faces in class. I also liked Lancaster County – the quaintness of it, its curious blend of the old and new and its proximity to, and yet distance from, larger cities were definite attractions.
Q: Do you have any favorite classes you like teaching?
A: I like teaching all my classes but the best classes depend on the students in that class. If they are interested in the subject and responsive to debate and thought, then teaching any class is a joy.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The people – students, other faculty. I love human interaction.
Q: What object is essential for you to make it through the day?
A: My Blackberry.
Q: How do you keep up with all the politics and government issues?
A: I never actually read a newspaper. I get all my news online and some on TV.
Q: Do you use present issues to teach in the classroom, or past events from textbooks?
A: The present depends on the past and the two are inextricably intertwined. So, I use both the present and the past.
Q: What would you tell someone who is trying to get involved in political affairs? How do you choose sides?
A: I do not choose sides and try to be as neutral in the classroom as possible. In my opinion, that is the best way to let students develop their own views. I only ask that as citizens of a democratic republic, people should get involved in whatever educated way they can – whether it is as simple as voting or more time-consuming such as volunteering.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m originally from Calcutta, India. Then I spent two years in South Carolina and seven years in Virginia before coming to Millersville University.
Q: What college/university did you attend?
A: I attended a small women’s college called Converse College and majored in government. Then I went to the University of Virginia for my master’s and Ph.D.
Q: If you could right now choose any other profession, what would it be and why?
A: It would have something to do with animals. I love animals and have been around them my whole life.
Q: What is your favorite job that you ever had? Why?
A: I loved being a student worker in the library. I got to see what students are reading and why, and I got to read when there was nothing else to do.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
A: Cooking and reading.
Q: Do you have a life philosophy?
A: I have no real life philosophy but I do think it is important to live life so that people miss you after death. Morbid, but it works for me.