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the unlikely professor

About Me

As a military brat, I moved a lot as a child, living for some period of time in Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Mississippi, Arizona, Italy, Germany, Belgium and finally Virginia. I grew up fascinated with military hardware - especially tanks and planes - and interested in history.

I moved to Virginia in 1984 and finished high school at Gar-Field Senior High in Dale City. I started taking classes at "NoVA" (NVCC - Northern Virginia Community College), mostly at Woodbridge but also a few at Annandale. I attended school part time, choosing to focus more on a budding career as a musician.

That attention to music led to a year as a classical guitar major at Shenandoah College & Conservatory (now Shenandoah University) in Winchester. It was there I discovered my love of teaching, upon which I returned to Dale City.

I completed my Associate's Degree in General Studies at NoVA in June 1992 and started at George Mason University (GMU) as a junior that fall. I finished my BA in History in December 1995, went straight into graduate school and completed my MA in History in May 1998.

I was set to start teaching at NoVA in the fall of 1999, but I was run over by a car while riding my motorcycle in May 1999, which derailed my teaching plans for well over a year. I taught my first class for NVCC Woodbridge in the Fall semester of 2001, teaching primarily US History, and extended my teaching to the Annandale campus in 2004, where I teach primarily Western Civilizations.

I began teaching at George Mason in the Fall of 2010, teaching Western Civilizations. It's important to me to teach at NoVA and GMU for many reasons; mostly I have the desire to teach at the schools where I was taught to give back a little of what I received in my years attending those institutions.

I have a firm belief that the community college system is integral to the future of education in this country, and just as firm a belief that local 4-year institutions are of paramount importance to the communities in which they exist. It is for these reasons I choose to teach at NVCC and GMU, as well as continue to take classes at each school.

As I am a part-time teacher at each school, I don't hold regular office hours, but I am always accessible via telephone and e-mail (check your syllabus for that info).

What I Expect of My Students

I have some simple expectations for each of you, as follows:
  • Show up for class on time; if you cannot be on time (or must leave early), create as little disruption as possible.
  • Show up for class prepared - read assignments before class, turn in papers on time, have necessary note- or test-taking materials.
  • Ask questions! Interrupt me if you have to. Your question might be very important to your classmates, too.
  • Analyze: don't just ask yourself who, what, when, where and how - ask WHY.
  • If you want to use a computer in class, that's fine, but I won't accept excuses about your lack of preparedness blamed on the computer. Also, your computer will be silent at all times.
  • No cell phone use or texting in class. If it's that important, leave the room.
  • Clean up your own trash, especially food or drink trash.
  • All work turned it should be typed and double-spaced unless otherwise instructed.
  • Did I already say ask questions?