Reflections From Retirees

Few people are as influential as a good teacher. At the close of the past academic year, Lewis & Clark bid farewell to five longtime faculty who have touched generations of students.

Janet Davidson

Associate Professor of Psychology/ Director of Academic Advising
Years Served: 27

Path to Lewis & Clark: As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, I discovered a passion for conducting experiments on human cognition and how it develops. This passion resulted in graduate school at Yale University and then a position as an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University. I’m grateful I got to experience life on the East Coast, but I missed the Pacific Northwest and my family. When a tenure-track position became available in the psychology department at Lewis & Clark, I immediately applied.

Favorite course to teach: If I had children, I hope I wouldn’t have a favorite one. By exten- sion, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching all of my courses and the students in them. Perhaps the most difficult course for me was Introduction to Psychology because it covered so many different areas of the field. Sometimes it felt like leading a bus trip through Europe, where every week or two we headed to a new country.

What you enjoyed most: Interactions with students were unquestionably the best part of my time on campus. Our students are intrinsically motivated to learn, and their deep-seated intellectual curiosity is contagious.

What people might not know about you: For some mysterious reason, I often put myself out of my own comfort zone. For example, I did skydiving and springboard diving when I was in college and performed stand-up comedy as a middle-aged adult.

Favorite place on campus: The College Advising Center. It is a vibrant place with great colleagues and faculty partners, a drawer full of fun food, and many students coming by each day to ask questions, plan their courses for each semester, or talk about whatever is on their minds.

What you’re most proud of: I am in awe of all that our students accomplish before and after they graduate, but I can’t take credit for their hard work and creativity. I did receive three awards during my time at L&C that mean a great deal to me: one was Teacher of the Year; another was the David Savage Award for service to the college; and the third was the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Faculty Impact Award.

What’s next: Once the pandemic ends, I hope to volunteer at a play-based preschool that includes young children who are in the Head Start program. I also hope to travel with my husband and friends to a wide range of places throughout the world and learn how to garden in my backyard.

John Krussel John Krussel

John Krussel

Professor of Mathematics/Associate Dean of Student Academic Affairs
Years Served: 33

Path to Lewis & Clark: As I was finishing my PhD at Colorado State in 1987, I knew that I wanted to be at a liberal arts college where the emphasis was on quality teaching and working closely with students. Lewis & Clark was my last interview. I got to visit the coast and Mount Hood while I was here, and I certainly enjoyed the people I met on campus. But the final item that convinced me was on the flight back to Denver—seeing the green of Portland below me on departure and then the brown expanse in Colorado as the plane landed. Green is good.

Favorite course to teach: Discrete math. I designed this 200-level course many years ago and wrote the textbook that the students use. But that’s not why I enjoyed teaching it so much. The heart of mathematics—the beauty, the creativity, and the fun—is in doing proofs. In this course, students get their chance to learn and begin to practice what mathematicians actually do.

What you enjoyed most: Definitely working with students, especially individually or in small groups. I also loved going to sports, concerts, and plays to see and support my students doing something that they loved to do besides math.

What’s changed, and what’s remained the same: The physical plant is the biggest change. We no longer have World War II surplus “temporary” buildings on campus to house faculty and administrative offices. The type of student who comes to Lewis & Clark hasn’t really changed … students still come here with a passion for learning, a strong international view, and more interest in changing the world for the better than in using their degree for personal financial gain.

What people might not know about you: I grew up in a semi-rural area just beyond the suburbs of St. Louis on nine acres of land where we grew a lot of our food. We raised goats and chickens for meat, milk, and eggs, and I spent a lot of time tending the vegetables.

What’s next: More travel once it feels safe to do so. I enjoy traveling to Europe, which I describe as extensions of my college art history class. Lots more time for reading and hobbies. And, I’m sure, plenty I haven’t thought of yet.

Cyrus Partovi BA '67 Cyrus Partovi BA ’67
Credit: Steve Hambuchen

Cyrus Partovi BA ’67

Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences
Years Served: 28

Path to Lewis & Clark: I am an alumnus, class of 1967. After the Iranian Revolution, I settled down in Oregon and was hired in 1992 by the late Joe Ha, who at the time was the international affairs department chair.

Favorite courses to teach: United States Foreign Policy and Middle East Politics.

What you enjoyed most: When I was able to excite an entering student about the reality of the United States’ vital role in world affairs.

What’s changed, and what’s remained the same: The biggest change was the ever-rising academic excellence of each first-year class. What stayed the same? The dedication of my colleagues to teaching.

What people might not know about you: My amazing, persuasive, politically savvy students convinced me that I should switch from being a Reagan Democrat to an Obama Democrat!

Favorite place on campus: On a clear day, looking at Mount Hood from my office!

What you’re most proud of: When I lifted a student who needed my care and attention.

What’s next: Argentine tango!

Kim Stafford (1986) Kim Stafford (1986)

Kim Stafford

Associate Professor/Founding Director of the Northwest Writing Institute
Years Served: 40

Path to Lewis & Clark: In the summer of 1979, I was hired to teach the photography portion of a two-week class called the Foxfire Workshop. Then for seven years, I taught a variety of courses as an adjunct, before becoming the part-time codirector of the Oregon Writing Project in 1984, and the full-time director of the Northwest Writing Institute in 1986.

Favorite course to teach: A course we launched in the early 1990s that still continues today: Writing and the Writing Process. It’s for students becoming secondary teachers in the graduate school’s MAT program. The students are at the peak of their idealism, having deciding to cast their lot with the difficult and crucial calling of education, and we write up a storm together to clarify vocation.

What you enjoyed most: Writing with other writers, and then sharing the evocative stories we have penned.

What’s changed, and what’s remained the same: We had an era of abundant and somewhat feral exploration before the graduate school sought accreditation, and things got a lot more organized and accountable. What hasn’t changed is the dedication of faculty and students together to make our classroom encounters times of great devotion to learning.

What people might not know about you: I remain haunted in the best possible way by the two months I spent hitchhiking alone through Europe in the summer of 1969— sleeping in a haymow in Ireland … dwelling on a commune in Sweden … drinking Cinzano in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence with friends from Rome and Brazil … worshipping the moon in Spain.

Favorite place on campus: The wooded path that once hosted the Sisters’ stations of the cross on the graduate school campus.

What you’re most proud of: A student once said to me, “We were talking before class, and we realized we never know what you are going to do or say.”

What’s next: By writing, be a good citizen in a divided country, and save the Earth by writing blessings.

Stephen Weeks

Associate Professor of Theatre/ Department Chair
Years Served: 25

Stephen Weeks Stephen WeeksPath to Lewis & Clark: I came to L&C from a three-year stint at the School of Drama at the University of Washington. That was not a tenure-track position, and I was lucky that L&C, as a small liberal arts college, the sort of institution I desired, had an opening. Prior to the University of Washington, I was a visiting assistant at both Brown and Reed. Prior to that, I had worked in professional theatre in Los Angeles.

Favorite course: I am proud of the work that went into developing my American theatre class and my theory class in modern and postmodern performance. Both are fundamental classes in the department. In addition, I’d have to cite every main stage production I directed as a special event, a special child: 15 productions in all over 25 years.

What you enjoyed most: The special pleasure of teaching theatre is the chance to get to know students not just in the classroom but in production contexts as working actors, directors, designers, managers, and technicians. You get to see different sides of the same person and get to know them more deeply. I cannot fail to mention, in addition, the pleasure of working closely with my colleagues in the theatre department. I have worked with incredibly talented and caring colleagues, whose company I have cherished, and that opportunity has been a highlight of my life.

What’s changed, and what’s remained the same: In the theatre department, our philosophy about what a good liberal arts theatre curriculum should be remained constant, but within that overall vision there were many changes and adjustments to keep pace with the field and with our social context. I’m happy to say that our curriculum matured and developed steadily over my time at the college, to the benefit of our students.

What people might not know about you: I’m a former high school English teacher, an Eagle Scout, a hard rock drummer, a former canoeing instructor, a runner for nearly 50 years, a devoted fan of classic rock, a fledgling backpacker, and, most recently, the owner of a horse named Izy that my daughter rides.

Favorite place on campus: Fir Acres Theatre, my home for 25 years.

What you’re most proud of: I am most proud of whatever good I have done for and with my students.

What’s next: I hope to get vaccinated and return to teaching. I’m thinking about adult education primarily, perhaps teaching English as a second language. But I don’t think my work life is over yet. I’m also hoping to hone my backpacking skills and to get outside as often as possible. Theatre is largely an indoor profession in dark spaces, and I’m hoping that retirement will include as much light as possible.