Profs shed high profile to teach

by Brian Bakst

Few students who entered Marvin Marshak’s Physics 1451 recitation knew that their professor held another job as one of University President Nils Hasselmo’s top aides.
Of the few Institute of Technology students who were aware of Marshak’s position as senior vice president for Academic Affairs, none was concerned that the man pacing the room, discussing particles and motion is one of two top administrators teaching courses this fall.
While Marshak taught his class in the Architecture building, W. Phillips Shively, provost for Arts, Sciences and Engineering, was across the Mississippi River preparing to teach a political science course later Thursday morning.
Shively said he took time away from teaching last year to get accustomed to his then-new administrative position.
But he said he felt the desire and need to teach again. “I really do enjoy teaching,” Shively said. “It helps me keep in touch with students and faculty.”
One of his duties as provost is to interact with students and faculty, Shively said, and teaching allows him to do that.
Marshak and Shively estimate they each put in 60 to 70 hours per week fulfilling their administrative obligations. Shively estimates it will require an additional 15 hours per week to prepare for his course, while Marshak estimates his class preparation and teaching time will require only about three hours.
Shively added he will not participate in the grading of assignments and exams, however. “That’s the one compromise I have made,” Shively said.
Marshak said time management is nothing new to him.
“If you are a college professor you have to share your time between teaching and research anyway,” Marshak said, adding that sharing his time between administrating and teaching will not be a large problem.
A poll of Marshak’s students showed they were not worried about Marshak’s administrative duties interfering with the class.
As far as Institute of Technology freshman Steve Zellinger is concerned, “it’s just another class.” He added it is an honor to have such a high-profile person at the head of the classroom.
Both Marshak and Shively also expect to face scheduling conflicts because meetings and classes sometimes run simultaneously. For instance, both teach on Thursday mornings, a day on which the Board of Regents meets at least once per month.
Marshak said he wouldn’t have taken the extra responsibility if there were tremendous scheduling problems. Marshak added he has already made arrangements for substitutes on days he cannot teach.
Shively said other administrators are aware of his teaching assignment and the scheduling conflicts which may result. But, Shively said, “I am going to give the class my highest priority.”
Hasselmo commended both Shively and Marshak for teaching in addition to their administrative duties. It is “strong evidence of their obvious love of students and their subject matter,” Hasselmo said.