As students flock back to campus, faculty welcome semester

September 4, 2012 5:45 AM

Fran Simon

Call it the circle of life for a university. As each fall semester begins, an influx of thousands of students revitalizes the campus and the city. At Tulane University, 13,500 students began classes on Aug. 27, and classes resume after Hurricane Isaac today (Sept. 4). For George Bernstein and Beth Poe — faculty members in their fourth decade teaching at Tulane — the new semester still energizes.

Faculty members George Bernstein and Beth Poe.

George Bernstein and Beth Poe, professors in their fourth decade at Tulane, are still excited about getting to know their new students. (Photo by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo)

Both Bernstein and Poe, professors of history and French respectively, look forward to forging bonds with new students.

“They make me feel younger,” said Poe, who finds she is happier and more productive when she is in the routine of a teaching semester. She starts each morning with a swim at the Reily Student Recreation Center, followed by coffee on campus and teaching a 9 a.m. class. Her day ends with a glass of wine and correcting papers.

Bernstein, who is chair of the history department this academic year, patted his chest and said, “That boy who felt he was so lucky to get this job teaching at Tulane is still inside here.”

Both professors observed the quality and diversity of Tulane students has improved since they began teaching at the university. And students today write better than those of previous decades.

But, both professors pointed out, students often make the mistake of printing out papers without proof-reading them, relying on the computer for spelling and grammar checking.

Readying herself for the school year after a year-long sabbatical, Poe bought new shoes, clothes and, above all, purple ink cartridges to use in a set of pens that she carries in a zippered leather wallet. Poe is known for meticulously marking papers in purple ink.

“As the French say, ‘Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,’ (the more things change, the more they stay the same),” Poe said.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu