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Campus News

August 28th, 2017

Garrett College Welcomes New Faculty

Campus News - STEM Progress

Garrett College’s 2017-18 faculty will include three new additions that President Richard Midcap said "strengthen what was already an impressive group of talented, committed professionals."

David Erbe (associate professor of adventure sports), John Taylor (assistant professor of education), and Anna James (assistant professor of English) all officially joined the faculty last week. Each indicated there were many things that drew them to Garrett College.

"I like the small class sizes, as well as the opportunity to work closely with my colleagues," said Dr. Taylor, who had been professor of health and special education at Glenville (W.Va.) State College since 1999. "Working at a community college also gives me more opportunity to focus on my classes which is really the goal of providing a quality education to our students."

Dr. Taylor also has experience as a special education teacher in both Preston and Marion counties, and has also taught at Frostburg State University, West Virginia University and Potomac State College. Dr. Taylor – who earned all five of his collegiate degrees, including a doctorate in education, from West Virginia University – indicated keeping in mind why teachers teach is critical.

"We should never lose focus on our students," said Dr. Taylor, who will also serve as the college’s program assistant in arts and humanities. "Seeing a student learn, grow and mature over the time I work with them is such a rewarding experience."

James said the first thing that attracted her to Garrett was the values statement on the college’s website.

"In particular were the three phrases ‘encouraging a culture of appreciation for the power of knowledge, creating opportunities to reveal brilliance, promoting ageless, life-long learning,’ " said James, who spent the previous seven years on the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College faculty.

"I was also drawn by "recognizing diversity, fostering a sense of belonging, and fostering innovation and creativity," added James, who also served as an adjunct instructor of English at Present Bridge Valley Community and Technical College. "What dynamic and vibrant language pertaining to values that was close to my own heart. I thought immediately: I want to be a part of Garrett College."

James earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and public relations from Eastern (Pa.) University, where she won the Senior Thesis Award for Communications, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Queens (N.C.) University.

Like Dr. Taylor, James is drawn to community college education.

"I have a heart for the types of students that community colleges serve," said James. "Because class sizes are small, there’s more of an interpersonal relationship between faculty and students, and I have a real opportunity to impact student lives."

Erbe recently served as a field instructor for Colorado Outward Bound School in Moab, Utah. He earned a Master of Arts in College Student Development in the area of college outdoor program administration from Appalachian State University in 2016 after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science and technology from the University of Maryland.

Erbe said he is excited to be joining one of Garrett College’s signature programs, which he said has value beyond its specific academic training.

"Through leadership and group experiences in the outdoors, students learn about their strengths and weaknesses, which is knowledge that can be applied to other areas of their lives," said Erbe. "Students develop their understanding of who they are and are better prepared to step up to the challenges they will face in life."

In addition to his field instructor experience, Erbe spent two academic years as a graduate assistant in the outdoor program at Appalachian State, and was also a teaching assistant in recreation management at ASU.

Pictured is Anna James, assistant professor of English, with Dr. John Taylor, assistant professor of education. At the time of the photo, David Eribe, associate professor of adventure sports (not pictured), was in the field instructing students enrolled in the Back Country Living course.