Faculty-student interactions can be one of the most influential components of the student experience, from collaboration to advisement and mentoring, and even just offering a little extra help and advice when needed.
At Buffalo State College, Believe. Inspire. Achieve. is more than a motto; it is meant to serve as the driving force behind the way faculty and staff support their students and prepare them for life beyond college.
Students across departments have shared their stories about faculty members who have inspired them, both within and outside the classroom, having shaped their academic experiences and future aspirations.
According to student Amanda Dailey, Music Department chair and associate professor Victoria J. Furby has been an exceptional adviser and instructor through her commitment to her role.
“She will set aside anything she’s doing in order to help someone,” Dailey said. “It’s really important because it creates such a friendly relationship between professor and student.”
Dailey said she knew Furby years before attending Buffalo State, and she remains a consistent inspiration, even inspiring Dailey to teach a middle school music class at campus on Saturday mornings.
“She is really, really just all about us, and she wants to take care of us,” Dailey said. “She’s like a mom.”
Dailey’s sentiments were shared by another student within the Music Department, Nick Stanford, who praised associate professor of music education Kerry B. Renzoni for her teaching methods.
“She’s so positive all the time, and caring about all of her students, no matter what ability level they’re at. And she sees potential in every person as an educator,” Stanford said.
Psychology major Marnee Halef gave recognition to associate professor of psychology Michael G. MacLean for his humorous yet engaging and insightful teaching methods in his Adolescent Psychology class.
“He has great stories throughout it, and he combines it with so much of the information and research,” Halef said. “He relates everything to the textbook in real-life stories, so you can really envision it in your head.”
The Communication Department is another area on campus that boasts proud students whose college careers have been shaped by faculty members. Student Elijah Muhammad spoke about how associate professor Meg Knowles inspires him.
“She’s a very honest professor who is willing to help, and that’s a great combination,” he said.
Muhammad and another student are working with Knowles on an independent study, his first collaborative effort with a professor.
“The experience has been great,” he said. “She’s been an amazing adviser for the independent study. Every time we meet her, she gives us great feedback, and she pulls no punches.”
Paisley Baker is another student who has been able to work directly with a faculty member, Erin C. Habes, lecturer in the Fashion and Textile Technology Department, through a service project at Goodwill. She said Habes’s experience in the fashion industry has helped inspire and prepare her for her own career after graduation.
“She’s given us stories about her experience being a fashion student and what happened to her after, and it shows that people can succeed in the way that they want to,” Baker said.
Freshman Kashindi Scholastique explained how College Writing Program lecturer Renie Thanos has already had an impact on her experience at Buffalo State by giving her guidance and assurance in her own work.
“Before I send in my writing, we talk over it and she gives me ideas of what I can improve on,” Scholastique said.
“I’ve never really been this confident in my writing, and I’m looking forward to having her as a teacher next year; that’s how much I really like having her as a teacher.”
Pictured: Kerry Renzoni, associate professor of music education.
Photo by Bruce Fox, campus photographer.