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Faculty & Staff Spotlights

Dr. Mark C. Polkosnik

Associate Professor of Law

Mark PolkosnikEducation:
J.D., Georgia State University College of Law
Ph.D., University of Georgia
M.Ed., University of Georgia
A.B. University of Georgia

Professional Affiliations:
American Bar Association (Member)
State Bar of Georgia (Licensed to practice in all trial and appellate courts in Georgia)
Admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
Admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court
Criminal Justice Educators Association of New York State (CJEANYS)
Certified Police Officer – State of Georgia
Certified Master Instructor Trainer by the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council

Board Memberships:
Chairperson, Herkimer College Curriculum Committee
Past Co-chair, Herkimer College Promotion and Merit Committee
Member, Student Judicial Review Board
Past Vice President, Herkimer College Academic Senate

What inspired you to become an educator?
I’ve always enjoyed teaching others new things. I get a great deal of satisfaction helping students learn to critically think about legal problems and to develop a sound understanding of the law. I also enjoy mentoring students who want to pursue a legal career.

What interests you most about the subject area in which you teach?
Law is a fluid field in that it is constantly evolving to reflect the ideals of our society. Also, the law lets you make valid, and hopefully persuasive, arguments for either side of an issue. Our system of resolving complex legal problems involves what is termed the “adversarial” system in which counsel for each side make their best legal and factual arguments and the judge or jury decides the issue. Being involved in this process is very intellectually satisfying. Being a part of this process is humbling.

What do you find most challenging about teaching and why?
One of the things I find challenging is also one of the things that I really like! We get students whose academic talents cover the gamut from needing help with the basics of writing and math to those students who enter directly into our Honors Program. The challenging part for me is teaching in ways that will “reach” all of my students. I do this by using current events as a springboard for our discussions about the law. This lets students have a common base from which to begin to apply the law. I’ve found this effective in engaging students of all ability levels.

What makes Herkimer unique from other colleges?
At Herkimer, we say that we ‘meet students where they are.’ So, we get a very diverse student body which has a wide range of talent – both academic and extracurricular – and we develop this talent. I think that Herkimer embraces the ‘whole student’ concept and we offer lots of opportunities for students to get involved. This is critical since students learn and develop as much (if not more) outside of the classroom as in. The college’s size is perfect for promoting student involvement and I think we do an excellent job engaging our students.

What do students need to know in order to succeed in college?
From an academic point of view, to succeed, students need to develop effective time management skills as a high priority. Classes are faster paced, cover more material, and require a lot more independent study than many incoming student are used too. Regular and repeated efforts to master the material in each class is essential for success. Also, I would strongly urge every student to get involved with one or more of our student activities. Involved students tend to do better in the classroom as well. Lastly, find a mentor among the faculty and staff and use that person as a sounding board for your ideas and plans.

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