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Faculty & Staff Spotlights

Daniel Thompsune

Assistant Professor, English/Philosophy

Daniel ThompsuneEducation:
B.A., Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
M.A., West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Professional Affiliations:
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)
Herkimer County Community College Academic Senate
Phi Sigma Tau

Honors & Awards:
Bloomsburg University Philosophy Chair Award
Herkimer County Community College 10 Years of Service Award

What inspired you to become an educator?
I had originally thought I was going to be a computer scientist and write programs. After a few years, I realized that it was not a good fit for my skill set and personality. My philosophy professor Dr. Kurt Smith was a real inspiration to me. I was a little scared that there were not real job opportunities in teaching philosophy, but he convinced me that I had extraordinary natural talent in philosophy and there were more job opportunities in numerous fields (not just teaching) than one would think for philosophers. I am so glad I decided to switch. When you do what you’re good at and what you love, you will never work a day in your life.

What interests you most about the subject area in which you teach?
Philosophy introduces you to new ideas and ways of thinking and allows you to develop critical thinking skills.

What teaching moment is most memorable?
When a student comes to a realization or understanding, there is a moment when you see the ‘lightbulb’ go off in their head, or when a student is struggling but finally achieves success, I find these moments most memorable. I also like to see my students talking about the materials outside of class to their friends and family and applying it to their lives. Finally, I am always delighted when a student comes up with a new idea or argument that I have never learned before or that has never come up in previous classes.

What do you think makes the educational experience at Herkimer unique?
There are a lot of good faculty, and the faculty to student ratio is generally small which is very good. We also provide many extracurricular clubs and activities which help students to feel a part of the community and generate new experiences and memories.

What do students need to know in order to succeed in college?
Success is a matter of three things in life, which are: natural talent/skill, luck, and work. Since you cannot change the former (skill/talent or luck), what you really need to succeed in college is the latter (work). Anyone can succeed here if they put in the time and effort to do so. Discipline, diligence, and effort go a long way. Also if you need help, Herkimer College has the resources and dedicated staff to help you, again if you are willing to put in the time and effort to seek assistance and take advice and direction.

What other roles do you play at Herkimer College (i.e. club advisor, coach, etc.)? Why is it important to you to be involved in that capacity?
I am the advisor for the Gaming Club and the Metal Club. In the past I have also been the advisor of the Anime Club. I often get my clubs to collaborate with other clubs on campus as well. I think clubs (and other activities) for students are very important. They help create a sense of community in which students make new friends, have new experiences and memories, and develop skills like communication and leadership. They are also generally fun, low or no cost, and open to all.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
I enjoy watching movies and shows that incorporate philosophy into them, so generally Science Fiction and Anime. I am a gamer and enjoy all types of games (video, card, board, etc.).

What is something that most people wouldn’t know about you?
I prefer non-mainstream music and foreign music. I am especially drawn to electronic sounds. Some examples would be Chiptunes (8 bit), electro swing, Vocaloids, and gamer metal. I also like many of the subgenres of metal music like industrial, folk, Viking, and progressive metal.

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