Bev Thurber Joins the Shimer College Faculty
This Fall, Shimer College is excited to welcome Bev Thurber as its newest faculty member. The Academic Planning Committee chose Dr. Thurber from a highly competitive pool of candidates for a teaching position at the College. With an impressive background in both the Humanities and Sciences, Dr. Thurber provides Shimer with someone who will serve as an important link between the two disciplines. For her first semester Bev will teach Integrated Studies 2 and Natural Sciences 3 while auditing Humanities 3.
Like many in the Shimer community, Bev has extensive interests in and out of academia. Her extensive educational endeavors include Bachelor Degrees in Mathematics and Humanities from MIT, a Masters Degree in Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic from Cambridge, and a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University. Outside the classroom, Bev also feels at home inside of an ice rink. After 12 total years and a competitive skating career in college, Dr. Thurber has mostly hung up her skates in favor of academia, hitting the ice on the occasional free weekend. “I heard about a rink in Hyde Park that opens this Winter, so I’m looking forward to that. Who knows?” she mused. While studying abroad last year she did perform in front of a crowd at Alpsin Obersttorf, Germany, but visions of any future competitions remain hazy. Her academic and skating interests have even crossed at times, including a presentation she made entitled "How Fast Could the Vikings Skate?" at the Fiske Conference on Medieval Icelandic Studies at Cornell University in 2007.
Bev was drawn to Shimer because of the increased focus on students and the fact that she won’t be constrained to teaching in a single department. A teaching position in the midst of a well rounded curriculum proved very attractive and refreshing to her. Bev remarked, “I love teaching because it gives you the chance to think through the material in detail. That’s when I really get it too. Each student has an ability to view a reading in an entirely different way; they connect dots you never even noticed before.” When asked of her opinions on Shimer’s classes, Dr. Thurber said, “I’m really looking forward to IS 2, Nat Sci2, and Nat Sci 3."
Bev is also on a mission to prove to Shimer students that Mathematics is not a subject to be feared and warrants an important place in the Liberal Arts curriculum. “I feel like most Shimer students get so nervous about math, but at its core it’s an amazing and interesting subject." She has several ideas for electives including, Linguistics, a study of Beowulf in Old English, and John Conway’s Math and Games which explores different games and methods of creating abstract mathematical concepts in a more concrete way. In all it appears that Dr. Thurber will be an excellent fit at Shimer College, providing keen guidance for students willing to foray into the world of numbers, while at the same time helping to provide a traditional grounding in the Humanities. Fall will be an exciting time at Shimer College with several new faces appearing, and Dr. Thurber's is one Shimer is elated to see among the many.