Jim Gallagher

Emeritus Associate Professor of Sociology

A.B. Middlebury College
M.A. & Ph.D. Indiana University

  • Why I teach in Honors:

My response to “why do I teach Honors” is immediate, strong, and obvious – at least to me. I teach Honors because very often I come out of a preceptorial, even after all these years of teaching at the University of Maine, on an intellectual high. I come out full of ideas and, more importantly, full of questions. All of this because of the potent mix of fascinating texts and students who are driven by their curiosity and need to understand.

My response takes a bit of explanation. I came to The University of Maine in 1971 as an untenured assistant professor of Sociology. I began teaching in Honors in 1985 in the now defunct Science and Western Culture courses (HON 201 and 202). Courses that Tina Passman and I were largely responsible for designing. I have taught in Honors ever since because those courses opened the door for a teaching experience that comes very close to what I consider the ideal type of humanistic teaching.

The best teaching takes place in what Parker J. Palmer (The Courage to Teach, Jossey-Bass, 1998) calls a Community of Learning. In the community all are both teacher and student, and now teaching and learning are interwoven processes in a common journey of discovery. Honors teaching allows me to come closest to that community.

  • Recent Honors lectures:

Sidereus Nuncius (The Sidereal Messenger), Galileo Galilei (Hon 211)