Sharon Tisher

Lecturer, School of Economics and Honors

B.A. & J.D. Harvard University

I transitioned mid-career from being a trial partner in Connecticut’s largest law firm, to teaching environmental law and Honors at the University of Maine. While both careers have their unique “highs,” I’ve found teaching in Honors to be a profound pleasure and privilege.

There are a few things a prospective student might want to know about my approach to teaching.

  • My philosophy for teaching in Honors:

As I grew to enjoy the “Socratic method” in law school, class discussions generally move along in response to numerous questions, intended to encourage students to dig deeply into the text and to look at it from a variety of different perspectives.

Secondly, good writing has proven to be a source of great power and pleasure in my life. Good writing and good thinking go hand in hand. Honors papers, and generally all academic and analytic writing, should be an argument; the text itself is the evidence that is crucial to a persuasive argument. We accordingly do a great deal of work with writing and rewriting in my preceptorial. Grades generally reflect the progress students have made during the course of the semester, rather than where they started. Classes occasionally involve informal debates, to encourage students to make persuasive oral arguments.

Finally, I have a lifelong interest in the theater. I encourage students to engage in a theater project as an option in lieu of their third formal paper. Students, working independently in groups, perform scenes from a play from the period that we are studying. This is usually an exciting, and often a hilarious, way to end the semester.

  • Recent Honors lectures:

Inanna (Hon 111)
Frankenstein, Shelley (Hon 211)
Silent Spring, Rachel Carson (HON 212)