This time last spring, Casie Hermansson was just beginning her teaching experience at a university in Finland. Now, back at PSU, Hermansson says she’s a better teacher because of her Fulbright experience.
A professor in the Department of English, Hermansson taught undergraduate and graduate classes in children’s British and American literature and American literature from 1945 at the University of Turku/Abo Akademi on the southwestern coast of Finland.
“The students were very self-motivated so I enjoyed teaching both the undergraduate and graduate courses,” Hermansson said.
One big adjustment, Hermansson said, was preparing for 90-minute class periods that involved a lot of lecture and PowerPoint.
“It was a teaching model I was familiar with as a student, since that’s what I was used to from my own undergraduate studies in New Zealand,” Hermansson said, “but I’d never been on the teaching side of it before. It inspired me to have more fun creating stimulating visual aids and using short film clips to keep things lively.”
Hermansson said she found the academic environment, which was steeped in research, inspirational.
“It was very heady to work on two campuses that live and breathe research!” Hermansson said. “I met with a number of Ph.D students for lunches and coffees to discuss their research, and after giving my own research presentations on campus I would have a number of people follow up with me to talk further. The Fulbright reinvigorated my own research agenda.”
At PSU, Hermansson said she has added things to her classes that she found effective in Finland.
“I feel like I already had a good model for being a teacher at PSU, and some experience with being a researcher, but I now have a much better working understanding of how to be a teacher-researcher!” Hermansson said.