Beloved professor to leave University

By Nicole Briggs

Contributing Writer

Professor James Peterson, member of the University community for four years, will be leaving the University at the end of this semester.

Peterson’s main reason for moving on is his family’s recent relocation to Philadelphia; the 150-mile commute has become close to impossible to maintain.

More than anything, Peterson wanted to make it clear that this was an entirely personal decision. “I love teaching at Bucknell. I love the students. I love my faculty colleagues, and my department has been extremely supportive of my scholarship and all of my professional efforts the entire time I’ve been here,” he said.

Peterson is also a member of the Bucknell Innovation Group. This is one of the ways he and other professors continue to come up with new and compelling methods of teaching to keep classes interesting for the students.

“He has been exemplary in every way–an outstanding teacher, a highly productive scholar, and an active and engaged colleague in the department and in the wider University community. He was awarded tenure this year based on those qualities, and we hate to see him go,” English department chair John Rickard said.  “From the new courses he has designed to the students he has mentored and befriended, his presence will be felt in the English department for a long time. We certainly hope he returns and rejoins us here at Bucknell in the future.”

Peterson’s classes are some of the most popular on campus. “The kind of classes I teach appeal to young people because of the subject matter. The students who take my classes are not just smart, because all Bucknell students are smart, but they are especially eager to engage in class discussions,” he said.

Jen Shukusky ’11 has taken a class with Peterson every semester she has spent on campus. She stated that Peterson has made a strong impact in her life and career. Not only does he influence her inside the classroom, but he challenged her thoughts on the outside world.

“Professor Peterson’s courses are endlessly creative and never cease to challenge me and the other students in new and inventive ways. He designs his courses based on fairly untraditional topics which beg to be further explored. This alone has helped me to develop a new ideas and perspectives on literary works and figures that have not yet become part of the canon,” Shukusky said.

Peterson has been heavily involved in initiatives on campus such as the Black Student Union and Common Ground. Through his presence in many aspects of University life, he has been able to make a lasting impact.

“Personally, I am forever indebted to Professor Peterson for his mentorship. Not only has he guided me academically and socially but he has most importantly helped me grow as an individual. Professor Peterson challenges my ideas and perspectives continuously. As a result, I realized that it was OK for me to stand on the perimeter of my comfort zone. He taught me and many others that we should all embrace our uniqueness although it can be hard in new and foreign environments,” Nadia Sasso ’11 said.

Peterson is currently considering an offer of employment from Rutgers University’s Camden campus, but his future plans are not yet certain.

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