Tiana Dean appreciates RCC's faculty expertise, student diversity
“RCC has changed the way I think about education,” declares second-year student Tiana Dean. “The quality of education is not measured by how much money you spend or what university you go to—it’s the quality of instructors. I’ve had great instructors at RCC.”
A National Merit Scholar at Grants Pass High School, Dean originally planned to attend Portland State University. But when the bank where she and her mother work was bought out. Their jobs became uncertain. “PSU was already too expensive, so I caved in and agreed to stay,” Dean recalled. “I secretly felt so relieved to stay here and figure out what I’d be doing.”
At RCC it’s all about the one-to-one teacher relationships, according to Dean. At first she was frightened, but instructors soon helped her feel confident. “I like being able to walk up to instructors and have them know my name,” she said. “I feel like my education is important to my instructors. Classes aren’t in a huge lecture hall. I like how instructors genuinely care who you are,” she added. “I’ve learned so much in the past two years.”
While Dean has liked all her RCC instructors, Tom Schmidt is a stand out. “I like Dr. Schmidt’s style of teaching writing and who he is as a person,” said Dean, who’s taken two composition classes from Schmidt. “He’s really genuine and that came out in his teaching,” she explained. The coursework was hard because he pushed us and looked to make us better writers. He encouraged me to write about what matters to me.”
Dean graduated from GPHS with more than 50 Early College Credits, covering almost her entire freshman year, “and they were free, too!” she said. “Coming to RCC is the best financial decision I’ve ever made. At PSU I would have been $40,000 in debt by now.”
Dean, who received RCC Foundation scholarships and works as a bank teller three days a week, also has volunteered for Relay for Life, Paint Your Heart Out, Rotary’s Duck Derby, and community cleanups. She will complete an associate’s degree in business administration this winter and transfer to Southern Oregon University.
Dean also appreciates the wide range of students at RCC and how that results in lively classroom discussions. “I like the fact RCC encourages so much diversity,” she said. RCC encourages people to get an education regardless of their age, race, or gender.”
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Instructor appreciates RCC students
Tom Schmidt appreciates the spirit of the students he encounters as a part-time instructor at Rogue Community College.
Schmidt, who holds a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, is in his third year of teaching writing at RCC. This spring he’ll teach The Bible as a Literature class.
“After years teaching ‘kids of the rich and famous’ in Santa Barbara, I find RCC students a refreshing change because most bring to college a rich life experience, often as a result of hardship,” Schmidt noted. “They cherish the opportunity to make a new beginning.”
Schmidt earned a bachelor’s at Wheaton College and master’s at Fuller Seminary. He received his doctorate in 1985 and has been in a classroom most years since, mainly in Santa Barbara. He has taught religion, philosophy, literature, and writing at Westmont College and at private middle and prep schools.
Schmidt has published five books, about 40 journal articles, and around 30 poems.
“I like Dr. Schmidt’s style of teaching writing and who he is as a person,” said RCC student Tiana Dean, who’s taken two composition classes from Schmidt. “He’s really genuine and that came out in his teaching. The coursework was hard, but I liked it because he pushed us to make us better writers. He encouraged me to write about what matters to me.”
Schmidt’s wife, Merry, is a part-time public speaking instructor at Rogue. They have three grown children, two of whom are also teachers.