After 15 years of directing Malone’s honors program, Dr. Diane Chambers, professor of English and director of the honor’s program, is stepping down.
When Chambers accepted the role, the program was only one year old. She did not apply for the job but was “begged and badgered and harassed,” finally agreeing to take it for two years.
The position was different than anything Chambers had done before.
“My experience in Minnesota at the university level was with underprepared students . . . which was really how I learned to teach,” Chambers said. “It all worked out and I hung in there for awhile, like fifteen years.”
A time that is, incidentally, thirteen years longer than she had been expecting.
Initially, there was much work to be done. The previous director had written plans for the program, but only a few honors classes had been implemented, leaving the rest of the responsibility for the program’s inner workings to Chambers.
Chambers said 15 years is a long tenure for the director of a small program because of the breadth of the required skills. Some of the skills needed to do everything are developed over time.
“It’s a really detail-oriented job, and I got better at that,” Chambers said.
Chambers also said that she is introverted, and her position has required her to reach out and talk to larger groups of people, something she’s never been totally comfortable with. She can do it, she just prefers not to.
But, despite these areas of growth, Chambers said, “We can’t do a good job at everything if we’re doing too much.”
Chambers pointed out the various piles and stacks of papers on her desk, saying that each pile represented different pieces of her life. Having so many responsibilities can lead to exhaustion, a feeling Chambers has been experiencing more of lately.
Her decision came after a lengthy process of thinking and discussion.
“I’ve been trying to discern what the right thing to do was and when,” Chambers said. “There are a lot of people that helped me in the decision.”
Chambers noted that her closer friends have known about her decision for some time and that they have been instrumental in helping her plan.
Besides her position as the director of the honors program, Chambers is a professor of English, a position she still plans to hold full time. She looks forward to streamlining her responsibilities and obtaining more focus.
Nonetheless, the decision is bittersweet.
“I’ll miss all the contact with honors students and working with them,” Chambers said.
Even without her role in the honor’s program, Chambers is quick to encourage students.
Embrace learning all the way through, whether it’s school or it’s life. Don’t see it as a check-off list of things to do. Find ways-even when it’s hard-to find the joy,” Chambers said.
Isaac Brenneman is a staff writer for The Aviso