Skip to main content

"Back to School, Back to School"

Posted by on Thursday, January 28, 2010 in Academic Life.

Download Professor Bess’s WWII lecture.

Yes, I am referencing Adam Sandler’s song from “Billy Madison” and yes, that last statement made me look old (you were probably three when that movie came out) and yes, last week I went back to school. Last week I returned to my one of favorite lectures and my favorite undergraduate class, History of World War II taught by Professor Michael Bess.  Only this time I wasn’t equipped with a notebook or a pen, but a microphone and podcast equipment.  With a little help from Vanderbilt News Services, you can now download the lecture from Professor Bess’s introductory class to History of World War Two entitled “WWII: It’s place in history and the Saboteurs at Norsk Hydro.”

Professor Bess kicks off the first day of class with a lecture so vivid and fascinating that I still remember it today. He weaves the story of British and Norwegian spies and their attempts to thwart Hitler’s attempts at building an Atomic bomb (successful attempts luckily).  These tales, while largely unknown to the public, represent the story of WWII: a high stakes drama where the fate of the world hung by the tiniest of threads.  I loved hearing this lecture one more time as it brought back fond memories of my favorite classes and lectures from my days as an undergrad at Vanderbilt.  I hope that this podcast will give you a better feel for the academic experience at Vanderbilt.

Here are some of thoughts from my return to class:

1) The Honor Code:  It was so refreshing to hear Professor Bess reiterate how serious the honor code and honesty are at Vanderbilt.  Professor Bess takes part in of my favorite traditions and leaves the room during a test to let “the honor code rule.”

2) Office Hours: Professor Bess opens the class by saying the following: “Come meet me, I want to get to know you and if my office hours don’t work for you then we will schedule something else.”  Vanderbilt professors truly care about YOU the student, and they want to get to know YOU.  It was during Professor Bess’s office hours in the second week of my freshman year that I learned the professors really did care about the students.  Prof. Bess, not a TA or grad student, helped me with my first college paper.  This experience my second week at Vanderbilt is indicative of the academic climate at Vanderbilt.

Professor Bess was just one of the many profs that befriended me as an undergrad, and he is one of the few that I still have lunch with each semester.  If you want to build fantastic relationships with your professors in college then Vanderbilt is a great fit for you. No matter what college you attend in the years to come take the time to meet with your favorite professors get to know them, it will enrich your experience…. you won’t regret it, trust me!

This is what classes are like at Vanderbilt.  I hope you enjoy the lecture!  If you have any suggestions of future departments or subject to podcast please let us know!

Tags: , , , , ,