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New face in English department

In Chris Boettcher’s Touchstone’s of Western Literature course, the discussion in class may have started out slow, but soon it began to flow. Rather then simply lecture, Boettcher talked with the students in the class as if they were just having a casual conversation. He even incorporated students’ own ideas and thoughts into his lecture.

Boettcher is a new professor in the Castleton English department, teaching composition and writing courses.

“I enjoy how he starts with a point and has us discuss from there and has in mind where he’d like the discussion to be led. He drops hints here and there if we don’t quite get there, but he certainly lets us voice our own view points,” said Jacob Mclaughlin, a Castleton student.

His fellow English professors in the department are equally happy Boettcher chose Castleton.

“I am very pleased to have professor Boettcher as a new colleague. I think he brings a wealth of expertise and energy to the English department that will benefit his students and colleagues alike,” said colleague Andrew Alexander.

English department chairman Dennis Shramek agrees.

“Generally at the college, we look for candidates who are interested in the field. We look for candidates who demonstrate success in teaching and who are enthusiastic in doing college community service. In each of those three categories, Chris did very well,” Shramek said.

Boettcher did his graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh. He came to Castleton from a small liberal arts college in Arkansas.

“I’m really interested in helping my students develop their own ideas about things and to think critically about the world,” Boettcher said.

He said he is a strong believer in service learning, an educational method in which students do work in the community, which is then integrated into the classroom.
Boettcher first became interested in service learning when he did volunteer work restoring a dude ranch in Montana. He observed how the other volunteers were able to learn from what they are doing and somehow relate it to themselves.

“How people were able to not just solve a problem, but look at themselves differently to solve this problem. This was something that was really striking to me,” he said.

Outside of teaching, Boettcher likes being outdoors and enjoys hiking. He is also currently working on remodeling his house.
When it comes to the comparison of Castleton and the liberal arts school in Arkansas, Boettcher said he has found both schools to be very similar.

“Like Castleton, its emphasis is on how it helps its students to develop as citizens and people, as well as students,” he said. “That’s an important part of the work that everyone does.