A well-deserved break – to learn

Bob Gershon is finally leaving Castleton State College – just for a short time though.After 28 years here, Gershon is taking his first sabbatical leave for two semesters.

“Twenty-eight years, and I have never taken a sabbatical for two reasons. Either I couldn’t afford it monetarily with my kids in college or the department couldn’t afford not having someone covering the studio,” Gershon said.

Before arriving at Castleton, Gershon worked at an advertising agency as a writer in Albany shortly before coming to CSC.

“When I was getting my PhD I was a T.A (teacher’s assistant) for some film courses. Then I was writing for the ad agency and realized that writers had to stay in the office and producers go to leave, so I became a producer,” Gershon said.

That started his career at Castleton.

He is currently the department head for the communication department and he teaches classes relating to television, filmmaking and other film technical courses.

“Bob is long overdue for a sabbatical. I don’t begrudge this opportunity at all,” said Roy Vestrich, a communication department colleague. What do you do on sabbatical?

While all professors do different things on sabbatical, Gershon has chosen items that not only interest him, but that he can use in teaching.

His biggest focus while on leave will probably be telecommunication policies of the Canadian Maritime Provinces. He will study ideas of their policy as a model for Vermont. According to Gershon, the Maritime Provinces have developed telecommunication structures necessary for strong, environmentally friendly, economic development.

He is also going to study the use of Macromedia Flash, an industry standard in multimedia application. He wants to bring back his knowledge to better teach classes about Flash, and also learn to integrate video with Internet media.

Gershon has asked for a grant from the school of just under $6,000 for traveling expenses to Nova Scotia, Canada and for a workshop in Maine. Why now?

After 28 years why has Gershon chosen this point to complete a sabbatical?

“We’ll I don’t have kids in college anymore. Also, with computing and DV capabilities I think it makes it easier for me to leave the facility and know that they (faculty and students) can handle it,” Gershon said.

On his students missing him, Gershon said he thinks they will anticipate missing him for the rest of this semester, but he anticipates hiring someone so good that when he (Gershon) returns, his students will miss that person.

Branden Gallagher, a junior, is a little nervous about Gershon leaving for a year.

“I’m used to what Bob teaches. A new person coming in, things could be totally different,” Gallagher said.

Adrian Hill, also a Junior and a work study student under Gershon, shares Gallagher’s concern.

“It’ll be different working without Bob, especially being the work study, but it will be a good experience to work with someone (else). I don’t know though, I’ll be the lone sergeant in a field with a new lieutenant,” Hill said.

Right now, there are three or so remaining applicants out of the original 23 looking to fill the position, he said.

Gershon, through his first sabbatical, hopes that everything he learns he can bring back to Castleton as a teaching tool.

“I think everything you do comes back to CSC. Everything does. You could read a book and use your knowledge from the book in teaching. The things I am doing most likely will come back to Castleton,” he said. “Maybe not telecommunication policy, most students close their eyes during that.

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