Meet Dr. Eurie Dahn, Assistant Professor of English

Originally from California, Dr. Eurie Dahn attended UC Berkeley, and then obtained her PhD in English from the University of Chicago. She jokes that she keeps moving east in the United States, and soon she’ll end up in the Atlantic teaching on an island. She has been at Saint Rose for five years, and currently teaches African American Literature and Early 20th Century Literature for the undergraduate level, and is the M.A. Coordinator at the graduate level. I sat down with her in her office to chat a little bit about grad school and the English department at Saint Rose.

Why did you choose teaching?

My initial interest was English, and I pursued teaching after. I was nervous in grad school because you student teach at the end of your program, and I didn’t know what I would do if I didn’t like it. However, I went in on my first day with a Shakespeare class and loved it. I also like teaching because of the engagement with students. I was shy as a student, but I am not shy as a teacher. I don’t lecture; my courses are discussion based and interactive.

How do you prepare your students for the future?

When my graduate students come to class, they are already in the real world. I just prepare them to succeed. I teach them to be well informed, thoughtful, and produce excellent writing, as well as how to ‘see beneath the surface.’

Can you tell me about the Masters Programs in the English department?

Students who join the Masters of Arts program will specialize in either literature, composition, theory, digital media, or film, which most people don’t realize. They become critical thinkers and good researchers. They will complete an advanced project to finish out their program, based on a subject of their choosing. They have a faculty advisor for this. It is hard work but rewarding.

What are some benefits of attending Saint Rose?

Unlike some other schools, Saint Rose gives individual attention, and students like the one-on-one interactions with their professors. Also, the classes are smaller, which allows for more discussion based interactions and less lecturing. We value the student voice here.

Any advice for prospective students?

Always start early. Create a strong writing sample for your application, using research and evidence. Ask others for help and advice. Prospective students can contact me for help with creating a writing sample or statement of purpose at dahne at strose dot edu.

Class Profile: CSL 538 with Dr. Jim Jeffreys

Last week, I sat down with Dr. Jim Jeffreys, professor of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling course at Saint Rose. Jim Jeffreys has a Masters in Social Work and a PhD in Social Welfare from the State University at Albany. He is a Licensed Certified Social Worker in New York State. He is currently the Clinical Director of Hospitality House, a residential treatment program for addicts.

Photo Credit to Jim Jeffreys

Photo Credit to Jim Jeffreys

While an adjunct instructor at Saint Rose, Jim has taught Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling, Drug Use and Abuse, the State Education Department required Substance Abuse Workshop, provided training in alcohol and substance abuse prevention for Saint Rose Resident Assistants, and is a Field Instructor. Jim has served on the Board of Directors for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and the Capital District Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime and is a member of the Capital District Regional College Consortium on Alcohol and Other Drugs.

How did you get into Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling?

I went to Geneseo State. There, you were allowed to take courses and get A’s if you volunteered. It was a program they had. I began in the community psychology program . When I found out that you could volunteer at the suicide hotlines and get an A without books, tests, or class, I opted for that. I went to the Alive Center, the next year I got two A’s for running the Alive Center, then the following year I got 3 A’s for running the volunteer center for over 100 people. I got the bug for human services, social work, that kind of thing. Then I went to SUNY and did an internship at Hope House. When I was there in 1980, I was the only one on staff who never used heroine. I learned to get a gut, they had me hold all the money, so I had a niche. I was the one that helped people get into college.

What came out of working at Saint Rose? How did you make the course more experiential?

I was challenged by Claudia Lingertat-Putnam and Mike Bologna. They asked me to teach the Chemical Dependency Course and after the first semester they came to Hospitality House for a tour and asked, “how can we make the course more experiential?” It’s a three year course, with a lot of book learning, with an internship closer to graduation. The challenge was to get more experiential early on before students got to their internship component. What they found were a lot of people coming into the program that hadn’t had much experience in human services.

So what we worked out was that I would do two things simultaneously. I would encourage people if they wanted to get an “A” that they would have to go to either an AA meeting or an NA meeting and then they would write a paper about it. When my students go, I tell them that they have to be either very honest or very quiet. You can go into a meeting and say that you are just there to listen and no one will give you pressure. Or you can go in and say you’re a student. Some people might embrace you, some might ignore you, and then there are the old timers who will say “Hmmph”. But it’s an open meeting so that’s what they’re there for: People can come in and learn more about AA.

The reason I do that is because when you refer someone to AA, you will be able to say, “I know what it’s like” or “I know how hard it is”. A lot of the paper contains your own feelings. You feel uncomfortable? Well, yeah. Now you know how they feel.

The second way, is that the students come to the Hospitality House for half a day. They get a tour by a client in the all-male program.

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Meet Daniel Nester, Associate Professor of English

I sat down and had lunch with Daniel Nester, an Associate Professor in the English department, as well as coordinator of the new MFA program. I got to ask him a few questions about his life as a teacher and what he has accomplished throughout his life.

He told me he grew up in Maple Shade, New Jersey and completed his undergraduate degree at Rutgers-Camden University. He then continued on to get an MFA in poetry from New York University. Since then, Nester has published three collections including God Save My Queen: A Tribute, God Save my Queen: The Show Must Go On, and a poetry collection, The History of My World Tonight. His latest publication, How to Be Inappropriate, is a collection of humorous non-fiction.

Why did you choose to go into teaching?

Photo by Gregory Cherin

Daniel Nester: For the money. No, no, just kidding. I didn’t want to be a teacher at first, but I taught a class at a halfway house my super-senior year. I really loved it. I was teaching people who were transitioning from incarceration. I ran creative writing workshops there. Then when I got to NYU I taught at the Goldwater Hospital. Then I taught at The Lower East Side Needle Exchange. I don’t think I really taught “traditional” students until my last year of grad school when I taught a class at NYU. So by then, I was really interested in teaching non-traditional populations.

What did you want to do before that? Did you want to stick to writing?

DN: To be honest, I didn’t think I wanted to be a writer until I took a graduate class. I took a one-off graduate class at Rutgers-Camden. It was a poetry class with Afaa Weaver. I was really into it, really motivated. It was around then that I really took myself seriously as a writer. Before that, I don’t think I knew what it meant to really be a writer. I think I wanted to be an editor, but I’m not all that great at being an editor. I worked at a car wash for a long time. I think I just thought I would work there forever.

What did you do while you were on sabbatical?

DN: I wrote as much as I could. I stayed at home with my girls. I tried to rewrite this coming-of-age memoir. I wrote a lot of essays, articles, and even a few poems. I have a lot that just came out. I wrote about the Beach Boys that was in The New York Times. You wouldn’t expect it, but they’re overtly political. They do a lot of fundraisers for Republican candidates. I’m not like an arch-political person, but I thought it was a strange thing. I wrote about having small hands and feet. I wrote about my thyroid problem. I wrote one about The Doors. Jim Morrison in particular.

Somebody actually wrote about my writing. That really was wacky. I did The Memoir Office thing right out of the gates. I set up a desk in an art gallery in Troy and put up a sign that said “The Memoir Office” and people would come and talk to me. Or other people would just stare at me, like, what the hell is happening here?

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Meet Dr. David Bebe, Assistant Professor of Music

Dr. David Bebe, Assistant Professor of Music, joined the School of Arts and Humanities faculty at the start of the 2011-2012 academic year.

Dr. Bebe received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University and completed his doctorate at the University of Miami. He is originally from Salem, Oregon.

As a professor of graduate students in the Music Education program, Dr. Bebe says that he enjoys cultivating a personal and supportive learning environment for his students. He notes that the program also allows students to balance full-time jobs while taking advantage of the opportunities offered to them at Saint Rose. “Students have the option to maintain their professional careers while they attend school, which has proven to be an important balance for many of our students. There are also many opportunities to perform in a variety of ensembles. So, Music Education graduate students not only learn from experienced experts in the classroom, but they can also take their musicianship to the next level on stage,” he says.

For those interested in applying to the Music Education graduate program, Dr. Bebe encourages interested students to contact the faculty with questions. “We are a friendly bunch and will do the best to guide you to find the answers to your questions. Also, we’ll make sure you are familiar with the credit requirements for the degree and that it’s the right program for you.” More information about the graduate Music Education program is available here. If your undergraduate degree is in an area of music other than music education, you must complete all undergraduate music education requirements before being admitted to the program.

Reflecting on his first year as a faculty member here, Dr. Bebe says that he has had a positive and enjoyable experience at Saint Rose thus far. “The faculty and administration have been very supportive of all of my ideas and we all want to see the Music Department continue to strive for providing excellence in Music Education,” he says.  “What I enjoy the most are the passionate students and the overall sense of community on this campus.”

Dr. Bebe also enjoys interacting with his graduate students and learning from their own teaching experiences. “Our graduate students have valuable life experiences which results in clear ideas on what they need to do to improve and become better teachers. They often are very inquisitive and engaged in class and want to seek out specific opportunities to take advantage of while they are here at Saint Rose. I love to hear what knowledge they have gained from their own teaching experiences and I find that I personally learn a lot from my students.”

Are you interested in the MS in Music Education program? The Fall 2012 preferred application deadline is June 1. If you have any questions about the admissions process, please call Graduate Admissions at 518-454-5143 or email