On any given day at Whitman, you might find Mary Anne O’Neil, professor of foreign languages and literatures, leading a class in Advanced French or Twentieth Century French Literature or Contemporary France and the Francophone World.

Today — Spring Visitors’ Day — the mission is Advanced French. In the space of 50 minutes, O’Neil speaks fewer than a dozen words of English. Five of them — “I won’t take it anymore” — clarify a passage from Radiguet’s “Le Diable au corps.” For her part, O’Neil will gladly take it. She has taught at Whitman for 30 years.

Mary Anne O’Neil Mary Anne O’Neil

On any given day, Lori Bettison-Varga, provost and dean of the faculty, might be reviewing three of three dozen Whitman Innovation in Teaching and Learning grant applications, preparing a budget for the Board of Trustees, attending a conference of the Council on Undergraduate Research (of which she is immediate past president) or spending the lunch hour at a Faculty Forum talk.

On any given day, you might find:

  • Charles Timm-Ballard, associate professor of art, teaching ceramics to students (or alumni at Summer College), inspecting the new Fouts Center for Visual Arts with the architect or working in his ceramics studio at home.
  • Sharon Alker, associate professor of English, lecturing to fellow faculty on the Scottish writer James Hogg or poring over his original papers with student Beth Frieden ’08 at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.
  • Bob Carson, Grace Farnsworth Phillips Professor of Geology and Environmental Studies, collaborating with his students to map out this summer’s biannual geological expedition to Mongolia.
  • Shampa Biswas, associate professor of politics, introducing students to the intricacies of global politics, leading the Critical and Alternative Voices Committee or rewarding her students with a feast of Indian food at the end of term.
  • Dean Snider, athletic director and associate professor of sport studies, teaching Applied Sport Psychology, traveling to a match or game, or buttoning up details for the Athletic Hall of Fame banquet.
  • Keith Farrington, Laura and Carl Peterson Chair of Social Sciences, serving on one of a dozen senior thesis committees, directing the Center for Teaching and Learning, teaching a class on the history of rock ’n’ roll — and practicing what he preaches as a bass player in his own band.

On any given day, Whitman faculty wear many hats: teacher, adviser, researcher, grant writer, mediator, mentor, conference presenter, admission or development emissary, travel agent. Add to this their personal responsibilities as partner, parent, actor, athlete, singer, songwriter, community organizer or volunteer and you have a full day in the chosen life.