Making it in the college classroom: A Q&A with Professor Young Kim

Classics and history Professor Young Kim teaches history, Latin and Greek regularly and is currently serving as chair of the Classics department.

How will your college classroom be different from my high school classes?

I don't use a narrative textbook in my courses, but instead depend heavily on reading original sources carefully and critically. While I lecture regularly in class, I also provide many opportunities for students to talk to each other and sometimes debate their ideas and interpretation.

What is grading like in college classes?

Since most of my courses are either in history or in classics, many of the assignment I give are written papers. I grade every assignment, write comments and provide feedback with the aim of steady improvement over the course of a semester. Professors love to see students grow and develop over time, and we certainly take this into consideration when grading.

What can I do to be successful in your courses?

First of all, come to class! Be diligent ... and set aside time each day for the course, rather than try to cram everything before exams or due dates. Students should also finish their reading assignments before each class session, which will ensure that they can follow along with the lectures and discussions.

If I'm struggling with the material in one of your classes, what should I do?

Come to my office hours! Whenever I'm on campus, my door is almost always open, and I love meeting with students individually to discuss the course material and assignments. Students should not be afraid of their professors ... we're really very nice!

How many hours of homework should I expect for each class session?

The reading loads vary from week to week, but students should expect several hours of work outside of class. I can't give a definite number because each student has a different pace and learning style.

What should I call you?

How about "Professor Kim?"

I've heard a lot about "grading on a curve" in college. What is it, and do you use this grading system?

Well, none of my courses include a curved grading scale. Every student is assessed according to her or his own work, so maximum individual effort is expected of all!

What am I going to love about college learning at Calvin?

Calvin professors are passionate about teaching and research, and we are all actively engaged in our respective academic disciplines, as we consistently read, publish and converse with other scholars in our fields. Remember, dedicated researchers make better teachers! All Calvin courses are taught by professors and not graduate students, and we were trained at some of the best universities in the country. We bring together a good balance of compassionate, nurturing teaching styles with high expectations and excellence.

VERGE: spring 2014

First-Year Experience