Student-centered faculty retire from three departments

May 27, 2008

Turning in final grades reports on May 20 marked more than the end of the term for faculty Colette Henriette, Alex Ober and Dan Rees. Having decided to retire, these teaching scholars were honored with emeritus status by the Board of Trustees and recognition at Commencement.

Associate Professor Colette Henriette has reshaped the French curriculum and created new courses ranging from Business French to L’Actualité française, the study of French current events through reading or watching Francophone media. Her teaching is proficiency based and she is certified in the Berlitz method having studied with John Rassias who invented the innovative approach to teaching languages. She has advised both the French Club and House, supervised innumerable independent studies and projects for departmental honors, taken students on field trips and this year, with her colleagues Drs. Martine Motard-Noar and Cathy Bodin, hosted 120 French students who took the famous Grand Concours, a national French test sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French.

In 1991, her scholarly paper derived from her dissertation examining 18th-century women of letters and private correspondence as a new literary genre garnered an invitation to present at the Eighth International Congress on the Enlightenment held in England for 1,000 scholars worldwide.

From 1999-2005, she served as the Study Abroad Director helping hundreds of students broaden their horizons by choosing a stimulating study abroad program around the world. She retires in May after 40 years of teaching, 18 at McDaniel where she has inspired her students to stretch beyond what’s needed to earn an A.

Alex Ober, professor of Exercise Science and Physical Education, joined the Intercollegiate Athletics department as a graduate assistant in 1967, and after completing a master’s in education in 1969, was appointed a physical education instructor. His expertise in sport history and biomechanics resulted in several publications in scholarly journals, and courses popular with both undergraduate and graduate students. Moreover, he designed a Jan Term course on C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles that demonstrates his inherent appreciation of the liberal arts. Throughout his career, he has influenced hundreds of student-athletes as the former Head Coach of Men’s Basketball, Lacrosse and Tennis (he even coached football early on.) During Ober’s 17-year tenure as basketball coach, his teams won 185 games and three times won 16 games in a single season. Both of these accomplishments are school records.

His leadership among his faculty peers is clearly demonstrated by twice serving as chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee and the Admissions and Retention Committee, and election as Faculty Ombudsman. He also has served ad EPE Department Chair since 1996 and as College Marshall at formal academic ceremonies.

For more than three decades Professor of Social Work Dan Rees, an established expert in the field of human relations, has taught courses focusing on the family as well as human relations in the workplace and kept his students engaged in lively discussions of realistic examples. He says that working in the field has allowed him to relate models to social work and sociology majors. It has also earned him invitations as a frequent presenter especially on the topic of “thinking styles” to various outside agencies including bar associations, industrial and practitioner organizations. He even served as an advisor to the Clinton White House where Rees was asked to help enhance team and organizational effectiveness.

Throughout his career as a faculty member, Rees has served on numerous committees especially in the area of student affairs, advisor to student groups and consistent Green Terror fan for student-athletes. His leadership as Social Work Department Chair effectively managed a busy internship program and two successful re-accreditations processes. His peers applaud the mentoring he provided to newcomers on the faculty.