Were you aware that students paid attention to your style?
Yes. My students tease me for wearing sandals to class.
What is your personal reason for dressing the way you do?
It’s for comfort [and also for] partly physiological reasons. I have extremely good circulation, and so my feet get hot really easily. I have to wear sandals to survive.
So do you dress up with your students in mind?
I’ve been teaching for about 16 to 17 years, and I’ve found that there is no one style of teaching that is best. When you dress, you pick a style of interaction. I remember when I was in college, I had two professors: an extremely proper English gentlemen and a soft-spoken woman from the South. Both were fantastic, but I found the woman to be much more approachable. Personally, I dress comfortably so that my students can feel comfortable when they ask me about philosophy.
Do you think being in the Philosophy department has influenced your style?
Philosophy is a field without a barrier of entry—anyone, regardless of background or experience, can study it. All students need to do is just learn to appreciate what the questions are. I’m the head tutor, and I stand as a guide for all the neophytes who get lost in this maze. Since philosophy is already confusing enough, I don’t want to create any distractions for the students. I wouldn’t be extremely dressed up, but I wouldn’t wear jeans either.
Do you ever look at yourself in reflective surfaces?
Nooo—I find that awkward.