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Visiting professor encourages student involvement

By Ashlyn Fransen '24
Published October 3, 2023
Categories: About Eckerd, Academics, Alumni, Environmental Studies

Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Tyler Cribbs (left) chats with Daniel Pollack ’25 (middle) and
Riley Kubiak ’26 during class. Photos by Penh Alicandro ’22

Upon his return to Eckerd College’s beautiful bayfront campus, Tyler Cribbs ’16 found it strange to drive to the academic side of campus. He is no longer a student heading to a rugby game or the Eckerd College Emergency Response Team office. Residence halls are in his past.

As a visiting assistant professor of environmental studies, Cribbs is teaching three courses this fall. One of them, an introductory-level environmental studies course, is the same one he took during his undergraduate studies in the same classroom.

“It’s surreal being on this side of the classroom,” he says.

Cribbs realized he wanted to teach during his master’s program at Kansas State University, and he gained teaching experience during his Ph.D. program at Clemson University. Coming back to Eckerd has already been rewarding because the students seem far more engaged than the groups he taught at those large universities.

“They’re putting as much into the class as I do from the teaching side. I’m the best teacher I can be when I’m teaching things they’re invested in,” he says.

Tyler Cribbs enjoys working with students at Eckerd, who seem far more engaged than the groups he taught at large universities.

An important part of Cribbs’s own liberal arts education was his involvement on campus. One of his fondest Eckerd memories was his role as concert director at Palmetto Productions. He organized a T-Pain concert, and he was very proud to see the fun his classmates had at the event.

His investment in the community where he grew up allowed him to explore broader perspectives, and he sees that same investment in Eckerd students now.

This connection, not just in the classroom but in the community as a whole, is what makes Eckerd a special place. And Cribbs loves hearing about his students’ extracurriculars.

“That’s my go-to icebreaker question,” he says. “‘What are you involved in?’”

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