With over 308,000 Temple alumni, these former students can be found pursuing careers all across the United States. There are a certain few, though, that chose to return to their alma mater — not for a homecoming football game, or to make a speech, but to teach. Some of these alumni have even become professors in the same colleges they earned their degrees from.
For some, the role reversal of student to professor was an unexpected one. Francesca Viola (CLA ‘78), said that she never intended to be a professor, but became interested after finishing her career in broadcast television.
“Not in a million years did I ever think I would be a professor,” Viola said. “After my years in broadcasting I decided to return to school for law. It was there where I realized that I loved academia, and now I’m an assistant professor in the journalism department.”
Some professors, such as Viola, have been able to transition from a different career path right into being a full time professor. Others have been able to give back to the Temple community by way of teaching, but in a part-time capacity as an adjunct.
Jillian Bauer (SMC ‘06) has taken her experience as a professional photographer and graphic designer to the classroom as an adjunct professor in the journalism department.
“The courses that I teach here are more multimedia-based courses, so my prior experience goes hand in hand with what I’m doing with the students,” Bauer said.
Becoming a college professor can be a big accomplishment for some — becoming a college professor at your alma mater can make it even more special. Viola says she takes pride in being able to help current Temple students reach their career goals.
“It’s a very gratifying experience. It’s wonderful to see students as they are learning, and feeling like you made a difference,” Viola said. “The fact that I can do this at a school where I received two degrees makes it even more worth it.”
“I really like teaching here,” Bauer added. “As a former student, I’m comfortable in my surroundings, and feel like I’m able to connect well with all of my students.”
For Viola, the most satisfying thing about teaching at her alma mater is the connection she makes with her students.
“I’m able to keep in touch with a lot of my former students and follow their careers,” Viola said. “I do meet a lot of new people, but I also get to see students that I taught end up with jobs in the [media] industry, and to me that’s very satisfying.”
Written by: Joseph Williams