The Communiqu takes a close look at Kirkwood staff
Published: Thursday, April 6, 2006
Updated: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 17:07
Shirlee Dietrichby Marcus Burken
There is more to Shirlee Dietrich than just being the coordinator of clubs, organizations and programming at Kirkwood Communtity College, she has also lived an interesting life.
Dietrich has been employed at Kirkwood for 30 years since she began working as a secretary in the English Department in 1979. A few years later,
Dietrich found a job working with Student Life at Kirkwood and has been there ever since.
Dietrich said her very first job was at Andy's Drive Inn in Cedar Falls.
"We had to wear roller skates," Dietrich said. "I dropped the tray of food to the second car that pulled in. I never received my first paycheck because I had to pay for the food."
She continued to work at Andy's Drive Inn until she graduated from Humbolt High School in 1965 and then packed her bags headed for Tulsa, Okla. While isnTulsa, Dietrich not only worked for the Sun Oil DX Company, she also learned how to barrel race and slalom ski. Dietrich returned to Iowa and attended Kirkwood as a student where she majored in marketing. She graduated from Kirkwood in 1984 after taking classes as a part-time student for 10 years while working at Kirkwood.
Graduating from Kirkwood is one accomplishment in Dietrich's life that she is most proud of but also said it's rewarding watching her three children,who she raised on her own, succeed in life.
"All of my kids have taken classes at Kirkwood," she said. "It's been nice watching them grow up and become successful."
If Dietrich is not in her office at Student Life in Iowa Hall, she might be out enjoying some of her hobbies which include fishing, restoring old dolls or just soaking up some waves on her boat on the Mississippi River.
Dietrich's life is still not fulfilled, she said, she still has places to go and things she would like to accomplish. Someday she would even like to own her own campground.
Visiting Ireland is also on the list of things Dietrich would like to do and places she would like to visit. Dietrich said it is where her mother's family grew up and it would be really special for her.
by Dawn Sperfslage
Taking two subways and two buses one-way to work twice a week used to be a way of life. Now driving 23 minutes to work is Lydia Hartunian's daily commute.
For 13 years Hartunian called New York City home. She taught philosophy for nine of those years at Queens College in Queens, New York. Two days a week she would get up at 5:30 a.m. and got home at 10:30 p.m., spending 1 1/2 hours traveling from one college to the next. Her morning started at Rutgers in New Jersey, then to Queens and finished in the Bronx.
Hartunian found part-time jobs in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx to keep her busy during semesters. She taught at the School of Visual Art, Audrey Cohen and Lehman. Audrey Cohen and Lehman were made up of mainly African American and Spanish cultures, something completely different to an Iowa native.
New York also offered her an opportunity to complete her Ph. D in Philosophy of Mind at the CUNY Graduate Center. After completing four years of classes and three years of exams, she said she wanted to write her dissertation.
So she moved home and landed a full-time job at Kirkwood Community College. "Finding a full-time job anywhere in philosophy is very rare so I took it," Hartunian said. She said she had forgotten how life was back in Iowa. She forgot that people actually drove trucks. While in NYC she took public transportation or walked everywhere she went. While back in Iowa Hartunian said she also met her husband and decided to stay.
"The quality of life goes up in Iowa, I now can come home after work and be with my husband, John, and my cats and do whatever I want," stated Hartunian, who lives in Iowa City.
Currently, Hartunian is teaching five classes at Kirkwood. When she talks to her friends from New York she said they are alarmed she is able to teach so many classes because they are at universities teaching only three classes but spend more time writing. "I traded class time with freedom," Hartunian said. She likes having time with students at a community college, instead of writing for a university.
by Kim Swenson Gollnick
He once drove a school bus in southern Iowa and tended bar at a ski resort in Wisconsin. Now he enjoys splitting wood, making pita bread from scratch and taking long walks with his wife Diane - that is, when he's not teaching or helping students at Kirkwood.
"I like helping others who want help," English professor Paul Hauser said.
Hauser accepted a position at Kirkwood 22 years ago after earning his bachelor's, masters and doctorate degrees in English education at the University of Iowa. Over the years he has seen changes in education, namely technological advances.
Another change he's observed is teachers' salaries. Hauser said legislators "haven't been willing to put their money where their mouth is. That's what it comes down to really. And that's frustrating."
When asked why he was in teaching, Hauser answered, "I like to think I can make a positive difference ... that's what's kept me going."
While working on his dissertation and looking for employment, Hauser moved his family to Wisconsin for a year. There he finished his dissertation while tending bar at a ski resort. An invitation to apply at Kirkwood brought him back to Iowa.
During his tenure at Kirkwood, Hauser said he has taught courses in rhetoric, creative writing and elements of writing. He's currently teaching Composition I online, in addition to a college writing course and two sections of children's literature face-to-face in the classroom. He also helps students in the Kirkwood Writing Center.