For Joe Paris, professor of Computer Science and President elect of the faculty, teaching wasn’t a profession he was born into. While he was finishing his Bachelor’s at Western Oregon University he learned that the Computer Science department was looking for someone to teach office applications courses. In need of some supplemental income he took the position. “At the time teaching wasn’t even on my radar, I suppose you could say I sort of fell into it,” he said.
He has been teaching ever since, and has been an instructor here at LB for the last eight years. He was the treasurer for the faculty and is now the President elect representing the faculty. He is well liked by the faculty, clearly given his recent election to President, and is respected by his students.
When asked how they felt about him, one student in his “Programming in C” class, Azahra Keith responded, “I like him, he spends time helping me out of the classroom. When I get behind I know I can go to his office where he will help me out.” Other students in the class smiled and nodded in agreement.
He is also well rated on, the known to be brutal website, Rate My Professor. Students there said of him, “Joe Paris is an excellent teacher. He expects a lot from his students” and “I found Mr. Paris was very knowledgeable and helpful. I found his expectations were high and he pushed his students. I felt he was a great instructor and I learned a lot and would recommend him to others.”Given the kind of vitriol that normally populates anonymous ratings sites it speaks to the kind of instructor that Joe is that the vast majority of his ratings, going back to 2005, are positive. A good instructor isn’t an easy instructor. While Joe might not be the easiest instructor, he is a good instructor because he will push you to meet your potential instead of dumbing it down to padden your GPA.
When asked what motivated him to teach, he said that as an instructor he is motivated by helping engaged students explore a topic they are interested in and helping them to have those “ah-ha” moments when a new, difficult topic clicks for the first time. “Seeing that sudden look of understanding on a student’s face is very, very rewarding,” he said.
While Joe has a passion for computer science, he doesn’t feel,like some, that everyone needs to learn how to code a computer. He feels that, “Computer literacy, is absolutely crucial to success in the world today.Preventing the loss of your important data, keeping yourself safe in an increasingly hostile digital world, and evaluating the information you find online are vital skills. Computer literacy is just as important to life today as reading, writing, and arithmetic.”
So while it might not be for everyone he did say that “Programming is really about creativity and creation. Taking a computer – an inert pile of metal, plastic, and silicon – and bending it to your will. You’ve taken this machine, which is secretly scary to many of us, and made it do your bidding. That can be a real rush!”
Beyond just teaching Joe has taken an active role in campus politics first as treasurer and now as president elect. Dodi Coreson said of him, “The students love him, he is very caring and takes a lot of time in his office to worth with the students. I supported his bid for president, he is a really nice guy.“
When asked about why he decided to run for campus office he said, “Taking on a leadership role at the college was not a decision I made lightly. As President of the Faculty Association I’m looking forward to working with the college administration, classified personnel and students to help shape the college’s future and guide its direction.”
Joe Paris is more than your average professor, he is a man who is on a mission to make life better for students and faculty. When students or faculty are having a problem they should know that Joe is the kind of person who will stop and listen to them.
For those former students of Joe you should know that he said of you, “It’s also always thrilling to hear from students who have graduated and are working in the field who contact me to let me know how they are doing or to tell me how what I taught them helped them in their current position.“ So if Joe made a positive impact on your life, reach out and let him know.
At a Glance
Fireside Chat with Obama talking about Computer Coding for High schoolers