By Chris Casey | University Communications
DENVER — PeterMax Miller, an instructor of marketing, has a winning style with students. You can tell by the way their faces light up when they see him, the way they greet him with a fist pump.
So it makes perfect sense that the Office of Student Life kicked off its new series of faculty-student socials, called "Faculty Upside Down," with Miller on Feb. 26. The sessions are meant to be a casual way for CU Denver students and faculty to connect outside the classroom.
Over free coffee and doughnuts in the North Classroom Atrium, Miller chatted with numerous students about whatever was on their minds—school, jobs, interests.
"This has been great," Miller said. "I've met a few students from other majors that I wouldn't ordinarily see in the Business School."
Miller, who is also an internship advisor in the Business School, considers it a privilege to discuss education goals and career aspirations with students. "It's just nice to be a mentor," he said. "I always learn from them as well. I truly enjoy it."
Avery Schellens, assistant director of Student Life, said students mentioned in the National Survey of Student Engagement that they'd like more informal interaction with faculty members.
"We're providing that outlet, along with the coffee and doughnuts," Schellens said. "Then we just step back and let these conversations go where they go."
While many students who attend the "Faculty Upside Down" sessions will already know the featured faculty member, others will be meeting him or her for the first time. "So they'll get some inside knowledge" into an area of study they may want to pursue, Schellens said.
The sessions are being held about once a month for now, but may meet more frequently depending on student response, she said.
Upcoming "Faculty Upside Downs," all in the North Classroom Atrium:
- Jeff Franklin, English, 9 a.m. Thursday, March 13
- Storm Gloor, Music and Entertainment Studies, 11 a.m., Thursday, April 17
- Rebecca Hunt, History, 9 a.m., Monday, April 28.
Schellens said the Office of Student Life is taking recommendations for faculty to schedule for future "Upside Downs." You can contact her at Avery.Schellens@ucdenver.edu or 303-556-5888.
(Photo: Marketing instructor PeterMax Miller, left, chats with students during a "Faculty Upside Down" chat on Feb. 26 in the North Classroom Atrium.)