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CMC’s Buesch named Aspen’s top professor

ASPEN – By all accounts, humanities professor Tom Buesch was a slam-dunk for 2011 faculty of the year for Colorado Mountain College’s Aspen campus.

“Not a week goes by, and I have had somebody stop by to gush about a class that he or she is taking with Tom,” CMC Instructional Chairwoman Margaret Maxwell wrote in her letter nominating Buesch for the honor. “The comments are actually getting kind of cliche at this point, which is funny, but cliches exist because they are true.”

Among the comments collected from students – and there are hundreds and hundreds to choose from, Maxwell said – is an underlying theme: Buesch’s classes are downright fun.

“His sense of humor is extraordinary, his all-around knowledge most unusual,” one student wrote.

“As a student I am inspired by his knowledge and humor – a fantastic teacher,” another added.

Sit in on his Introduction to Philosophy class, and it’s clear why Buesch’s students find him so engaging. The 69-year-old professor is personable, greeting every student by name and greeting many with an inside joke. His lectures – even when dealing with heady subjects such as philosophy – are delivered lightly. And his commitment to the liberal arts, of which he is a “huge fan,” is unwavering.

“That’s really another way to say the humanities,” said Buesch, a longtime Aspen resident who began teaching at CMC in 1991. “I really like teaching at CMC because it’s a college that has maintained that tradition.”

As important to Buesch being named faculty of the year, though, was his broad reach.

This semester, Buesch – who holds a master’s and a doctorate in German language and literature from Northwestern University – is teaching four classes for CMC, including Introduction to Philosophy, World Literature to 1600, Development of Film Expression and Greek Mythology and Classic Art.

The latter is part of the Aspen Senior Center’s “Second Thursdays” program, where CMC professors lead classes once a month on a variety of topics. It is a perfect example of how Buesch touches the entire community – not just the college community, Maxwell said.

“He’s had his hand in pretty much every pot possible,” she said, pointing out the range of classes he teaches for CMC as well as his work with the senior center, the Aspen Music Festival and others. “He is just a bright star for us in terms of his community outreach.”

jmcgovern@aspentimes.com


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