Sandra Rios retired from the English Department on December 2019 and has shared some experiences on her time here.
How was the university when you first started teaching?
When I started teaching at the unversity I love two facts about the department of English. First, some of my colleagues had also been colleagues of my father when he taught here, Dr. Robert Sherwin. Profs. Helga Berlingeri, Nidia Tiru, and Edwin Lamoli taught with my father Jose Rios Garau and were at the university for several years when I started. Second, some of the professor that had been my professors when I was a graduate student were now my colleagues. Dr. Tony Hunt, Eileen Blau and Edith Gutierrez were now fellow teachers. Obviously with time that has changed, they’ve retired and now I have followed in their footsteps
Tell me about something you did at UPRM that you really liked or are most proud of?
I think that I’m proud of everything I’ve done at the university. Teaching all levels of students from first year students to graduate students and worked in many different department and faculty committees.
What has changed most about the university in your time here?
I started teaching as a full-time professor in 1989. From 1989 to around 2012, the biggest change that directly affects the professor’s ability to teach is class size. As a professor that has always taught writing classes, 22-26 students was considered the optimal number of students. The teaching of writing requires individualized attention as well as time to evaluate and grade student’s writing homework assignments after class.
In the last several years the norm has been thirty to 30-33 students per classroom. Since professors are no longer allowed course reductions, most professors are teaching the equivalent in number of students to a fifth section.
Therefore, when I started teaching and for 20 years (more or less) class sizes were smaller and students got more individualized attention.
Do you any advice for our students and/or faculty?
To keep positive attitude towards your students, classmates, professors, and the university in general. Always give more than you take.