Dr. Claire Keith has been teaching at Marist since 1993 and has taught French Language & Culture courses and Global Studies courses.
Where are you originally from?
I was born to a French father and a Danish mother. I grew up in Versailles, France, and spent my summers in Copenhagen, Denmark.
How did you end up teaching at Marist?
I applied! I had moved to the U.S. following my marriage to an American musician. I completed my doctorate in the States while my children were little and applied to Marist when the French Department was hiring. Marist was in the right location and had the great asset of the Lowell Thomas archives, which I was working on at the time.
How many languages do you speak?
I speak French and English fluently. My Danish is a little rusty while my German and Russian speaking skills are rather dormant since my high school years.
Why do you love teaching so much, especially at Marist?
In my 20 years of teaching experience, Marist has always had a unique quality in these often anxious times in academia. From the day I started teaching here, it has always been a school that was happily looking up and up, with an irrepressible optimism and can-do energy. There existed a covenant, for lack of a better word, between a president with a vision and a faculty and staff willing to pour all of their energy and time to make their institution grow. The college has grown beyond anything I could ever have imagined in 1993. The college community is also, in my experience, a humane community that cares and looks out for colleagues. I think the students feel this, on the whole, and give it back to you in return. And perhaps I am particularly fond of any student who decides to take the time to learn someone else’s language.
You’re in charge of the Global Studies minor. Why should a student choose to have that minor?
Given the popularity of the minor, I think students already understand that global literacy is as indispensable today as technological literacy. Students also appreciate that the curricular structure is set up to work with just about any major on campus.
How do you make underclassmen feel comfortable in your classroom?
While academic rules and deadlines provide a beneficial framework in which to grow responsibly, I think that what most affects students is when you get a chance to set all rules and roles aside for a moment and talk plainly, human to human, about an issue that concerns them.
What is one of your favorite teaching moments?
More than I could ever single out. To me, the classroom is the one place where I can utterly forget anything else that may be happening in my life, good or bad.
Written by Adriana Belmonte '17
Photo by Sophia Brana '17
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Faculty
Academic School: Liberal Arts
Campus: New York