Bittersweet emotion is evident in the speech and face of Professor Sarah Leventer as she recounts her experience here at Wheaton thus far.
“Of course I want to stay here! I’ve loved being here. I’m happy to have this year and next year to continue teaching and working with everybody here who has been so wonderful,” Leventer said.
Her three-year contract at Wheaton is set to expire next year, bringing her short time as a Film and New Media Studies professor to an end. Initially, she found Wheaton just one year after graduating with her Ph.D. from Boston University.
Leventer explained, “I was on the job hunt. I got really, really, lucky when I found Wheaton. I think what drew me here were two big things. Wheaton felt like a place that had a liberal arts spine to its curriculum, but that was also thinking about what 21st century students’ needs and what their goals are. The other thing was actually Wheaton’s history as a women’s college. That was something that I’m really interested in because it seems to me that Wheaton was the kind of place that stayed rooted, yet has a commitment to diversity, different kinds of students and serving them.”
At Wheaton, Leventer has had many opportunities to grow as both a teacher and a person. She cites her peers and students as being those who inspired her.
“The kind of community that Wheaton is, means that I have people that care enough and are willing to give me feedback and talk to me and help me be a better teacher. I’ll also miss having students over multiple semesters. Getting to continue conversations with them across classes has been really cool,” Leventer said.
As for her plans after Wheaton, Leventer is still unsure, but states: “I’ll probably be looking for something that is a lot like this.” Currently, she is working on her first book, which could play a huge role in her future plans and career. The work covers many topics, but in essence analyzes how race, power and representation move throughout the southern half of the globe. It also ties in the connection with film and queer identity.
Leventer said what she will miss the most about Wheaton is the people. “Wheaton is a really close-knit, small place and this is the first time for me in my professional career that I’ve worked at a small school, and it’s really wonderful. It’s been a really great place.”