By Erika Brock
Typically, retiring professors no longer want to teach or are not involved with their careers, but that isn’t the case for professor Thomas Howald.
The former philosophy and religion professor retired last semester after 45 years, but could not see himself completely done with teaching.
“Retirement is an adjustment, and you have to go through it in stages,” Howald said.
He started these stages by cutting down from a full time position to a part time position where he teaches an earth science course in the science department. The course leaves him with a seven hour work week, teaching class twice a week and a lab once a week.
Although philosophy/religion and earth science are in separate departments, Howald has experience in both fields.
“Howald worked and taught geology in Montana and taught the earth science course at Franklin for at least 35 years,” said Steve Browder, head of the natural science department.
The earth science course is a requirement for both Ecology/Conservation and Environmental Science majors.
“No one else teaches the course,” Browder said. “It wouldn’t be offered anymore without (Howald).”
Howald is dedicated to teaching and said his interactions between students, colleagues and partners made this job an enjoyable experience.
“Professor Howald is an all-around good natured, nice and approachable professor. He makes it easy to talk to him outside of class,” junior Sam Otley said, who took Principles of Ethics with Howald last spring.
Countless numbers of students have had Howald as a professor. He impacted each of their lives in one way or another.
Junior Taylor Waclawik took both Earth Science and Living Religions East his freshman and sophomore years with Howald,
“The man is a walking encyclopedia,” Waclawik said. “The man knows a little bit about a lot and a lot about everything.”
Waclawik attributes his change in religion to Howald because of Howald’s teaching style in the Living Religion East course.
“He has a stern but good teaching style, which helps keep students involved, especially students like me,” Waclawik said.
Howald decided to take up Spanish in the time he had once been busy teaching, something he has always wanted to learn. When he isn’t learning a foreign language, he enjoys kayaking.
“It’s too soon to tell” if Howald will like being a part time or a full time teacher better, he said. As for now, he will continue to be dedicated to teaching and learning.