Nathan W. Saunders
Teaching Area(s): Exercise Science
Title: Assistant Professor of Exercise Science
Courses Taught: Exercise Physiology, Human Movement, Strength and Conditioning and Senior Applied Thesis
Desire to Learn
With very little formal education in my youth, I approached higher education with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Teaching in higher education is a career path requiring one to be a life-long learner. It’s exciting to teach what we already know to our students while also keeping up with the latest and greatest in our respective fields.
Not Just Memorization
My aim in every class is to divert attention from memorization-based content to applying knowledge appropriately. This philosophy is based on facts being easily accessible in almost any setting (think of how quickly you can find formulas, structures, definitions, etc. simply using your cell phone). I believe the real challenge in our technologically advanced age is interpreting and applying information correctly.
Research With Students
I only do research which facilitates student involvement. My research assistants usually work with me throughout their 4 years of undergraduate study. As they gain more experience I give them more responsibility and independence. By the time they graduate most have developed a professional portfolio which makes them easily marketable in the workplace or graduate school.
I’m a big fan of the MAAC. It is a special opportunity to have my office, classrooms, laboratories and exercise facilities under the same roof. It allows me to get students away from their desks and into a stimulating environment.
Value of a Liberal Arts Education
We’ve become a society obsessed with specialization. We want to hire the person who is really experienced at one thing, rather than the person who is pretty good at a lot of things. Highly specialized training can be of value, but it is equally important to employ individuals who have a broader knowledge of the world around them. A liberal arts education helps students make connections between their specific passions and seemingly unrelated topics. For example, it was in a Political Science course where I was first introduced to the scientific method.
Piece of Advice
Find the person you think you might want to be. Spend time with them and ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to change your mind if you find that job or career isn’t for you.
Ph.D., The Ohio State University
M.S., The Ohio State University
B.S., University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
A.S., Santa Monica College
The intimate relationships between students and faculty are really special at Mount Union, and for a relatively small university, the laboratories across campus are very well equipped.
- If you could teach one class outside of your discipline, what would it be?
- What is your favorite movie?
- The Shawshank Redemption
- What is one thing that most people would be surprised to find out about you?
- I could have starred in Blades of Glory
- What is the most surprising thing you've learned from a student?
- The real lyrics to a song I've been singing wrong for years!
- What is your favorite quote or motto?
- Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond