Giorgio Secondi, Instructor in Economics and History, came to Exeter from a tenured department chair position at Occidental College. He made the cross-country move to join a community where students and adults studied and lived alongside each other.
“It’s hard to know your students well at a college,” he says. “Here, people learn all the time. Living together in this place, the students are influenced by their peers and faculty. They mature faster, respect each other, and get excited by intellectual things."
“I’ve always thought of education as something that has to be a 24/7 process.”
As head of Webster Hall, one of the largest dorms on campus, Giorgio has ample opportunity to provide teaching moments around the clock. Each night at 10 p.m., whether he’s on duty or not, he opens the door to his apartment. The 59 boys in Webster know they have free rein to drop in for help with homework, personal problems or a listening ear.
“I want to be available to the students,” says Giorgio. “I make a point of having them in my apartment on a regular basis. I want them to have a sense of home here, to establish that culture within the dorm, and to try to get across appropriate values.”
The students’ questions and discussions drive him to become a better instructor.
"It's so much easier to teach the traditional way, but you can't map this all out: Harkness is unpredictable. You have to be willing to hand over ownership of the discussion to students."
“If I hadn’t come to Exeter, the main thing I would have missed is the intellectual stimulation that comes from Harkness. Intellectually and academically, there's nothing like it.”