Everyday People: Mark Moller
Interviewed by Rose Schrott '14
In August, the new dean of first-year students, Mark Moller, welcomed a new class to Denison. He took a little time between overseeing programs like June Orientation and August Orientation, and helping students who might be struggling with their transition to life at Denison, to tell us a bit about himself. (Turns out, he’s a little nervous about his first year, too.)
My own first year, at Bucknell, was difficult for me. I struggled academically and socially. By the end of that year I was in danger of failing out, and I considered not returning. Everything began to change my sophomore year when I became more involved, made a number of strong friendships, and found my direction academically. Because of my own experience, I’m more understanding and patient when I work with students who are struggling. I also am unwilling to give up on a student because he or she is not doing well academically. My own academic trajectory changed when a faculty member took an interest in me and had confidence in my success.
Like first-year students, I am nervous about my own “first year” as dean. Also, like them, I am trying to get used to a new “living space” in Higley after having spent my previous 16 years in Knapp. And, like them, I expect to have many new experiences that will challenge me and help me learn more about myself.
I like to watch cartoons on TV. I am a huge fan of the Avatar and the Ben 10 series.
As a philosophy professor, I teach and do research on ethics. This is an area of philosophy that seeks answers to such questions as “How ought I to act?,” “What kind of person should I be?,” and “What makes an act or a person moral?” It’s the second of these questions that most influences my work with first-year students. I see it as the question they need to be asking themselves.
I have always been a big fan of Winnie-the-Pooh, and my children grew up listening to A.A. Milne’s stories about him and watching the classic Disney Pooh Bear videos. So, if I were stuck on an island, I would want The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh with me. I would want a book that would make me happy every time I reread it.
Homesickness will eventually pass.
This is a dream job. I really mean it. But, if I couldn’t do what I am doing now, I would want to be a fly-fishing guide in Montana. Although, given how bad I am at fly-fishing, this is as far-fetched as my playing first base for the St. Louis Cardinals (which also wouldn’t be that bad).