Photo of Richard Harms as a young man and father with his daughter (left), and more recently with his wife (right).
Richard Harms with his daughter Blair, then and now.

A lifetime of teaching

I was a recent grad (Class of 1969) and young father when I was given a two-year teaching assistantship at Cal. I loved every minute with the students and professors and eventually received a Ph.D. in geography, with a dissertation on glacial landforms. I had a spectacular mentor and dissertation chairman in Dr. Ted Oberlander, and some wonderful geology, meteorology, and other physical science teachers, from whom I learned and for whom I TA’d.

Mid-career, I went back to grad school at the University of Oregon and received an M.S. in education (1992), focusing on adult learning. My intent was to be the best teacher of adults that I could be, and there was so much brain research and new information on how adults learn. I think this is what I am most proud of — striving to be the best educator I could be, seeking to fill in those gaps for what I don’t know, and trying to be a mentor to colleagues and students. It all started at Cal, and I am forever grateful!

In these photos, I’m pictured with my oldest daughter, Blair, while I was at Cal (left) and 50 years later during a family hiking trip (right). Blair was born in the same hospital I was born in when my dad was a zoology major at Cal as a WWII vet. As you can see, the Golden Bear in me goes way back!

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