The Michigan Alumnus 14
"I have a horror of boring the bet ter students, so I have a tendency to cover a lot of material fast. This has the following effect: the better one-quarter of my students like my lectures, the middle half complain about my speed but admit they don’t have time to get bored, and the lower one-quarter wish I would drop dead."
So says William R. Anderson, as sistant professor of botany. He's very candid in his assessment of Michigan students: "The graduate students in botany are generally excellent. Undergraduates are, as ever, mixed. Some are first-rate, some should not ever have been admitted, and others vary between those extremes."
Anderson sees himself as a bo tanical research scientist first and a teacher second, but finds that his research suffers when he is in a non-teaching environment. As a result, he chose teaching in order to be a better researcher.
"I had an all-research job at a major museum, but I felt my mind was going stale, so I came back to the University in the hope that my own flame would burn brighter here. I have thereby suffered a tremendous loss of time for research, but I feel that the research I am doing and will do in the future will be of a higher quality."
"The aspect of teaching that is most gratifying to me," Anderson says, "is explaining a difficult concept to a single student and seeing the light suddenly dawn." The thing that gives him the least pleas ure is sitting in meetings. "They seem to be a way of life for some academicians; for me they are slow death."
Anderson reads while he walks to and from work. This, he says, "seems to infuriate some drivers, probably ones who already feel guilty about riding instead of walk ing and can't stand the sight of a slob who is not only walking, but enjoying it."
His hobbies are backyard gar dening and "lying on the sofa read ing, drinking beer, listening to re cords and taking naps. When they invent a sofa from which one can garden, my happiness will be com plete."
The 35-year-old Anderson is married and the father of two chil dren.