Cabrini Professors write books to educate students

By Paul Williams
April 4, 2002

photo by April Caldwell

Thomas Carlyle once wrote, “The true University of these days is a collection of books.” At Cabrini College there are teachers writing books for their students, in a hope to further the student’s education.

Dr. Jolyon Girard, professor of history and political science said, “Hard work and a lot of thought goes into writing a book like this. It’s like writing the longest mid-term paper ever.” Girard was approached by Randall Miller to write a book on American Foreign Policy. Greenwood Press published the book entitled, “America and the World,” which focuses on the foreign policy of the United States from George Washington to Ronald Regan. Girard said, “It was based on a dozen articles, which I wrote, that were published in journals and my doctoral dissertation. Years of teaching also helped me to gear the book towards students and their interests in America’s foreign policy.”

Anthony Contipodero, history club president said, “Reading his book is not like reading other text books. It’s easier to understand than other texts and is helpful for students trying to grasp difficult concepts.”

Harvey Lape, instructor of philosophy and Dr. Sharon Schwarze, professor and chair of philosophy, grew tired of teaching a course with books that did not have what they were looking for. The art of thinking was a course that the two felt needed a new book. They developed a text, published by Prentice Hall, titled, “Thinking Socratically: Critical Thinking about Everyday Issues” for the course, which is now called Critical thinking. “We began writing the book around 1980, we finished in the early 90s and had it first published in 1998,” Schwarze said.

Lape said, “We divided up the writing process. I would write one chapter, and she would write another. Then we would critique each other’s chapters and make the necessary changes.”

“We wanted to develop a text that students would like to read, one of the ways we did this, is that we have a Sherlock Holmes story without the ending printed in the book. The student then has to think of what conclusion Holmes was able to derive,” Schwarze said.

Lape said, “One of the hardest parts about getting a book published is when you have to sell your book to a publisher. You actually have to give them a chapter of the book, and they decide if it is worth their time.”

“After receiving approval with reviews and comments we edited it several times,” Schwarze said. The final product turned out differently than the spiral bound edition located in Schwarze’s office, which the two had finished in 1986.

After the book was published, Lape and Schwarze received comments and constructive criticism from colleagues and book reviewers. Then, in 2000, a second edition of the book was printed, adding extra sections based on the comments they received. Lape and Schwarze have started work on another philosophy text that will delve into the subject of ethics.

The chair of the history and political science departments, Dr. James Hedtke, will soon have his book, “Lame Duck Presidents-Myth or Reality” published by The Edwin Mellen press. “When I first tried approaching publishers, I was actually approaching the wrong ones. I would approach the textbook publishers, instead of university publishers.” For teachers looking to publish books, it is easier to approach a university press, instead of company owned publishers. Hedtke said, “The book comes from a lot of years of work. It started with my dissertation and has been edited by many people.” His book is original, in that a person will be hard pressed to find any book specifically about lame duck presidents.

Dr. Cynthia Halpern, chair of the romance language department, has published one book called, “The Political Theater of Early 17th Century Spain, with special reference to Juan Ruiz de Alarcon.” Peter Lang published the book as part of the Iberica series.

These teachers and many others at Cabrini have published books or are in the process of writing and having their works published in order to give students another educational tool.

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Paul Williams

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