After 32 years, anthropology Professor Ann Metcalf is retiring. Metcalf started at Mills after she substituted another professor’s class and fell in love with the College’s atmosphere and students. She applied for a teaching position here shortly thereafter and started teaching in 1984. One of the things that she appreciated most about working at Mills was the freedom within her discipline.
“In large institutions, you get pigeon-holed pretty quickly so you don’t get to [explore],” Metcalf said. “In the Mills environment, you can do that.”
Mills’ atmosphere, small classes and location appealed to Metcalf, but the best aspect were the students. Her favorite part of teaching is seeing what she calls the “ah-ha” moment, when students start to understand a concept after previous confusion.
Katy Schluntz knew after the first day in Metcalf’s class that it was the place for her. She eventually majored in anthropology and became a teacher’s assistant for Metcalf. Schluntz credits Metcalf with giving her the support she needed to graduate. She herself has witnessed Metcalf’s reaction to the “ah-ha” moment in the classroom.
“She’d get really giddy about it,” Schluntz said. “She really loves her students.”
Alía Hauwert (2015) was interested in exploring transracial adoption, so she majored in anthropology. One of the words she used to describe Metcalf was “seasoned,” as Metcalf encouraged Hauwert to get out of her comfort zone and showcase her accomplishments.
“With the research that Ann helped me with and learning how to own it, as an adoptee I was able to claim and grow,” Hauwert said. “I’ve been doing more speaking within public spaces.”
In her post-Mills life, Metcalf hopes to read more novels and finish projects that have sat unfinished for a while.