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Finding Your Passion: A Discussion with English Professor William Lennertz

Professor LennertzRecently, SCC student Solomon Jones sat down with Professor William Lennertz, Professor of English, to learn more about his path to SCC, his thoughts on education and his motivation for teaching.

Professor Lennertz comes from a family of teachers – his mother and a number of other family members also teach. Professor Lennertz grew up in Huntington Beach and went to college at Cal State Long Beach, where he was taught by people who were talented, idealistic and hard working. He credits both his family members who teach and his former teachers as his role models in deciding to become a college professor.

Professor Lennertz’s path to becoming a successful English professor was far from usual. In college he was a math major who saw himself in a career working on math and engineering problems in a university lab. However, during grad school he paid the bills by being a teaching assistant, and found that he really enjoyed helping undergraduates succeed within the classroom. He also decided that he could make the biggest difference in students’ lives by teaching English.

In his approach to teaching, Professor Lennertz focuses not only on providing his students with information, but also on mentoring. He sees a student as a complete individual and determines how he can best provide that student with the tools for his or her academic success.

“My goal is to help the student understand what he or she needs to get out of this class. The rest will take care of itself.”

Professor Lennertz started working at SCC in 1996, when the college was still known as the Orange Campus of Santa Ana College. There are many reasons he decided to stay. In the beginning, the campus was small, and professors and staff all knew on another. The camaraderie everyone shared helped create the sense of this being a real learning community. This was important, since the (then) remote location and its proximity to the Santa Ana Mountains made the campus something more akin to a wildlife preserve than a college campus, with fauna of all size making occasional appearances!

Although SCC has grown and the campus is much more developed now, Professor Lennertz still enjoys meeting new teachers and students, and has lost none of his excitement for teaching.

In his spare time, he enjoys painting, running with SCC English professor Rick Adams, and long walks on the beach with his wife.

What advice does Professor Lennertz have for SCC students? “Discover what you’re good at by the time you’re 24 and do that for the next 27 years.”

Solomon Jones, Santiago Canyon College Foundation Assistant

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