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November 12, 2020

Faculty Spotlight: Adam Huck, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Education | Director of Initial Certification Graduate Programs

What brought you to Roberts?

I have wanted to work in education for about twenty years. Prior to Roberts, I taught at Rush-Henrietta Central School District and was an adjunct instructor at University of Buffalo and Buffalo State. When I had the opportunity to begin searching for positions, I noticed an opening at Roberts. I grew up a few miles from campus, so I was already familiar with the mission of the College, as well as the campus. At that time, I was also looking for opportunities to engage in more opportunities to deepen my faith. Previously, I worked with Dr. Denise Johnson and she encouraged me to apply, too. This is my second year teaching at Roberts.

When did you start becoming interested in teaching?

When I was in high school, I swam (slowly) for my high school swim team. Many of my teammates would stay after practice on Fridays to teach swim lessons for the town swim program. I wanted a job and was only 15, so my employment options were limited. I decided to teach swim lessons and really enjoyed working with the children. I remember being asked to teach a student who had some special needs and bonding with him as he grew as a swimmer. From that truly rewarding experience, I decided that I wanted to teach as a career. Later, when I attended Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania for my undergraduate work, I discovered that I enjoyed the college experience with its focus on continuous learning. This caused me to revise my goal to teach in higher education.

How do you serve your community (outside of Roberts)?

I serve as a Cub Scout den leader in my son’s Cub Scout pack. I am in my fourth year in this role and enjoy the many activities that support the boys’ growth and development. Recently, my son and I walked through our house so that I could teach him about how to make small repairs and take care of a home. This was for one of his required adventures and I discovered that chores for me were fascinating to him!

Also, I served on the Board of Administrators for the Ready, Set, Grow! Preschool at the Brockport Free Methodist Church for about four years. I am now in my second year as the Chair of the Board and find it rewarding to help provide a faith-based early childhood experience. This past year has been a significant challenge for the preschool and we have had to make some difficult decisions. However, we always seek guidance from God and do our best to keep our students at the forefront of our minds when making those decisions.

Share any thoughts about teaching during a pandemic …

What’s working...
I am becoming more comfortable in the structure of my courses and the progression of my lessons in the virtual classroom. I have been able to find and use various technology tools to enhance my teaching by substituting some of the practices I would use in the physical classroom.

How students are adapting...
Our students want to learn and they have told me that they appreciate when professors are willing to try new tools to support students’ engagement with content. I think students recognize that there is a steep learning curve for everyone right now, but they want to leave Roberts knowing how to effectively teach and adapt in any situation. So, I see our students willing to try new approaches in order to remain current with the instructional technology that will support their future students. I am supervising undergraduate and graduate students as they teach in the public schools and it is amazing to see our students adapt to the current structure of schools while maintaining a focus on quality instruction for their students.

Academic Work

My research interest is in elementary social studies because it is the content area that is most often ignored or neglected in schools. However, it is critical for our students to understand how to participate in civic life rather than avoiding difficult conversations. An article I wrote was published this summer in Social Studies Research & Practice. In this article, I discuss that while districts are looking to adopt programs that standardize instruction, areas that lack a formal program still place social studies at the bottom of the content area hierarchy and this is communicated through the discourse of various stakeholders.

I recently had an article published in Excelsior. This article describes a study of teacher candidates in a methods course as they work in a school with open classrooms. Teacher candidates voiced concerns for students’ physical and emotional safety in this setting. As teacher educators, we must consider the role of our students’ lived experiences on their views of teachers and teaching.

What is your favorite thing about teaching?

As teachers, we want to impact students beyond the classroom. So, my favorite part of teaching is when former students share with me how they have used what they learned in my course in the classroom or in a different setting. That makes the investment in teaching feel very rewarding.

Spiritual Formation

Share about a student growing in their faith or you growing your faith highlight from your time at Roberts?

One of the reasons that I was excited to come to Roberts was that I knew it would be an opportunity to deepen my faith. I was not sure how that would occur, but I knew the mission of the College would provide me with many opportunities to learn about Christ and how I could serve Him in my life. During my first year at Roberts, I enjoyed attending Chapel services and listening to the many great speakers and perspectives related to various topics of faith. However, I always find it fascinating to learn from our students about how their faith impacts their lives and their understanding of course content. I have learned a great deal about my faith by seeing how they apply scripture to their views of teaching and their role as the teachers. One of the messages we teach our teacher candidates is that they should learn from their students - learning is a two-way street.

What is an interest you have outside of teaching?

I am a big fan of the Los Angeles Rams, so I love to watch them any time that they are on television, as well as reading current updates and their history. While I have seen them play in Buffalo, I hope to take my family to see them live in Los Angeles someday. Also, I have always loved baseball, so I enjoy going to Red Wings games as well as seeing different minor league baseball teams when on vacation. In my down time, I enjoy reading about American history and exercising at the gym.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I really enjoy advising students at the undergraduate level and supporting students at the graduate level as program director. I want to be helpful to our students and help guide them to what they need. Every student’s situation and needs are different, so it is rewarding to help them towards meeting their goals. I valued the support I received from my academic advisors, so I want to be able to “pay it forward.”

What is your favorite quote or verse and why?

I like to plan and be prepared for new situations, so I have tended to worry about things that may or may not be in my control. So, I have found Philippians 4:6 (NIV) to be helpful: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." This verse has helped me feel calm and know that God will take care of the things that cause me to worry or feel anxious.

Student Insights:

Francesca Surace’21 (Master’s of Education in Childhood and Special Education)

Francesca Surace

"During my time at Roberts Wesleyan completing my masters, I have had the privilege to learn from Dr. Huck. Throughout our class time together he incorporated strategies, techniques and curriculum that can be carried into our future classrooms. Dr. Huck has continued to push me academically and personally to achieve my maximum potential, as a future educator."

Alyssa Kear’22 (Childhood and Special Education)

Alyssa Kear

"I had Dr. Huck in one of my early education courses, and will have him again as I progress through my major. His class helped give me a solid foundation for many other courses and taught me a lot of what I know regarding being a teacher in today's society. Dr. Huck always taught in a way that both provided us with relevant information and was taught using a strategy that we could use in our own classroom someday. His lessons were always engaging, fun, and applicable in the real world of education. He helped me to have a more inclusive and diverse mindset about teaching. Furthermore, Dr. Huck puts in an authentic and tangible effort to do all he can to see his students succeed. He cares deeply about his students and their futures as teachers. He clearly loves what he does, and does it well!"

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