Lynda Sowbel

What brought you to Hood College?

I was a psychiatric social worker in Frederick for over 25 years and a Field Instructor at Way Station, Inc. for 16 years and I was asked to guest lecture, then asked to adjunct a practice class and then one of the full time faculty left and I was asked to be a visiting professor. Because I was my own boss, in private practice, I could flex my schedule to do this and thought it would be a good way to see if I wanted to teach full time. I liked it and the students liked me, but could not apply initially for the full time positions as I didn’t have the required Ph.D. After doing a national search and having some professors come on campus, the students went to the president and provost and asked that I stay on. The program director, and the chair of the department decided they preferred me. The position was changed to Ph.D. preferred and the following year I started a Ph.D. program.

What do you value most about your relationship with students?

The mentorship, watching them grow in the field from a student to a young professional, I learn a lot about them and myself in the process and learn a lot about changes in technology and new ” best practices”.

Why is teaching your dream job?

It is a chance to do macro work and affect the profession on a broader scale through teaching, research and community service although I continue to have a small practice to continue my work too.

If you were to consider another career, what would you consider and why?

I’m not sure, but I enjoyed running an international program in Ireland where I had students work for a month. Irish social services are quite different than ours, so perhaps I would like to do something internationally oriented.

Describe your approach to teaching:

I like to teach from a multi-modal approach, lecture, video and most importantly experiential because I believe everyone learns best and develops confidence by doing.

What is/are your most memorable moment/s at Hood?

We used to have a senior prank day where students left us a last will and testament and left various props in our office which was quite fun, my trips to Ireland with students have been very rewarding in making cultural humility model of diversity an experiential reality for students, being elected to a commission on Field for Council on Social Work Education, and all the successes of my students at the end of the year.

Describe your academic interests and research:

I research field education, gate keeping, personality predictors of success in the field, aging infusion in the curriculum, postmodern approaches to teaching about diversity and intersectionality, and current models of field education and whether they need to be modified.

When you aren’t working, what are you doing in your spare time?

I bike, do Zumba, spend time with my family, read, attend lectures, and travel.

Name three books that you would recommend everyone read:

1) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Anne Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer
2) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbsra Kingsolver
3) Blue Shoe by Anne Lamott

I also like Freakonomics, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone, and “Franny and Zooey” by J.D. Salinger.
…Oh, so hard to choose!