encourages faculty creativity. There is an overall commitment
revealed their beauty to Heywood Sobel when he was a child. “In
the second or third grade,” he remembers, “I had a star
chart. And one day I realized that the tiny thing on the chart
called ‘the Big Dipper’ was actually a huge constellation.
So I made the connection.” And his connection with the stars
has remained constant.
now a department manager testing radar systems for Hughes Aerospace.
“Radar is electro-magnetic radiation,” he explains,
“and so is the light we get from the stars.” He taught
full-time at SMC before being lured away by attractive salaries
offered in defense industries. But teaching still calls to him.
“I love to teach. And I try to bring my enthusiasm to my
students. I always tell them, in our first class together, how
much I enjoy the stars and that I hope they’ll enjoy them
In the pursuit
of making the stars fun, Heywood says, “I don’t hesitate
to embarrass myself by acting things out. At 7 a.m. this morning,”
he says, “we were leaping up and down, doing the ‘wave’
to demonstrate wave phenomenon.”
has given him a position that he refers to as “the exalted
rank of department manager,” Heywood is still drawn to the
“stars” he encounters in his classrooms. “I had
one student,” he says, “who—years later—paid
me the ultimate compliment. ‘Heywood,’ she said, ‘you
really taught me how to think.’ Things like those are the
reasons I teach.”