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Class Acts

Get to know these faculty members outside of the classroom. Each outstanding educator represents one of the four sectors of the college — communications, humanities, performing arts and social sciences.

Bernard Duffy

Bernard Duffy / Communication Studies Department

Specialty Area: Rhetoric and Public Address / Years at Cal Poly: 26

Why did you choose to work at Cal Poly? I was a tenured professor at Clemson in South Carolina, where we had lived for nine years. I wanted to get back to California, where I had family.

What is your guilty pleasure? Every spring I find more Japanese maples to buy. There are more than 200 cultivars. I have planted, in the ground or in pots, about 20 different types of Japanese maples and about 50 in total.


Terry Spiller

W. Terrence (Terry) Spiller / Music Department

Specialty Area: Piano / Years at Cal Poly: 23

Why did you choose to work at Cal Poly? I was offered the job just as I was finishing my doctoral work at the University of Southern California (USC). I was thrilled to be able to start working right away in one of the most beautiful parts of California.

What is a fact about you that few know? I started college as a fisheries major at the University of Washington.


Robert Inchausti

Robert (Larry) Inchausti / English Department

Specialty Area: Literary Theory and the History of Ideas / Years at Cal Poly: 30

Why did you choose to work at Cal Poly? I wanted to get back to California. When Cal Poly offered me a tenure-track position teaching English to undergraduates, it felt like coming home. To be honest, it felt like winning the lottery.

Are there any scholars or individuals who have inspired you? Way too many to list! Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman, of course. I am particularly drawn to working-class thinkers who shake up the world — people like James Baldwin, Dorothy Day, Vaclav Havel, Jack Kerouac and Pablo Neruda.


Dawn Neill

Dawn Neill / Social Sciences Department

Specialty Area: Anthropology / Years at Cal Poly: 6

Why did you choose to work at Cal Poly? Primarily, I was drawn to the interdisciplinary nature of the Social Sciences Department. Additionally, the position I applied for at Cal Poly was specifically oriented to my areas of expertise — nutritional and evolutionary anthropology.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could bring one book, what would it be? Since I do fieldwork on the tropical island of Fiji, often outside the range of Internet access, I ask myself this question frequently. If I had to choose only one book, it would be “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut.


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