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The Boom Box professor

Dr. Louis Schmier, senior history professor, does not lecture, give tests, or give grades.
He has to give a final grade, however, so what Schmier does is start his students off with an A in his class, which they may or may not keep throughout the semester.
“They think no grades [means] easy, but I push them,” he says.
Dr. Schmier’s classes are not the typical, boring ones often imagined when students think of history.
“I don’t expect [students] to know people, places, and things, facts, and things like that,” Schmier says. “This is a first-year class. They can get most of that off of the Web. What is important is their confidence, their belief in themselves, their courage to take risks, to make decisions. That’s where autonomy comes in.”
Schmier believes that autonomy, personal independence, is one of the most important things that students must develop.
“They have to have a sense of purpose,” he says. “They have to be connected with each. They have to come to believe in their ability, their talents, their potential.”
Schmier also believes that it is the professors’ job to help students develop these personality traits.
“I think that once we accept them into this school, we have to embrace them, and we have to engage them, and teaching is more than information transmission,” he says. “It’s the development of a good person.”
To Schmier, “education is not only to help [students] earn a good living, but to help them live the good life, so they need not only the traditional information bank, not only the critical thinking skills, but they need personal and social communication skills, which we [professors] generally don’t give them,” he says.
Schmier has been teaching at VSU for the last 42 years.
“By all rights, I should have retired years ago, but then I can’t figure out to what,” he jokes.
His teaching style does not fit the norm, but Schmier’s is one that he says he has been developing over the course of his career through “research, being involved with the students, and reading their journals so I know what’s going on inside of them and outside the classroom.”
“There’s always a method to my madness and a madness to my method,” he says. “And I make sure that while I may get older, I never get old. I think the key is I love being in the classroom. I love interacting with the students. I am fortunate that I love what I’m doing and I’m doing what I love. It gives me purpose, meaning, fulfillment, [and] satisfication.”
In addition to teaching history, Schmier also has a blog filled with “Random Thoughts.” His blog, The Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier, can be found online at www.therandomthoughts.edublogs.org.
Schmier himself is often spotted walking to class, carrying his boom box, and bringing smiles to the faces of the students he passes as he crosses the mall between Ashley Hall and West Hall.

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