UCC Mainstream Online

Getting to Know New Instructors

Lewis, Carroll finish their first term

Brent Lewis teaches several classes in the Learning Skills Department. Geology instructor Karen Carroll also began her educational journey at a community college.
Photos provided by Brent Lewis and Karen Carroll
Brent Lewis teaches several classes in the Learning Skills Department. Geology instructor Karen Carroll also began her educational journey at a community college.

If you were new to campus this fall, you are not the only one. While you were swimming through financial aid forms, working to make your term schedule fit together and finding your way through the bookstore for books, a host of new faculty also had to work through their own first-time on-campus challenges. Over 20 instructors began their first year as new hires. Two of these shared their first-time experiences in email interviews.

Brent Lewis, with Learning Skills Department, now teaches College Success (HD 100), Reading 90, and CSM (Core Skills Mastery). Lewis is originally from Portland, Oregon but has lived in Washington and Alaska. He earned an MFA in creative writing, specializing in fiction. “I interned as a creative writing instructor with Writers In The Community, and was an Assistant Managing Editor at Willow Springs magazine,” Lewis said.

Karen Carroll moved here from PCC. She taught several science classes and was the science club faculty adviser.

Lewis and Carroll answered several questions to help the campus get to know them better.


Mainstream: What brought you to the ‘Burg?

Lewis: “The opportunity offered by UCC gave me the chance to build my resume, continue to develop professionally and get back to the western side of the Pacific Northwest.”

Mainstream: What do you like best about teaching at Umpqua?

Lewis: “My co-workers, my students, and the fact that it only takes my 15 minutes to get to work.”

Mainstream: What do you miss about the place you were previously located?

Carroll: “I miss my friends and my students and coworkers, but really, moving to Roseburg and working at UCC has been such an adventure every day, I haven’t had time to really miss much!”

Mainstream: What do you like best about teaching at Umpqua?

Carroll: “The students are great and most are very motivated! All of the students I have met this term are amazing! UCC offers a wide variety of classes and works hard to help students succeed. That is important to me, because I went to community college myself (and earned an Associate Degree), and I know how important having a school that supports student success can be!”


While every student appreciates being assured that each instructor knows what he or she is doing, we also want to know something besides the resume fodder.

Mainstream: So, if you were a Star Wars/Star Trek character, who would you be and why?

Lewis: “Old Obi Wan, because he has a good beard and a death that baffled Darth Vader.”

Carroll: “I would be Danna Troi from Next Generation. I’m pretty empathetic, which helps me relate to other people—one of the reasons I like teaching!”

Mainstream: If your life was a movie, what category/genre would it be?

Carroll: “Maybe a little of everything, but I guess if I had to choose one, I would say adventure.”

Lewis: “A mockumentary.”

Mainstream: If we looked in your refrigerator right now, what would we find?

Lewis: “Chai tea, carrots, cranberry juice, eggs, cheese, tortillas, mushrooms, and white rice.”

Carroll: “Not much…I eat out much more than I probably should!”

Mainstream: How would you describe yourself in three words?

Carroll: “Positive, Motivated, Life-long-learner (okay, so that last one should probably be two words, but it does describe me well).”

Lewis: “Private, creative, sarcastic.”


The instructors also give themselves a report card.

Mainstream: How do you feel your first term at UCC has gone?

Lewis: “It has gone well, as far as I know they are letting me stick around for a second term. Any new job will have a period of transition, filled with adjustments, highs and lows. The staff has been welcoming, as well as the students.”

Carroll: “This term has gone very well.  I have enjoyed working with the students–they have been great!  Everyone has been so helpful at helping me adjust to UCC!”    

Mainstream: Has anything interesting happened during your first term teaching?

Lewis: “I gave a random mini lecture about the Anglo-Saxon German roots of English to my reading class. Despite having no experience, I got to weld while subbing for the GEDA career explorations class. And [I had] several conversations with Tyler Ramos and Robert Kalchert about philosophy, the environment, and zombie apocalypse survival strategies.”

Carroll: “Every day seems like an adventure–I am always learning something new about UCC–so there is actually so many interesting things that have happened, it is hard to narrow it down.  One thing I am still amazed by is seeing the deer on campus in the morning.” 

Mainstream: Is there anything you would do differently next term?

Lewis: “I constantly meditate on this sort of question, no matter what task I undertake. We are never done learning and improving ourselves. Many of the skills I teach are ones I have taken for granted in my own life and education. So specifically, I’ve been examining my approach to these subjects and exploring alternatives to make sure I’m doing my best to help my students access the material.”

Carroll: “I am teaching different classes next term so I will not be making class-specific changes for next term, but I have become much more aware of available resources and services for students, so I will be able to share more information with students.  I also will be doing some scouting of the geology of the area during the winter break and at the beginning of next term, so I will be able to offer more field trips with my classes in the future.”