Dr. Carol Hurney inspires Colby professors

Dr. Carol Hurney is in her second year as the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Colby. After working as a biology professor at James Madison University for 20 years, Dr. Hurney and her wife moved to Waterville to start the CTL at Colby, which she hoped would “empower Colby faculty to be the best teachers they can be.”  Dr. Hurney works closely with faculty and administrators to customize learning experiences and ensure high levels of effectiveness. In this edition of Faces of Colby, Hurney introduces herself.

No two days are alike for Dr. Hurney, and each is full. “I actually measure my success by how often I’m not in this office,” Dr. Hurney explained. “I should just be out there, doing stuff, meeting with people, talking with people, and being a part of this community. That was another reason why my wife and I decided to live in Waterville– so that we could be close. I could pop in, or stay late, or come back and go to talks. We’ve been trying to go to the women’s volleyball games this year.”

When she’s not working on campus, Dr. Hurney finds time to pursue other passions. “I really love cooking. Last night, I cooked my Italian risotto. I can do it without a recipe. Most things I can do now without a recipe. My friends and family know that they’re going to love eating anything I bring to a party. I can walk into anyone’s kitchen, without knowing anything that’s in there, and I could cook a meal. One of my friend’s said, ‘If she comes out of your kitchen and says that there is nothing to eat, there is nothing to eat.’”

Not only does Dr. Hurney push herself intellectually, but also physically. “I’m an avid cyclist. I try and ride 100 miles a week.” Her love for biking pairs nicely with a love for swimming, which has led her to discover triathlons. “I love being in the water. I figure that’s something that you can just grow old doing. I want to make sure I can bike and be in the water as long as I can. You’ll have to rip me out of the pool with my bike. I was teaching a spinning class, and I told them ‘We’re going to do this when we’re ninety! Come on, they’re gonna have to have retirement homes for us really active people!’”

This energy fuels any task Dr. Hurney takes on. “I’m always up for an adventure,” she explained. She and her wife spent their first month in Waterville taking road trips across Maine discovering their new home. Always seeking opportunities for self enrichment, Dr. Hurney also explained that she hopes to learn to play a musical instrument in the near future. “I’m a rockstar typer though, so I feel like I could take up keyboarding.”

Along with her intense desire to learn, Dr. Hurney’s  deep commitment to teaching shines. “My real passion is teaching. I feel like everything I do, I think about teaching. A lot. Not just my own, but other people’s. When I’m teaching, it’s my priority. Even teaching this one lab, it’s amazing how much I still have to give to it so that I feel like I can look myself in the mirror. I just think about, ‘How can I make it the most impactful that I can make it? How I can make it so that it’s a little bit better?’ I want to see the ‘ah-ha’ moments. There is just something that happens to a person’s face when they see something or they understand something for the first time. I love that. They didn’t think they could do it, and all of a sudden they do it, and that I somehow played a part in that. I’m happy when other people are happy.”