Teacher feature: Dr. Chris Magoc

About a month ago, six teachers won teacher fellow awards. One of them was Dr. Chris Magoc, the History Department chair, was one of the honored teachers.

The teaching fellows program places a premium on teaching not necessarily found at any other institution. Magoc believes that Mercyhurst is a place that values the quality of students and faculty in both education and ability. This consciousness and attentiveness to detail in teaching, scholarship and education create a wonderful academic atmosphere.

While Magoc is honored and privileged to be recognized at a teaching fellow, he says that his success comes most from his passion for his discipline. “I’m not sure if what works well for me is transferable to other departments, but the teaching fellows program presents us with the opportunity to adapt and improve,” Magoc said.

For Magoc, being a good teacher also involves establishing personal connections with his students. Magoc says that “creating an atmosphere where students feel comfortable allows you to enrich their understanding and challenge them to become life-long learners and changers of society.”

Chris Magoc has been teaching at Mercyhurst College for 12 years. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Edinboro University and earned both his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in American Studies from Penn State and University of New Mexico, respectively.

“I always knew that I wanted to teach, and the faculty I had at Penn State saw potential for me as a university professor before I did,” Magoc said.

Before coming to Erie, Magoc taught and worked in museums for seven years. He also did public history consulting in Pittsburgh, Pa. In 1999, Magoc began teaching history full time at Mercyhurst College.

For Magoc, Mercyhurst is a place that emphasizes both intellect and the heart. He believes that building relationships between faculty and students is one of the most effective ways to bring out the best and most successful scholarship.

“This is a place where people care about one another. To teach you must have confidence and trust in a student’s potential,” Magoc says.