This week’s Gustie of the Week, Professor Sean Cobb, has been teaching at Gustavus for fifteen years now. When Cobb was first interviewing to teach at Gustavus, it was a memorable experience that set the tone for the rest of his time here. During a break, he went to adjust his tie in the bathroom. “As I was in the mirror, a woman walked in and I asked her, ‘Is this the women’s restroom?’ She responded, ‘I think so.’ It was like I could’ve convinced her that she was in the wrong spot,” Cobb said. After this moment, he “knew it was the right place to be,” because of how “welcoming she was,” Cobb said.
Aside from teaching, he is also in charge of the KGSM radio station, The Fourth Crown, and LineUs. Before he began teaching at Gustavus, he had taught at a larger school with upwards of 40,000 students. He has noted the “incredibly close interaction with students” as the most unique aspect of teaching at Gustavus. Having an office in Confer-Vickner, he values the location of his office: “The offices are closer to the classrooms in Vickner, people can just stop by and do homework,” Cobb said.
Passionate about his role here at Gustavus, he finds the most enriching part about teaching to be the students. “I have the greatest job. I get to lay down and watch TV and read and talk about movies all of the time with people. It’s very rewarding, lots of people like film so students come in with an interest already,” Cobb said. Cobb values the opportunities he has with students to be able to study and teach film in an academic context. As film is a popular form of entertainment, it can be an “easier medium to talk about.”
He enhances the learning environment to elevate the level of engagement: “The first time I met Sean was when I first took a class with him called Horror Films during my junior year. I was apprehensive about taking a class that only discussed horror movies, but Sean always made his class super engaging and fun. It was from this positive experience that I decided to declare my Film and Media Studies minor,” Senior Bela Larsen said.
His favorite class to teach has been ENG-142 Intro to Film Studies. It was the class he began with while teaching here, as he inherited it from the professor before him. Since then, Cobb has been able to shape the class into something of his own: “I’ve been able to turn it into my own class and make it a boot camp for film studies stuff. Many students know what the terminology is, just not what it is called. It’s fun, a little bit of rigor, and multiple avenues for interest in the film industry: film production, Hollywood, editing, history,” Cobb said.
After her first class with Cobb, Junior Raquel Vaughn looks forward to other classes with him, “Ever since that one class with him, I have made sure to look for him during registration every year! He’s such an easy professor to work with and it is just such a joy to be one of his students. He does a great job of building every single one of his students up,” Vaughn said. As Cobb is passionate about his area of expertise, he ensures that everyone is able to learn within his classes. “Sean is one of the nicest professors I’ve met at Gustavus. He’s super welcoming and accommodating to those interested in his classes. He really loves what he does and wants his students to love it, too,” Sophomore Ellie Heyerdahl said. He makes it a point to be aware of the tone of the class, “If students aren’t having fun in the class, then there is something wrong. It shouldn’t be a chore. I’m a high-energy guy, just be excited about film,” Cobb said.
Cobb’s energy allows students to feel comfortable within their learning, despite anxiety about classes: “When I was a nervous first-year who didn’t know anything, he made sure to make me feel comfortable about my progress here at Gustavus. Sean sees the potential in every single one of his students and he’s determined to see them reach that potential,” Vaughn said.
Cobb’s positive energy doesn’t stop within the classroom. “Sean isn’t only someone I’ve been able to lean on for support and guidance during my time at Gustavus, but he’s also just someone who I genuinely enjoy being around. Anyone you ask here on campus will only have good things to say about him,” Larsen said.