After having taught at two other colleges part time and worked full time prior to that, Erica Moyer has landed at Heidelberg as the new biology and anatomy and physiology instructor this year. She’s back at Heidelberg after having taught an exercise science class here three years ago.
It’s going very well so far. “The first few weeks, I’ve received such mutual respect in the classroom from my students,” Erica says, “and I have never had more support from the faculty and my peers. It’s huge. It makes all the difference knowing the people you work with want you to succeed.”
Because her previous teaching assignments have been part time, Erica has never had to immerse herself in faculty development activities. All that changed when she arrived back at Heidelberg in August. It’s been a welcome change, even if she is still struggling a bit to learn all of the ‘Berg acronyms!
Currently, Erica is teaching General Biology, a largely freshman course, and Intro to Anatomy & Physiology, which consists of two sections of lecture and three labs. She’s found her classes to be highly engaging.
“I’ve been very pleased so far,” she says. “The students make consistent eye contact with me. There’s very little cell phone use. They ask questions. It’s just common sense, but it does not exist everywhere.
“When I ask them to relate a topic in the classroom to their own lives, those have been some of the most engaging discussions.”
Erica is enjoying her time on campus, and it’s especially rewarding when she sees the lightbulb go off. “The content in Anatomy and Physiology can be heavy,” she explains. “To see them say, ‘I get it’ … that’s all an instructor can ask for as a reward.”
She couldn’t be happier with the support she’s received from her faculty colleagues. She has appreciated their constructive feedback and sharing their personal experiences that have allowed her to adjust to her new role. “You don’t realize what you have until you haven’t had it. It has made the adjustment period so much smoother,” she says.
Erica didn’t start her career in teaching. After earning her undergrad degree in Applied Health Science and her master’s in developmental kinesiology, both from Bowling Green State University, she felt the calling to work in the health care field. She enjoyed her work in cardiac rehab, but having a family – she’s the mom of two – really changed her priorities.
Teaching has allowed her to realize the perfect work / family balance. It’s been the ideal fit for her to feel successful both professionally and as a wife and mom. Yet, her heart may still be in direct patient care. There’s a similar feeling of success being part of students’ pathways to starting their own careers. Making a difference in just one person’s life is a big part of why she continues to feel drawn to teaching.
“I know this is where I’m supposed to be right now, and I’ll just let God direct me,” she says.
A familiar face
Several searches to fill the biology teaching position brought Erica to Heidelberg – that, and a familial connection. An incidental conversation between biology professor Dr. Pam Faber and Alex Chiarappa, assistant Director of Admission, at a Scholar’s Day event last academic year was the catalyst for Erica coming on board at Heidelberg.
Maybe it was serendipity or maybe just one sibling looking out for another. Alex and Erica are sisters. Either way, Erica appreciates the value of such connections.
“That’s what it’s all about,” she says. “I tell my students that all the time. You never know where the right networking opportunity may lead you. Timing is huge.”
So far, it’s working out very well for everyone.
“I really want to live up to my full potential and what my peers expect of me,” Erica says. “I believe I can add to our program and make students excited about Anatomy through engagement in and out of the classroom.”