My First Year As A Faculty Member At UWGB

My experiences at UWGB throughout my first year were challenging and fun, and a bit like a rollercoaster ride. I realized that my 1st year as a faculty member was similar in some ways to my freshman year at college. Here are some experiences that stand out:

Feeling lost…literally!


Sawa Senzaki

Sawa Senzaki

When I first arrived at the UWGB campus, I was very impressed with the tunnel! I knew how important that would be for winter. I am familiar with cold climates. Before moving to Green Bay, I lived in Superior, Wisconsin and Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. I have experienced −41 °F and neither of these universities had a tunnel! So, although I was not too nervous about the Green Bay winter, I was still very excited about the tunnel. While the tunnel was very useful this winter, it was really difficult to find my way around! I felt like I was in Edward Tolman’s rat experiment…the one that studied how rats learn a map (I’m still suspicious about hidden cameras in the tunnel that count how many times I make a wrong turn..). I used to go around and around many times each day, but now, I’m proud to tell you that it only takes me 7 minutes to walk to Rose Hall 250 from my office in MAC! Yes, I did measure how long it took me – I’m a behavioral scientist, and I like to see the data. Consequently, I felt a great sense of accomplishmentJ Even better, there are now beautiful nature pictures to look at in the tunnel as I find my way around!


For the first couple of months, I felt a little homesick. In graduate school, I shared an office with other graduate students, and it was a roommate-like relationship. Although I was very excited to have an office all to myself, I missed random debates over the existence of the Language Acquisition Device, the effect of embodiment cognition, who is the best psychologist, etc… over 5 cups of coffee of course. Although these were the highlights of my graduate school days, I’m happy that I can talk to many different people now about exciting research and ideas. Now I can bring these ideas to my classes! Students always have fresh perspectives on these old debates, and we have great discussions!

Meeting new people!

This has been the most exciting part of my first year! My colleagues are very intelligent, supportive, and welcoming! When I was in graduate school, I imagined departmental meetings as professors with frowning faces sitting in a dark room.. but it is quite the contrary! There are many jokes and laughs, and I didn’t know that I would enjoy going to departmental meetings so much.

On the first day of classes, I still get butterflies in my stomach. I have to admit that I’m a little nervous to meet my students for the first time, but it has been such a delight to get to know my GB students. They are eager to learn, very friendly, and ready to take on a challenge. I am so lucky to be able to teach at UWGB and I am looking forward to many more years to come!

Sawa Senzaki,
Assistant Professor, Human Development


One thought on “My First Year As A Faculty Member At UWGB”

  1. Sawa,
    You brought me back to my first days of teaching. Thank you for your insights, your knowledge, and enthusiasm. Truly you are a valued colleague at UW-Green Bay!


    P.S. I still get lost on campus.

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