Learning alongside elders

“Learning should not only take place within the walls of a traditional classroom space. I formed a partnership with St. John’s Living Communities in 2009 to offer college courses for Nazareth students and elder residents together at St. John’s Meadows, where students practice and apply what they learn from their studies. Students in these multigenerational courses learn from, and with, the elders to gain perspectives and knowledge that cannot be delivered simply by a professor or textbook. My teaching is intergenerational and service-learning-based to best meet my students’ personal and professional training requirements.”

St. John’s newsletter article about the intergenerational learning program >

Learning with my students

“Because I work with older adults in multiple settings (courses, community service, research, etc.), I am fortunate to learn just as much from older adults as do my students. I enjoy reading my students’ reflections as they realize the connections between what is in a textbook and how those ideas are realized in the real world. I also love to work with first-year seminar students and discuss study habits, how to develop an appreciation of learning and seeking knowledge, and how to find a balance between academics and extracurricular interests.”

Creativity is important

“I am very proud of the creativity I see in my students. I employ videography in the longitudinal research I am conducting that addresses several aspects of the aging process. For one of my courses, students create 15-minute films analyzing a topic of their choice related to aging. Students are responsible for finding the participants, capturing the video, and editing the film. My students learn not only about aging, but also how to develop videography skills.”

Nazareth is a community

“Students and faculty are afforded the opportunity to interact in meaningful ways, whether it be through small courses that better facilitate discussion, to the chance to work closely with faculty on research projects. Nazareth allows students and faculty to know one another, not just as professor and student, but to gain a stronger appreciation of each personally. Our faculty help to prepare our students for their lives after graduation. Our graduates are citizens who see the complexity in our world and have a sense of curiosity to understand, and appreciate, our interactions with one another.”

Nazareth gerontology students at St. John's Living Community

Nazareth students and elders learn together at classes held at St. John's Meadows.

Nazareth genontology student at St. John's Living Community

What students say

"Dr. Steitz's gerontology classes were a great experience that helped prepare me for my current position as the executive director of Baywinde Senior Living Community. The classes provided me with a new perspective on what seniors experience through the process of aging, and how there is often a ripple effect into other areas of their lives. I feel I am able to provide better support to my residents at Baywinde with my clear understanding of the big picture that I first learned about in Dr. Steitz's classes."
Lori Posato '15, who went on to be executive director of Baywinde Senior Living Community.

David Steitz woodworking project

Man of Multiple Talents

David Steitz enjoys woodworking as a hobby.

Faculty Spotlights

Wondering who else you can learn from — and who will support and challenge you? Check out more Faculty Spotlights.