Norwich says goodbye to Sociology Prof. Wendy Fuller

A much loved sociology professor, Dr. Wendy Fuller, is leaving Norwich at the end of this semester.

A much loved sociology professor, Dr. Wendy Fuller, is leaving Norwich at the end of this semester.

Every student here at Norwich University has to take a sociology class as part of their degree requirement, but one sociology professor had a big impact on the student population. Dr. Wendy Fuller, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology, will not be returning in the fall to teach her trademark class, Race and Cultural Minorities, as well as the rest of her course lineup.

Dr. Fuller was raised nearby in Warren, Vt., and attended St. Michaels College, earning a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and a minor in World Religious Studies. “I’ve always known that this is what I’ve wanted to do,” said Fuller. “I’m very interested in how the world works and I am fascinated in why people do the things that they do.”

“I am the first person in my family to go to school,” said Fuller. “For me, it was more about this opportunity I was given (going to graduate school) and what I was going to do with it.”

She studied abroad during her time at St. Michaels at The National University of Ireland at Maynooth (NUIM), and realized that it was one of the best sociology schools in Western Europe, so she returned to attend grad school. “I graduated graduate school at the top of my class,” said Fuller.

After completing her masters at NUIM, she applied for the institution’s doctorate program and was accepted. While she was getting her doctorate, she wrote two books, broken up into two different chapters within the series Irish Sociological Chronicles. The first chapter focused heavily on religion, and the second focused on the changing landscape of Ireland.

Just as she was finishing up her doctorate, she applied to Norwich University since it was close to home. “After being away from home for so long, and with flights being so expensive, seeing my family became a once-a-year thing.”

“I just wanted to see if I would get it,” said Fuller, chuckling. “My mother told me about the opening and I love my mother, so I applied.”

Professor Shernock called Fuller while she was still in Ireland, hoping to attend a post-doctoral program in Australia. He asked her a few questions, and she had a few phone interviews with Dean Taylor (at the time) and Prof. Stanley Shernock. Dr. Fuller was then offered a full-time, one-year position as a lecturer. After her first year, Fuller was promoted to her current position and had her contract extended till this year, when it was not renewed.

“Norwich was very good to me, they helped me get home in terms of moving expenses,” Fuller said. “I came home with two suitcases, mostly full of books, and my dog.”

When asked what Fuller will miss the most about Norwich, she said, “Oh my goodness everything! But really I am going to miss all of you guys.”

“But I have to be honest, when I first took this job I didn’t have a good attitude. I didn’t think the students would like me and I didn’t think I would fit in here and get along well,” said Fuller, laughing. “When I got here, however, it all just clicked. I don’t know why, but I liked you (the student body), and I think, or I hope that you (the student body) liked me.”

Fuller went on to say, “shame on me for not having an open mind about what this was going to be like.” She also stated that her job at Norwich was one of the biggest self-discoveries that she’s ever had. “It wasn’t like anything I thought it was going to be. It felt like I was coming home.”

“Norwich taught me how to keep students awake!” Fuller said jokingly. “But it taught me how to be a better teacher.”

At the moment, she is looking at a few different places for teaching opportunities. She has applied to SUNY Plattsburg, University of Vermont, and Champlain College.

The SUNY Plattsburg position is a tenured sociology position and SUNY is a more research-focused school, so Dr. Fuller would be able to expand on her research, which she is very hopeful for if she gets the position.

Fuller said she is sad to leave Norwich and will miss the Norwich community greatly. She wants to thank everyone who was welcomed her here and helped her grow. “I want you to see who you could become, and then I want you to go do it. Because even if you don’t see it, I see it.”

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