A quarter century after he started teaching at Colorado Mountain College in Aspen, Tom Buesch is just as excited about helping students learn. And being able to reach students who need special attention is one of the best things about the small college atmosphere.
Buesch’s teaching career started in 1965 at the high school level. He then moved to the University of Illinois for three years, but grew disillusioned about teaching at such a large university, so went to work for Bosch, a German auto parts company, for 17 years.
“I’ve been a gear head since I was a kid, and even now I’m building out a hot rod today,” Buesch said.
In 1991, Buesch returned to teaching part-time at CMC and full-time in 1997, so has taught in Aspen for 25 years. “I think it’s the best job in the world,” Buesch said. “It just seems like it’s what I was meant to be doing and I hope it lasts forever.”
The “nice, casual” atmosphere of teaching at a small college in Aspen, getting to know students well in small classes are among the reasons Buesch lists as some of the best things about CMC. “I’ve been in classes with 300 students where the teacher comes in and lectures and leaves and I don’t think that’s really teaching,” Buesch said.
A mix of students of all ages and “wonderful chemistry” between himself and those students are other positives at CMC, he added. CMC allows teachers like himself to “rescue” struggling students, Buesch said, because it’s a small college and teachers can give such students the academic and personal attention they need.
Buesch has taught philosophy, humanities, literature and music appreciation classes at the college. A professor of communications and humanities, Buesch was the 2011-12 full-time faculty of the year at the Aspen campus.
Buesch holds a doctorate degree in German Language and Literature from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. His bachelor’s degree in German and English is from Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin.
Every day teaching at CMC is rewarding, Buesch said, because he gets to interact with students. “The most rewarding part is hearing from a student who has gone on to succeed at something and they say I’m still the best professor they’ve ever had,” he added. “When you’re able to influence someone for the good, and help them along the academic path, that makes it worthwhile.”