By Paola Nunez
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Dr. Christopher Gennari is not your ordinary history professor. He truly cares about the individual and academic development of students.
Gennari, an assistant professor at Camden County College, has a unique teaching style. He wants his students to think critically and really understand the material he is teaching. He can easily find ways to relate important historical events and connect them to students in a way they can understand.
“For the most part my teaching method is Socratic,” Gennari stated Tuesday. “Socrates believed people have knowledge within them; the problem was getting it out. If students can ask themselves leading questions, they can come to their own conclusion. If you think about it, it’s really the most traditional teaching style.”
As to what he enjoys most about his job, Gennari stated, “The people. I like the idea professors have when they are talking to each other, and the aha moments students have when the information clicks in their head.”
Camden County College student Alyssa Di Christofaro has taken two of Gennari’s classes. “I had him for my World Civilizations 101 class, and I made sure he was my professor for my 102 class,” she said. “I would definitely recommend him. He makes the class interesting. He lectures a lot, but it’s not like any other class, it’s actually more of a discussion. He gets everyone involved. He wants us to understand, and he helps us by relating past event to modern day.”
Di Christofaro went on to say, “His tests are challenging, but I know he makes them this way to ensure that we don’t just know the material, but that we understand it. These aren’t the type of test you can just study for the night before; you actually have to prepare for it. In a way he helps us grow up and prepare for the real world.”
Since he was a junior in high school, Gennari knew he wanted to be a history professor. “I read a book called The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy, and I thought I want to write a book like that,” he said.
Gennari received his doctorate from Stony Brook University in 2010. He has been teaching for 10 years at several universities, including Hofstra University and Suffolk Community College, where he taught western history. He has also been teaching World Civilizations for the past five years at Camden County College.
As for his next step, Gennari admitted, “I enjoy teaching, and I see myself staying at Camden County as a full-time professor.”